New Planning Grant for the Study of the Population Dynamics, Well-being, and Family Structure in a Changing Climate

This century will see substantial demographic changes in population composition, aging, and patterns of urbanization. Concurrent with the demographic changes in the future, we also expect a warmer planet, one with more frequent and intense storms and more flooding as well as sea-level rise, drought, and wildfires with substantial implications for the well-being and health of individuals and their communities.  Individuals will be forced to contend with these climate-related crises, and this burden will be unequally felt by urban dwellers and small communities, especially underserved ones.

Thus, research that links the fields of population and climate science remains disassociated and largely underdeveloped in part because the data, tools, and methods of research are sufficiently distinct that barriers to entry are high. Fortunately for CUNY, we have substantial expertise in both areas across the University: The CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR) and the CUNY Remote Sensing Earth Systems Institute (CREST) are established research institutes bringing together faculty from many campuses within their areas of specialization, respectively population and Earth observation/environmental sciences. These two institutes are teaming up to conduct demonstrations of state-of-the-art research that can be leveraged for securing larger funding initiatives of the research center type to support future interdisciplinary work between these two CUNY Institutes and others working at the intersection of population dynamics, inequality, and climate change at CUNY.

The goal of the proposed planning grant is to help situate social science and demographic research more firmly so that it can be responsive to understanding climate hazards and impacts on population subgroups and population processes and change.  This planning grant will bring together research expertise from CIDR and CREST institutes, building on the current strengths and infrastructure of the two Institutes demonstrations will lead to presentations and publications that can be used as a basis of evidence for applying for Center funding that will not only allow this program of research to continue but also grow.

This planning grant was awarded by CUNY in early 2023, and the team started working on the start of this project.  Participating faculty members from six CUNY campuses from these two institutes involved in this project are Drs. Deborah Balk, Frank Heiland (Baruch), Reza Khanbilvardi, and Jorge Gonzalez (City College), Reginal Blake ( NY City Tech), Holly Reed (Queens College), and Simone Wegge (College of State Island).