Dana Habeeb, an assistant professor of informatics at the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, has received the National Science Foundation CRII Award or her research on monitoring heat stress through environmental sensing.
Habeeb’s research focuses on the issue of extreme heat in urban areas. She investigates heat stress throughout a city using both wearable and environmental sensors, and explores the potential for green infrastructure to cool the local environment during extreme heat events. Leveraging the rich environmental dataset generated by her sensor network, she will develop interactive technologies for targeted stakeholders, such as governmental officials, urban farmers, and vulnerable urban residents, to help them better cope with heat stress.
“I’m extremely honored to receive the NSF CRII award, especially in my first year as an assistant professor,” Habeeb said. “I feel optimistic and encouraged that the NSF values my work, specifically in making cities and communities more resilient to our changing climate. We see more people die in the U.S. due to extreme heat than any other natural disaster, and cities play a big role in increasing heat stress. As an environmental urban planner, I work to improve our understanding of how cities impact local climate and to design solutions that mitigate those impacts to improve public health.”
Habeeb and her team will deploy environmental sensors in the Bloomington area to map and collect a rich set of environmental data with the goal of discovering how temperatures change across an urban environment. She also will develop novel methods for mapping, analyzing and visualizing the data over hot summer months.
“I am excited to investigate how we can empower local communities and individuals to take ownership of their environment and to improve their understanding of the environment through the presentation of environmental information,” Habeeb said. “I’m excited to develop interactive technologies and work with individuals to help them understand their environment and raise their awareness of local environmental challenges such as heat exposure.”
The NSF CRII program supports research for early career academics to launch their research careers. Habeeb’s research will also focus on how “green” infrastructure performs during extreme heat events and what impact those design techniques have on the community.
“Cities across the US are implementing a variety of climate response strategies and design techniques into their urban environments to increase resiliency, but there is a larger question of whether these strategies are working and functioning the way we are expecting them to during periods of extreme heat,” Habeeb said. “All of this work contributes to the “smart” city movement by demonstrating that local environmental data can be used to make our cities more resilient, sustainable, and socially just.”
Habeeb joined SICE in 2018. She spent the summer of 2018 working with the Bloomington Parks Department to install sensors in local parks.
“Dana’s work is the perfect blend of technology and innovation that yields important data that impacts our everyday lives,” said Raj Acharya, dean of SICE. “Understanding our environment and helping shape the response to our changing climate is just one of the ways SICE has become a leader in environmental research, and Dana’s research is richly deserving of the attention of the NSF.”