Transdisciplinary Areas of ExcellenceSustainable Communities

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Sustainable Communities collaboration grant awards from prior years


The following two projects were awarded funds in July 2013, provided by the Binghamton University Road Map through the Provost's Office and the Division of Research with the goal of encouraging faculty to develop collaborative projects that stimulate the advancement of new ideas that can build Binghamton University's expertise toward a national reputation in the area of sustainable communities. This competitive, peer-reviewed program is providing initial support for proposed long-term programs of collaborative research that have strong potential to attract external funding.

  • Healthy Multigenerational Families: Building the Knowledge Base for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Empirical data that informs policies and practices targeting health outcomes for custodial grandparents and academic and health outcomes for the grandchildren they are raising is limited. Typically formed following a life-altering crisis, grandparent-headed families have complex needs, shelter vulnerable children and represent a growing demographic nationwide. This project will develop and test the effectiveness of a transdisciplinary community-based model that will:

1) conduct a county-wide assessment of the range of needs of custodial grandparents and compare the findings with a national sample;

2) use the data to develop and implement a psychosocial and educational model of support for multigenerational families;

3) evaluate the model's effectiveness in Broome County, and generate data to support a grant for a national study; and

4) provide policy, practice and research recommendations for decision makers.

The evidence-based transdisciplinary model we will develop not only strengthens and sustains healthy, multigenerational communities today but also lays the foundation for strong communities for future generations. Furthermore, this study will provide a deeper understanding of the multifaceted needs of these families and present a cost-effective, evidence-based, transdisciplinary practice model. It will also provide transformative strategies which will inform a national policy agenda.

Principal investigators/departments: Youjung Lee, assistant professor of social work; Elizabeth Anderson, assistant professor of education; Lisa Blitz, assistant professor of social work; Laura Bronstein, director of the Institute for Intergenerational Studies, College of Community and Public Affairs; Shawn Berkowitz, Upstate Medical University and United Health Services; and Marion Martinez, Binghamton City School District

  • Local Capacity, State Policy, and the Geology of Natural Gas Drilling

What makes a geographic area desirable for drilling is a combination of geological, infrastructure and government (both state and local) capacity. Therefore, identifying these areas cannot be accomplished without combining the perspectives of multiple disciplines and by using the various methods that these disciplines rely upon. We seek to develop a proposal for external funding to study how municipalities in states that currently permit hydraulic fracturing of the Marcellus shale differ in terms of their capacity to either encourage or restrict drilling. By investigating state regulations, local government capacity, the existing infrastructure and their relation to geological sweet spots, we will be able to group municipalities into one of four categories, those that:

1) lack the capacity to restrict drilling;

2) lack the capacity to encourage drilling;

3) have the capacity to restrict drilling; and

4) have the capacity to encourage drilling. We will then be able to explore the concept of what constitutes a "sustainable community" within these categories.

Principal investigators/departments: Pam Mischen, associate professor of public administration; Tom Sinclair, associate professor of public administration; Rob Holahan, assistant professor of environmental studies; Joe Graney, associate professor of geological sciences and environmental studies; Mark Blumler, associate professor of geography and biological sciences; and Chengbin Deng, associate professor of geography

Last Updated: 6/16/14