TRC 2: Urban Design, Materials & the Built Environment

TRC 2 leader Arnim Wiek speaks to a colleague

The goal of TRC 2 is to investigate the nano-enabled city of the future.

Addressing the links among NSE, the built environment, social structures and sustainability, TRC 2 will map out the diversity of problem perceptions, future visions, value-laden sustainability appraisals, and related implementation strategies across various stakeholder groups.

In 2010, TRC hosted a speaker series around the topic of "Nano in the City." This lecture series surveyed a variety of issues, concerns and approaches to the role of emerging technology in general, and nanotechnology in particular, in the future of the built environment. Speakers examined the potentials and hazards of new and upcoming materials and technologies, strategies to implement new technologies in an equitable and sustainable manner, the economic impact of nanotechnology as it relates to urban development, and ways of better understanding cities through the use of technology. These talks and ideas continue to flow as the CNS-ASU Science Café series took on the Nano City as its theme for 2012-2013.

TRC 2 researchers and faculty have also implemented a structured data collection for the Nanotechnology in City Environments (NICE) database. The NICE database is an interactive catalogue of nanotechnology applications with particular attention being paid to functionality, mechanisms, potential benefits, potential hazards, urban domain, development stage, and substitution properties. The database is being compiled by undergraduate and graduate students and reviewed by experts with layman‘s terms summarizing the technological applications.

Guided by their research question—How sustainable is the envisionsed nano-enhanced city of the future and its socio-technical systems?—TRC 2 uses multi-criteria assessment (MCA) methodology to judge sustainable generated future scenarios. A differential MCA approach allows the TRC 2 team to map out how different stakeholder groups appraise the sustainability of the nano-enhanced city and may reveal points of consensus and divergence.

Recent Publications from TRC 2

Wender, Benjamin A. and Thomas P. Seager. In press. "Anticipatory Life Cycle Assessment of SWCNT-enabled Lithium Ion Batteries." Nanotechnology for Sustainable Manufacturing, ed(s). David Rickerby, Springer.
Foley, Rider W., Marcel R. Weil, Manuel J. Baumann, Benedikt M. Zimmermann, Jens Buchgeister and Ben A. Wender. May 2015. Workshop Report: Advancing Future-Oriented Life Cycle Assessment for Responsible Innovation.
Arora, Sanjay, Foley, Rider W., Jan Youtie, Philip Shapira and Arnim Wiek. 2014. "Drivers of Technology Adoption: Nanomaterials in Building Construction." Technological Forecasting and Social Change. doi: