The Biosphere 2 (B2) campus is being developed and used as a model city, to address the need for a large-scale facility designated to the development of technology and expertise to respond to the rapid rate of global urbanization and the environmental impact of cities. This facility acts as an innovation hub, bringing together public and private institutions invested in the adaptation of cities to sustain environmental and ecosystem services and a good quality of life for the well-being of their citizens.
The B2 Model City provides three primary services to advance the sustainability of cities:
User Research Facility – The University of Arizona invites public and private partners to support research and development activities through in-kind access to resources, sponsored research, and joint pursuit of external funding. Research and development will emphasize the integration of infrastructure, facilities, and the environment through:
- Application of complex system modeling, data visualization, and user interfaces to optimize systems around the water-energy nexus
- Advancing real-time monitoring and control systems to improve management and utilization of distributed systems such as renewable energy generation, water treatment, and ecosystem services
- Expansion of advanced sensor networks to advance forecasting of supply and demand for city services and resources.
- Green infrastructure installations to advance the linked understanding of hydrology, climate, and ecology of green design elements in cities.
Monitoring efforts for quantifying the impacts of infrastructure development, whether they be urban environments or renewable energy generation centers, on local climate and carbon cycling.
Learning Laboratory – university computer labs provide students the opportunity to experiment with new ideas and technologies that have transform the way we all live. Investment in this technology hub will provide students, teachers, and professionals the same opportunities for innovation in sustainable city technology through:
- STEM Programs - focus on fostering math and science skills through exciting students and equipping educators about energy, water, and technology related careers
- Infrastructure Lab – utilize facilities and infrastructure for interdisciplinary, large-scale, applied learning in higher education
Professional Development – provide professionals opportunities to learn from both academic and industry leaders in an innovative, hands-on learning environment.
Demonstration Site – model the capabilities of advanced IT, analytics, and systems thinking in reducing the environmental footprint of cities by making the B2 campus more environmentally sustainable while improving services to visitors and scientists by:
- Installation of Technology – the application of software and hardware to the B2 campus to reduce energy and water consumption and carbon emissions, improve the reliability of services to visitors and scientists, and reduce operational costs of the institution
- Exhibits and Tours – engage and inspire the public to employ science and engineering to improve the cities where the live through meaningful exposure to sustainable technology Biosphere 2
- Community Engagement – provide a setting for discourse on innovation between collaborating institutions and a platform for the dissemination of knowledge related to sustainable cities through conferences, public programs, and an on-line presence.