LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio Announces New Projects Fund Recipients

08/13/2014 01:43 PM

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio, or CSS – a trans-disciplinary program of the LSU College of Art & Design, College of Engineering and School of the Coast & Environment – has selected four teams of LSU researchers for funding through its CSS New Projects Fund.


The fund supports innovative research, design and outreach projects that involve collaboration between varieties of academic perspectives. The goal of the fund is to contribute to adaptive, resilient and sustainable human communities in the dynamic Louisiana coastal landscape.


The teams and projects receiving funding include:


Feasibility Study for Low-Cost Hurricane-Resistant Residential Buildings Made of Earth Blocks, awarded $35,000 – The team will perform a feasibility study of a new low-cost, hurricane-resistant residential construction system from the points of view of structural strength, architectural aesthetics and economics. The project has the potential to provide housing opportunities for low-income Louisiana families residing in hurricane-prone coastal areas. The team includes Michele Barbato, associate professor of civil & environmental engineering; Robert Holton, assistant professor of architecture; and Ashok K. Mishra, the Donald E. Welge Endowed Professor in Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness.


Linking Nutrient and Hydrological Dynamics in the Mississippi River Basin to the Northern Gulf of Mexico, awarded $10,000 – Every summer, hypoxia – defined as dissolved oxygen below 2 milligrams per liter, threatens the economic and ecological vitality of the northern Gulf of Mexico, the nation’s largest and most productive fishery. The team will create a graduate design research studio, LA 4008, in the spring of 2015 that will build upon hypoxia data. Students will map and analyze the Basin and Gulf in order to provide varied yet comparable layers which can be overlaid and shaped as part of an interdisciplinary design workshop. The team includes Forbes Lipschitz, assistant professor of landscape architecture; John Westra, associate professor of agricultural economics and agribusiness; and Kehui Xu,  assistant professor of oceanography and coastal sciences.


Megatrends – Dynamic Coast, awarded $22,660 – This project is concerned with statistical scenario modeling of emerging megatrends to optimize the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of coastal restoration in the Mississippi River Delta. The team will use an innovative combination of statistical techniques to confirm the assumptions that underlie the projections for cost and wetland-building effectiveness in the 2012 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan; asses the sensitivity of the plan’s analysis to variability around implicit and explicit assumptions, as well as the possible importance of factors not considered; and test the utility to a range of statistical forecasting models for decision-support and determine whether different forecasting models converge on one or more optimal restoration implementation sequences. The team includes John Day, professor emeritus of oceanography & coastal sciences; Beibei Guo, assistant professor of experimental statistics; Sam Bentley, the Harrison Chair in Sedimentary Geology and associate professor in geology & geophysics; and G. Paul Kemp, and adjunct professor of oceanography & coastal sciences.


Waterway Hurricane Evacuation Smartphone App for Commercial Fishing Vessels, awarded $34,330 – This project will develop a simulated evacuation plan and a smartphone reference app for commercial fishermen to use in deciding where to take their vessels when a hurricane is forecast for Vermilion Bay. The team includes Lauren Land, sustainability coordinator for Louisiana Sea Grant; Marc Aubanel, director of digital media arts & engineering with the LSU Center for Computation & Technology; Hal Needham, acting program manager of the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program; Alexa Andrews, project manager with the LSU Stephenson Disaster Management Institute’s Center for Business Preparedness; and Carola Kaiser, an IT consultant with the Center for Computation & Technology.


The LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio is unique in that it brings together disciplines that normally work separately so that it can respond to critical coastal issues in the most comprehensive way. Many previous coastal protection and restoration efforts have been solely engineering or science based, leaving out the human element. CSS offers a new paradigm, allowing designers such as architects, landscape architects and city planners to have a voice in the process. To learn more, visit





Contact Laura Larkin
LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio


Contact Aaron Looney
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2014