FIBER Officially Launched at UF

The Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience (FIBER) was officially launched on March 20. This institute, part of the University of Florida’s College of Design, Construction and Planning, will focus on research that helps communities respond to complex environmental challenges by improving the way they plan, design and build the physical environment.

FIBER is comprised of a new group of faculty who bring expertise from diverse disciplinary backgrounds – including urban design, planning, interior design, landscape architecture, architecture, construction management, anthropology and civil engineering – to establish connections with policymakers, researchers and practitioners across the university, the state of Florida and the world.

“Our vision is for FIBER to become a focal point for research into how design, construction and planning can make our communities and cities safer through enhanced resilience of the built environment,” said DCP Dean Chimay Anumba. “It will function as a critical knowledge hub for resilience and practice, working alongside communities, government agencies, companies, non-governmental organizations and other institutions to build multi-scale strength and wellbeing in Florida and beyond.”

The official launch event was held at Rinker Hall on the UF campus, but the institute is actually housed off campus at the Catalyst Building. This location, east of campus and south of downtown, is a shared space with UF’s Director of Collaborative Initiatives, City of Gainesville planners (smart cities group) and a drone manufacturer.

This collaborative space is intended to help bridge university research with real-world applications in the city of Gainesville and elsewhere.

We were honored to have UF Provost Joe Glover and Vice President for Research David Norton attend the launch event. DCP Dean Chimay Anumba welcomed everyone and introduced Provost Glover, who spoke to the attendees about the impact FIBER will have on our college, the university and beyond.

FIBER Director Dave Hulse, a landscape architect and environmental designer with a track record of using spatial decision support systems to evaluate alternative land and water use futures, provided his vision for the institute.

“Because Florida, like many regions around the globe, is facing challenges from climate change, sea-level rise, development pressure and other factors, this institute will seek opportunities for innovative, resilient responses,” Hulse stated. “Through collaborative research, synthesis and design at the interface of built environment and ecological systems, FIBER is positioned to respond to the complex threats that many regions around the world are facing.”

Norton introduced the FIBER faculty who participated in a panel discussion, moderated by Ann Christiano from the UF College of Journalism and Communications. The faculty members shared their perspectives on resilience.

Afterwards, the keynote address was delivered by Dr. Dongping Fang, who traveled from China. He is the Executive Director of the Institute of Future Cities and Infrastructures at Tsinghua University.

The event concluded with a poster session that showcased resilience-related research and a reception.

Thank you to everyone who attended the official FIBER launch event. We are excited to see all the amazing work that will come out of this multidisciplinary collaboration within our college and beyond.

To learn more about FIBER, visit https://dcp.ufl.edu/fiber/.