Mapping Asthma Knowledge and Care in the U.S.Asthma in America

This project contributes to Ali Kenner’s book project, Asthmatic Spaces: Emplaced Care in Late Industrialism. Currently our work focuses on collecting, coding, and analyzing asthma research at a number of important intersections. We are particularly interested in how knowledge production is spatially structured, and how regionality and place shape our understanding of asthma. In summer 2014 our team is concentrating on asthma and obesity, and asthma and traffic pollution research. This blog also includes accounts of asthma care and recent news.

This project contributes to a larger, international project based out of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: The Asthma Files.

Understanding Risk Perceptions and Redevelopment Projects Along the Delaware River 


The River Wards are located in the northeast corner of Philadelphia; this area refers to several neighborhoods or communities — including Kensington, Port Richmond, and Bridesburg (sometimes Fishtown as well) — that border the Delaware River. Historically, the River Wards were characterized by heavy industry, a legacy that still defines the landscape. Today, the Port of Philadelphia anchors remaining industrial activity, which is predominantly clustered on the riverfront.

This project follows up on work conducted by the Clean Air Council and Drexel researchers; its aim is to learn about how community members in the River Ward communities perceive and address environmental hazards amid redevelopment efforts. The project is anchored by a door-to-door survey, which will begin in fall 2014, as well as oral history interviews with residents, business owners, and others who work in the River Ward communities. The project aims to build capacity for university-community-city partnerships.

Sustainability Apps for Civic Engagement

Screenshot of iRecycle. An app developed by Earth911 that helps users find recycling centers.
Screenshot of iRecycle. An app developed by Earth911 that helps users find recycling centers.

With the rise of mobile phone use, governments, NGOs, and businesses increasingly work with developers to build applications that increase knowledge and engagement with sustainability problems. We’re interested in how developers work with organizations and communities to build such applications; the modes of solutions that these applications support; and how such projects intend to bolster civic engagement. Philadelphia has a rich tech community; within the local network of experts, interested users can find a range of projects and people to engage with.

We are in the initial stages of this project and are currently learning about existing projects in the Philadelphia area.


Environmental Health Intersections

While most of the research team’s work is organized around the three defined projects above, some of what we have to say doesn’t fit neatly into these project categories; our material and insights deal with environmental health issues writ large. Some of these posts focus on background or tangential information that lends insight into multiple issues. This is also a space for the independent work that our researchers conduct: obesity and the built environment; air monitoring networks and environmental law; environmental health research with pregnant women; architectural interventions in transition communities. More than background or tangential compositions, here you may find the seeds of future EnviroHealthSense projects.


Shifting Energy Culture Series

The Shifting Energy Cultures Series is part of a multi-disciplinary research project funded by the Institute for Energy and the Environment that explores the social ordering of choices, problems and practices that shape “energy cultures” in campus environments. We will use Drexel’s “smart grid” building system as a case study and living lab.

This series of talks invites students and others on campus to look more closely at our electricity systems, power usage, and how “smart” technologies are helping us to understand campus energy usage better. A group of invited speakers will help us to bring energy issues to the foreground, engaging in discussions of energy efficiency and informing us about what resources exist to manage energy demand on campus, locally in our city, in our region and beyond.