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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Stephen J Young
  • (608) 262-3822
  • Siddharth Menon
Award Date:08/03/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 20,233
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 20,233
  • FY 2021=$20,233
Start Date:09/01/2021
End Date:08/31/2023
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.075
Primary Program Source:040100 R&RA ARP Act DEFC V
Award Title or Description:Doctoral Dissertation Research: The Economic and Environmental Tradeoffs of Concrete Construction in Urban Settings
Federal Award ID Number:2113938
DUNS ID:161202122
Parent DUNS ID:041188822
Program:Human-Envi & Geographical Scis
Program Officer:
  • Jeremy Koster
  • (703) 292-0000

Awardee Location

Street:21 North Park Street
Awardee Cong. District:02

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Wisconsin-Madison
Street:21 North Park Street
Cong. District:02

Abstract at Time of Award

This award is funded in whole or in part under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Public Law 117-2). This doctoral dissertation project examines the processes that result in concrete being a leading construction material in rapidly developing cities despite environmental impacts that may reduce resilience to extreme weather events. The research examines the financial investments that drive the growth of concrete residential buildings. The research also highlights the environmental impacts of urban infrastructure development, such as increased in flood risks, by studying the extraction of sand from riverbeds for subsequent use in concrete construction. The project provides data that can inform attempts to reduce the impacts of sand and stone extraction on weather-related disasters, including floods and landslides. In addition to providing funding for the training of a graduate student in the methods of scientific data collection and analysis, the project contributes to localized efforts to advance sustainable construction methods. The findings from this research have the potential to contribute to policy conversations that seek to improve working conditions for construction workers, thereby providing security and acceptable working conditions to laborers. The researchers examine development of concrete construction in urban areas, particularly those that are impacted by extreme weather. In these settings, the widespread use of concrete is implemented amid concerns that it increases the risk of impacts from natural disasters. Drawing on theory from economic geography and urban political ecology, the researchers examine the financing of residential construction, the tradeoffs faced by laborers in the construction industry, and the processes by which the extraction of sand contributes to concrete production and related environmental impacts. The research includes a complementary set of ethnographic methods, such as participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups with diverse stakeholders in the construction industry. These stakeholders include real estate developers, architects, urban designers, building and labor contractors, government bureaucrats, and sand traders. Findings from this study will address the imbalance between rapid urban economic growth in developing contexts and the social and environmental impacts of concrete, the primary raw material for construction in many settings. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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