Strategic Depaving Project in Newport Funded by NKU Emerging Research Initiative Grant

NKU Campus

January 28, 2018- Northern Kentucky University focuses on the environment as an area of emerging research, awarding a grant to the Ecological Stewardship Institute (ESI) to create new green space in Newport, KY.   

ESI is receiving the $40,000 grant for strategic depaving, a transdisciplinary, community-engaged research project being led by Dr. Kirsten Schwarz, associate professor of environmental science. NKU faculty and students will work with stakeholders and community members in Newport to co-design and co-produce small-scale greening interventions.

“The project was developed in response to community survey results that identified water quality and access to green space as high priority concerns, both of which are addressed through the proposed greening interventions,” said Dr. Schwarz. “The project is an opportunity for residents to shape their environment through the design and creation of green spaces in their neighborhood. We’re thrilled to be working in Newport’s west side and look forward to engaging with residents to help support their vision of a greener Newport.”

 Strategic depaving also was awarded the Water Research Consortium Challenge Grant and will receive $15,000 from Confluence, a water technology cluster looking to establish the region as a global leader in sustainable, environmental technology innovation. The project was selected because the reviewers thought it was positioned to make a positive change in the neighborhood. NKU’s Provost was also impressed with the direct impact of this project.

“This provides a unique opportunity to advance environmental solutions through collaborative, cross-disciplinary partnerships while giving students hands-on learning,” said Provost Sue Ott Rowlands. “The strategic depaving project stands out because it will be developed and implemented with the community, truly making it a natural fit for Newport.”

The NKU emerging research grant is for three years, and the project is expected to begin in the spring of 2018. The strategic depaving team members include NKU faculty from biology, communications, history, visual arts and nursing. The Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement and CINSAM are also involved in the project. Community partners include the City of Newport and Neighborhood Foundations.

About NKU:  Northern Kentucky University is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018! Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 14,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information on our 50th, visit