Below are the projects that received funding under CIVIC 2021 – Solicitation NSF 20-562
View our homepage for information about the current funding opportunity.

September 21, 2021 – The National Science Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, announced the 17 Civic Innovation Challenge Stage 2 pilot awards. Each of these teams are receiving up to $1 million to implement their research-based pilot projects over a one year period, ending in the fall of 2022. Projects address one of two community-identified tracks: Communities and Mobility, or Resilience to Natural Disaster. Find the list of Stage 1 Awardees here.


Hover over a project site to see information about the team.
Click to learn more about the project.


Mobility Track:

Offering Better Mobility Options to Solve the Spatial Mismatch Between Housing Affordability and Jobs


Click on a project title for a brief description of planned activities and for an individual link to the NSF award abstract. 

The full list of NSF awards abstracts can be found here.

Check back on this page to see teams’ Stage 2 Content.

Pascal Van Hentenryck, Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech researchers, in collaboration with several Metro Atlanta transit services, are piloting a next-generation on-demand transit system in Gwinnett County and the city of Smyrna, fundamentally transforming accessibility to jobs, healthcare, education, and quality food. By solving the infamous first/last mile problem in a sustainable way, the pilot program hopes to fundamentally transform public transit into a flexible, scalable, and affordable system that meets the needs of all residents regardless of where they live in the service area. Read the abstract on

Junfeng Jiao, University of Texas at Austin

We are seeking transportation equity and mobility justice in under-resourced transit deserts. Our City of Austin and University of Texas at Austin Team is working with the Georgian Acres Neighborhood to build a low-cost community hub for smart mobility. Read the abstract on

Suman Mitra, University of Arkansas

This project presents SMILIES (Shared MicromobIlity for affordabLe-accessIblE houSing): a community-engaged pilot project that brings diverse and often unheard voices together to improve the accessibility to jobs and essential activities for affordable housing communities in small- and mid-sized cities of rural areas by leveraging the explosive growth of shared micromobility (SMM) services such as e-bikes and e-scooters. The project will design and deploy services in high-risk communities in Fort Smith, Arkansas, to estimate the impact of SMM services on household transportation costs, job access, and more. Read the abstract on

Alexandra Kondyli, University of Kansas

Out-of-school-time (OST) opportunities support youth in developing workforce readiness and cultivating occupational identities; however, underrepresented youth face inequitable access to these opportunities. Community stakeholders and University of Kansas researchers will develop and implement an integrated mobile application and tools that help the youth discover, access, and participate in OST opportunities, create shared-mobility identities, and cultivate environmental-friendly travel behaviors. Read the abstract on

Fabian Wagmister, University of California, Los Angeles


University of California, Los Angeles REMAP, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and neighborhood organizations will work to reimagine bicycle commuting in Los Angeles by enabling, supporting, and celebrating community bike-to-work flows. Prioritizing transportation satisfaction and safety over efficiency, the project will integrate ride data and riders’ input to generate digital media exhibitions of the emerging collective mobility identity. The use of participatory mobile technologies will allow assembling and guiding groups of bicyclists and encourage lasting cycling communities of practice and city-wide attention to economical, healthy, and sustainable approaches to commuting. Read the abstract on

Lingqian Hu, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Our project will test a pilot of on-demand microtransit service that aims to connect workers living in segregated, majority-Black neighborhoods in Milwaukee with jobs in suburban employment centers. The pilot adopts a user-centered approach by which potential users design and evaluate this new mobility service. Implementation and evaluation of the pilot can inform whether user-centered service design and delivery can overcome institutional, multi-jurisdictional coordination barriers and solve persistent spatial mismatches which deter marginalized population groups from accessing jobs. Read the abstract on


Resilience Track:

Equipping Communities for Greater Preparedness and Resilience to Natural Disasters


Click on a project title for a brief description of planned activities and for an individual link to the NSF award abstract. 

The full list of NSF awards abstracts can be found here.

Check back on this page to see teams’ Stage 2 Content.

Marcia Mardis, Florida State University

Calhoun County and Florida State University are working with local and regional leaders and citizens to inclusively design tailored rural resilience hubs sited in public library branches in each county district, five in total. Because public libraries as recognized centers of mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery, this project will identify opportunities to expand and strengthen community collaborations and detail needed information flows to better address the resiliency divide rural citizens often experience in disaster events. Read the abstract on

Robin Murphy, Texas Engineering Experiment Station

Each year floods, hurricanes, and wildfires in the US cost hundreds of lives and $125B in economic losses, with disproportionate impacts on people of color and low-income communities. Texas A&M and its civic, government, and research partners are engaging at-risk high school students from three vulnerable urban and rural communities in Texas to use drones, robot boats, and the latest in artificial intelligence and geospatial software to gather data and build their communities’ preparedness capacity. Link to abstract on

Thomas Oommen, Michigan Technological University

Helping Rural Counties to Enhance Flooding and Coastal Disaster Resilience and Adaptationis led by Michigan Technological University and will work with two counties in Upper Michigan to develop methods that use remote sensing data resources and citizen engagement (crowdsourcing) to address current data gaps for improved flood hazard modeling and visualization that is transferable to rural communities in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The project partners include the University of Washington, Western Upper Peninsula Planning & Development Region office, and  Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department. Read the abstract on

Mehana Vaughan, University of Hawaii

The vision of this project is to enhance social and ecological community resilience to increasing flood risk in coastal areas. Working with Kauaʻi island community members who led response to the record breaking April 2018 floods, this partnership of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Kauaʻi Emergency Management Agency, and Haleleʻa area nonprofits, links Indigenous knowledge, local observations of ecological change, and data from scientific instrumentation. This approach aims to strengthen capacity for mountain-to-sea watershed management, enhance information availability and sharing, while connecting future generations to their responsibilities for reciprocal care in the face of increasing climate-change induced disasters. Read the abstract on

Joshua Behr, Old Dominion Research Foundation

Severe weather events have the potential to inflict wide-spread structural damage to homes, resulting in the displacement of populations. The length of time between initial displacement and returning, once again, to stable, functional housing varies greatly across populations with low-to-modest income households and medically fragile households tending to have lengthy displacements relative to non-vulnerable households. The matching of converging supply (donated materials and volunteer labor) with the need for repair of damaged homes among particularly vulnerable and medically fragile households is less than optimal. In response to this community-identified need, a partnership among the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, Old Dominion University, and local governments is developing the CIMA management platform to better connect available resources flowing into the region with these repair needs so that lengthy displacement times common among low-to-modest income households will be meaningfully reduced, thus addressing fundamental inequities in recovery and wellbeing. Read the abstract on

Ioannis Kakadiaris, University of Houston

Leveraging lessons learned from six workshops conducted with the Houston Food Bank and its partners during our Stage 1 planning grant, we will jointly undertake a research-centered, socio-technical approach to develop and evaluate decision-making tools that incorporate equity indices for selecting food distribution hubs to improve the resilience of the food distribution network. This project brings together civic collaborators with university researchers to align HFB’s food distribution strategy to match food insecurity during multiple disaster profiles through a community-driven approach. Read the abstract on

Nalini Venkatasubramanian, University of California, Irvine

This project will enhance and transform the resilience of older adults in our communities during disasters. Whether wildfires, hurricanes, pandemics or other large-scale disasters, older adults disproportionally suffer due to the lack of effective triage, evacuation and healthcare provision. Our seamless smart-space platform, CAREDEX, will enable the integration and sharing of complex, customized care information rapidly between first responders, caregivers in senior housing facilities, and older adults through a secure data exchange system. Read the abstract on

Carolyn Kousky, Environmental Defense Fund

Flooding is the costliest natural disaster and the risk is escalating in many parts of the country. Prior research has found that low- and moderate-income (LMI) households suffer disproportionately from disasters and recover less quickly. Financial resilience—the ability to recover from an economic shock—is foundational to all other aspects of recovery. This project’s overarching goal is to increase the financial resilience of LMI households in New York City to escalating flood risk through the use of an innovative insurance model to rapidly provide financial assistance to those most in need. This project is a joint effort between the University of Pennsylvania, Environmental Defense Fund, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice, the Center for New York City Neighborhoods, and SBP. It also involves technical assistance from Guy Carpenter and Global Parametrics.
Read the abstract on

Debra Laefer, New York University

Unification for Underground Resilience Measures, led by New York University, will work with utility companies, city agencies and consultants to design a roadmap for city-level implementation of a subsurface data model and assemble two pilot data sets to prepare study sites against natural disasters. Read the abstract on

Fernando Moreu, University of New Mexico

Native American Pueblo communities will design, build and implement their own Low-Cost Efficient Wireless Intelligent Sensors (LEWIS) that will inform communities of trends and thresholds that can assist in managing wildfires and providing early warning when fires and floods occur. This project will develop a Nationwide community of practice that shares ideas, designs, and applications for resilience in Tribal communities by co-developing capacity and decision-support tools. Read the abstract on

Allen Hyde, Georgia Institute of Technology

What kinds of data do we need to understand and enhance community-level disaster resilience in the face of multiple ongoing disasters (hurricanes, flooding, heat waves, air pollution, and pandemics) as well as their intersections with longstanding social inequities resulting from systemic racism? Georgia Tech, Savannah State University, The Harambee House, and The City of Savannah are partnering with residents in historically marginalized communities on the west side of Savannah, Georgia to show how universities and communities can work together to co-create these data, build relationships, and redefine what environmental justice looks like. Read the abstract on