Kyle D. Brown, Ph.D., ASLA
Ecological Sovereignty and Regenerative Communities
Environmental degradation has created challenging conditions in many urban communities, particularly those characterized as poor, minority, and otherwise marginalized. These conditions have contributed to significant public health challenges in many such communities, including disproportionately high rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. Under the direction of Dr. Brown, the Center has recently launched its Regenerative Communities Initiative, an effort to focus its outreach on marginalized communities. The Center’s approach emphasizes what Dr. Brown describes as "ecological sovereignty," whereby communities exert control over the systems essential for sustainability, including physical systems of food, water, energy, the built environment, and waste, as well as relevant social/cultural systems and local ecological systems. Current projects related to this initiative include:
- Lyle Center Sustainability Fellowship Program. A Partnership with Westmont Elementary school in Pomona Unified School District aimed at encouraging pathways to higher education for underrepresented students, empowering communities to address environmental challenges, and developing a model for university-primary school partnership. Major funding provided by the Ernest Prete, Jr. Foundation.
- Regenerative Pomona Coalition. A group of organizations and community members committed to clarifying, acting upon, and continuously improving upon an ecological vision and strategy for the City of Pomona which optimizes self-sufficiency for current and future generations. Recent efforts include appreciate inquiry investigations with high school students about the assets of the community in partnership with a local non-profit, Bright Prospect, and school/community gardening efforts in partnership with Pomona Unified School District. Major funding provided by the Boeing Foundation.
- Pomona Valley Health Care and Life Sciences Industry Initiative. A collaborative effort between local institutions and organizations to improve the infrastructure and services necessary to promote and sustain personal and community health and economic well-being within the Pomona Valley. Dr. Brown represents Cal Poly Pomona University on this committee and shares his expertise on regenerative economic development and healthy communities.
Modeling for Sustainability Decision-Making
Modeling of community support systems has proven vital to the development of sustainability strategies, the assessment of adverse environmental and social impacts, and the measurement of performance with regard to sustainability indicators. While technological innovation and data availability are enabling the development of increasingly complex and sophisticated models, communities, particularly at the local level, frequently lacks access to technology, data, time and expertise necessary to effectively utilize such modeling in decision-making. Useful models in this context need reasonable validity and reliability, but also need relative simplicity in their design, and effective means of communicating their results. Building upon the work of Odum, Lyle, and others involved in ecologica modeling, as well as Forrester and others concerned with the use of information in community decision-making, Dr. Brown is investigating the utility of modeling for sustainability action and the development of interdisciplinary resources which support such modeling.
Campus Sustainability Informatics
As Co-Chair of the President's Climate Commitment Task Force at Cal Poly Pomona University, and Co-Author of the University's Climate Action Plan, Dr. Brown has been actively involved in the development of sustainability benchmarks, the development of sustainability policies, and the measurement of performance. While there is a proliferation of pro-environmental activities on college campuses, the methods of measuring performance have been limited by time, resource, and data constraints. Dr. Brown is spearheading an effort to development sustainability peformance measures for College campuses, which utilize readily accessible data and emphasize simplicity in their data needs and utilization.