Erik Porse, PhD

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Groundwater Use in Urban Development


Groundwater is an important water source in urbanized areas.  Cities across many geographies and climates, including Beijing, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Houston, Tokyo, Perth, and Lima, have all utilized groundwater to supply much of their potable water needs at some stage of development (Howard and Gelo 2002).  Groundwater provides a significant portion […]

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Urban Water and Governance


Water infrastructure is typically about pipes and bills.  Most cities have dedicated departments that manage water distribution, sewage, and stormwater systems.  Today, however, new designs for more sustainable urban development are re-considering how we deliver these services for residents.  Rather than provide and manage water through centralized services, what are the opportunities and challenges associated […]

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The Long Life of Infrastructure

A bit of a dichotomy exists between the pace of innovation and urban infrastructure design as we know it. Municipal, state, and federal governments fund projects through taxes or bond measures based on long-term cost projections. Planning for decades in advance is necessarily inherent in the system. The infrastructure we possess lasts a long time, […]

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Balancing System Health Across Environmental, Social, and Ecological Metrics

The American ethos has evolved to encompass a new kind of environmental consciousness. Current popular notions of environmentalism in the U.S. focus less on government responses to mitigate readily-observable pollution, and more on personal and collective actions that reconcile goals of economic growth and resource conservation. This is encompassed by the term sustainability, which has […]

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Entrepreneurship and Second-Hand Clothes in Tanzania

Excerpts from a paper: “Old Socks for Start-Ups: How Second-Hand Clothes Markets Exemplify Undervalued Entrepreneurship in Poorer Nations and Consumption-Dependent Growth.” The paper discusses the promise of entrepreneurship, the ambition of entrepreneurs throughout the globe, and the reality of the global second-hand clothes trade. When I was in Tanzania leading a study-abroad program, a lot […]

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