Creating Community Through Neighborhood Environment Monitoring

New Orleans, Louisiana

Featured image for the project, Creating Community Through Neighborhood Environment Monitoring

Image courtesy of Sustainia


ISeeChange is an enterprise whose mission is to connect communities to each other and their changing environment. They provide engagement tools for communities to empower participants with their own stories and data to investigate the impacts of climate change. The organization is launching a neighborhood pilot program in the Gentilly Resilience District New Orleans to further the climate resilience and creative placemaking efforts of the Trust for Public Land, the City of New Orleans, and other resilience partners.

Specifically, ISeeChange is launching a flood and subsidence investigation in the Gentilly Resilience District of New Orleans to inform planned green and blue infrastructure projects to manage stormwater under a multi-million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This neighborhood investigation will be a citizen science effort and include residents documenting their personal experiences alongside collected data (weather, temperature, etc.).

ISeeChange is developing a multidisciplinary project team to advise on, co-design and implement the project, including ISeeChange staff, scientific experts (e.g. subsidence and urban meteorology), local journalists, and community members, but additional expertise is needed.


The scientist will work directly with Julia Kumari Drapkin, CEO and founder of

Scientist Wanted

Julia is looking for a hydrologist knowledgeable in flooding and stormwater management and familiar with the hydrology of New Orleans (and more generally subsiding deltaic urban environments) to inform the investigation design and contribute to the analysis of collected data and observations. The scientist’s input will ensure that the information collected through this effort is actionable, scientifically valid and useful. (For an example of an ISeeChange community investigation, see their Harlem Heat project.)

If desired, the scientist will have the ability to contribute to the application of this pilot in two other cities (Miami, FL; Norfolk, VA, among other candidates) over the next 2 years.


TEX asks all scientific partners to work with the community to help define a project with concrete local impact that they can contribute to as pro-bono volunteers and collaborators.  This work can also position the scientists and communities to seek additional funding, together, for the next stage.


Timeline and Outcome

The project should start as soon as possible in April 2017 and conclude its first phase in approximately 12 months.

As a result of this scientist’s involvement, the development and analysis of the ISeeChange Gentilly Resilience District pilot project will be informed by a scientific understanding of the community’s hydrology. Information concerning the most innovative, scalable work on flooding will be brought to bear on this effort.

The ISeeChange Gentilly Resilience District pilot project will facilitate community engagement in the collection of baseline data needed to finalize and implement green and blue infrastructure designs in New Orleans, and the integration of their personal experiences into the process. By collecting this data via citizen science, the people affected by local flooding will become more connected to each other and their environment.


Desired Skills and Expertise

  • Hydrologist with flooding and stormwater management expertise
  • Knowledgeable about New Orleans and the region’s hydrology and geology
  • Fluent in community science and working with community-based observations
  • Comfort with working with local journalists
  • Openness to an iterative process
  • Independently motivated with good teamwork skills
  • Experience applying systems thinking and developing frameworks
  • Experience with integrated ecological systems and coupled human-natural systems
  • Strong listening and collaboration skills
  • Experience and/or desire to participate in community education, outreach and engagement
  • Willingness to connect science to local concerns
  • Competent and open to new ideas
  • Relaxed, easy going personality with a good sense of humor
  • Ability to interact with the ISeeChange team in person or remotely