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Granite City, Illinois

The Challenge

Granite City is a small Midwestern town that is struggling with a legacy of air pollution.  Much of this pollution is attributed to a local steel mill, which is also an important economic engine for the city.  The steel mill has taken steps to reduce its emissions, but many residents are still dubious about the overall quality of the air.

Granite City Official Image

Image Courtesy of: Granite City


A Scientific Partner

The economic development director of Granite City, IL has found a scientific partner to work with the city on local air quality.  This work will include helping to monitor air quality in a way that is accessible to and engaging to city residents, working with city residents and leaders to understand and inform local perceptions of air quality, and, perhaps most importantly, brainstorming and implementing visible and effective ways to further improve air quality. A successful project will, over the course of 18 months, improve air quality and help Granite Ciy’s residents feel better about their air.

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What Skills?

  • A broad understanding of air quality and pollution is important, probably more important than detailed focused expertise about any particularly pollutant.
  • The city is also looking for a down to earth scientific partner with excellent listening skills;
  • The ability to explain things clearly and in every-day language is important;
  • Willingness to connect science to local concerns;
  • The scientific partner would be focused on working with the community to generate solutions that leverage available research and can be implemented relatively soon, not on launching a longer-term research program.
  • The scientist should live near enough to understand the place and be able to interact in-person often.
  • Ideally, the scientific partner is someone who relishes interacting with a broad range of stakeholders including city residents, civic leaders, advisory board members, and industrial leaders.
  • A sense of humor.




The Scientific Partner



Dr. Jay Turner was selected as the scientific partner for the Granite City challenge. Upon joining Washington University in St. Louis in 1994, Professor Turner was an Air Quality Specialist at the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. Professor Turner is a five-time recipient of the Engineering School’s Professor of the Year Award (conferred by the school’s graduating class), and is a 2003 recipient of the university’s Distinguished Faculty Award which recognizes collective contributions to research, education and community service. His research has been sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Electric Power Research Institute, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and other regional planning organizations (e.g., CENRAP, LADO/Midwest RPO). Professor Turner also serves on the Ambient Air Monitoring and Methods Subcommittee of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC).



The Partnership



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ICLEI USA – Local Governments for Sustainability and American Geophysical Union (AGU)’s Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX) partnered to advance knowledge and practices contributing to climate resilient communities across the United States.


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