Planet Texas 2050

Planet Texas 2050

Making Texas resilient is our grand challenge.

Texas’ population is on track to double by 2050. Climate change will bring more floods, more droughts and more heat. In order to thrive, we need innovative strategies to equitably adapt to these new realities and to mitigate negative impacts on our communities. 

pt2050

Original artwork by Champ Turner

Texas is changing

We expect easy access to clean drinking water every day. Reliable electricity 24/7. Clean air, a stable economy, and a safe place to live. These are critical for healthy, thriving communities. Take any one of these away, and our wellbeing and livelihoods can deteriorate quickly. 

But in Texas and elsewhere, the looming realities of rapid population growth and weather intensity mean that the things we rely on to live — water, energy, dependable infrastructure, and an ecosystem to support them — are under unprecedented risk. 

Here’s why: Texas’ population today is nearly 28 million. By 2050, that number is predicted to double to 55 million, with most people clustered in already-dense urban centers like Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. Limited resources will be in even greater demand. 

Add to that the environmental stress from prolonged droughts, record-breaking heat waves, and destructive floods, and what we have won’t be enough. 

That’s our current trajectory, but we can still change course. 

Planet Texas 2050 is an eight-year sprint to find solutions that will make our communities more resilient and better prepared. To do that, we’re bringing together architects, archaeologists, city planners, public health experts, geologists, engineers, computer scientists, artists — and more. 

Just as important, what we discover will have applications that extend far beyond our region. We’ll share our findings, tools, and processes with researchers across the U.S. and the world who are facing similar challenges in the 21st century. 

Without essentials like water and energy, the systems we rely on — infrastructure to move goods and people, dependable emergency services, and more — will fail. Our ability to sustain those critical resources at levels that can support massive population growth and climatic shifts is in jeopardy.

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Flagship Projects

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Planet Texas 2050 researchers are committed to developing programs and policy recommendations that will improve Texas’ adaptability and build its resilience. To do that, we have launched a set of six innovative “flagship projects,” which leverage the talents and expertise of our interdisciplinary research network to tackle what they see as critical issues when it comes to helping Texas respond to rapid growth and climate change.

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Preparedness

Networks for Hazard Preparedness and Response

Finely tuned flood maps with specially designed street maps and social vulnerability information will help agencies respond to disasters faster and allocate resources better.

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resilience

Stories of Ancient Resilience

Looking to ancient civilizations helps us understand how resilience, in its many forms, has influenced human choices, movement, and development. 

 

 
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Community

Frontline Community Partnerships for Climate Justice

Working with frontline communities allows us to better understand the effects that carbon emissions have on health, as well as the challenges and opportunities behind decarbonization strategies. 

 
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Forecasting

AI-Enabled Model Integration

Developing new technologies that combine and analyze data in new ways helps us make accurate predictions about hurricanes and other disasters, resulting in better, more informed decisions. 

 
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Regenerative

Equitable and Regenerative Cities

Designing community resilience hubs where people can go during disasters — and that use circular economy principles like green infrastructure, water conservation, and solar or wind energy — serve as a model for building regenerative cities. 

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Biodiversity

Resilient Species and Ecosystems

A remote network of visual and acoustic sensors detects environmental and biodiversity-related information that helps us understand and track changes in Texas’ natural habitats. 

 

Annual Report

Explore the most recent Planet Texas 2050 annual report or browse our past reports.

 

Latest News

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UT’s first grand challenge brings together researchers from nearly every college and school on campus. Below are this year’s theme organizing committee members, representing the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Natural Sciences, the School of Architecture, the Jackson School of Geosciences, and the Cockrell School of Engineering. Visit our full team page to see the full list of Planet Texas 2050 researchers, advisors, and staff.

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    Katy Brown

    Senior Research Scientist
    Oden Institute and Molecular Biosciences
  • Keit

    Tim Keitt

    Professor
    Integrative Biology
  • Kerry Kinney

    Kerry Kinney

    Professor
    Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
  • leite

    Fernanda Leite

    Associate Professor
    Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
  • Lowell

    Jonathan Lowell

    Community Liaison
    School of Architecture
  • Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach

    Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach

    Professor
    Geography & the Environment
  • Dev

    Dev Niyogi

    Professor
    Geological Sciences and Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering
  • passalacqua

    Paola Passalacqua

    Associate Professor
    Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
  • adam rabinowitz

    Adam Rabinowitz

    Associate Professor
    Classics
  • schmallbach

    Heidi Schmalbach

    Planet Texas 2050 Program Director
    Office of the Vice President for Research, Scholarship and Creative Endeavors
  • Solis

    Miriam Solis

    Assistant Professor
    School of Architecture
 

Explore our interactive network map to see how different researchers, schools, and organizations are connected to Planet Texas 2050. Search by name, CSU, or project or click any node on the map and pause to see its connections appear. You can magnify or expand the view, and you can click on any individual to see which projects they’ve been affiliated with.