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ICAT Playdate — Youth-centered civic technology, science, and art for improving community heat resilience infrastructure

March 1, 2024

The H.O.P.E. for Heat Resilience project is a collaboration between community groups, city government, and academic researchers in Roanoke, VA to address the risks of rising temperatures in the city caused by global climate change. It is one of 19 projects nationwide funded by the National Science Foundation Civic Innovation Challenge.

Our project aims to demonstrate a grassroots and youth-centered approach to community planning for the risks of climate change in cities. In addition, our collaboration is defining what trauma-informed, healing-centered urban planning means in the context of history and coming challenges. The presentation will highlight the core components of the project which include design and delivery of youth programs in arts, spirituality, and STEM that connect to the city's urban planning processes, a workforce development program with high school students that involves them in developing plans for their neighborhoods, and research questions that will help us evaluate, characterize, and transfer this "Roanoke method" of community resilience planning that centers youth and community engagement.  

This project involves extensive collaborations across disciplines and organizations. PIs on the NSF project are Theo Lim (Urban Affairs and Planning), Eric Wiseman (Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation), Jake Grohs (Engineering Education & Center for Educational Networks and Impacts), Julia Gohlke (Population Health Sciences) Laura Hartman (Roanoke College), and Naren Ramakrishnan (Computer Science & Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics). 

Community Leaders and Organizational Collaborators include: Antwyne Calloway (Northwest Neighborhood Environmental Organization), Decca Knight (professional counselor and trauma specialist), BJ Lark (CommUNITY ARTSreach), Darlene Lewis (the Hope Center), Jane Gabrielle McCadden (One World Arts), Antonio Stovall (Ancestral Perspective), the Kiwanis Club, The Foundry, Da HumbleBeez, Trees Roanoke/Tree Stewards, Roanoke Libraries, Roanoke City Publics Schools, Roanoke Planning, and Roanoke Parks and Recreation.


  • Theo Lim
  • Jake Grohs
  • Antwyne Calloway


  • March 1, 2024


  • 8:30am EDT
     Networking & Donuts at Community Assembly, Creativity and Innovation District LLC
  • 9am EDT
     Presentation begins in the Community Assembly and live on YouTube

Virginia Tech faculty can receive Professional Development Network (PDN) credit for attending

  1. Register at 
  2. Check in with Phyllis Newbill during the event.

Location: Community Assembly, Creativity and Innovation District LLC