Welcome to the research page for TomorrowNow, a visionary online game that will put big data and sophisticated models into the hands of everyone in the Triangle region of North Carolina.

Co-creating Solutions

The mission of the TomorrowNow project is to enhance smart civic engagement, by elevating the voices of stakeholders with diverse perspectives and developing spatial serious games that can increase equitable participation in decision-making.

The first phase of the TomorrowNow project involves the creation of a Research Coordination Network, funded by the National Science Foundation through their Smart & Connected Communities Initiative (Award Number 1737563). This network is uniting stakeholders and community leaders in the Triangle to break down barriers to collaboration and generate consensus for developing TomorrowNow.

The initial focus for TomorrowNow and the Research Coordination Network is urbanization and stormwater management, pressing concerns in rapidly growing regions like the Triangle where widespread pavement and heavy rains mean problematic flooding. The project’s Interdisciplinary Steering Committee and Stakeholder Advisory Board encompass a variety of government, academic, industry, and nonprofit representatives who will together tackle this complex topic through in-person workshops, symposia, and facilitated online discussions.

Would you like to be involved?

Join us!

Co-envisioning Engagement

To co-create an engaging game that meets the needs of a variety of stakeholders, we strive to include as many interests from across the Triangle as possible. Network partners on the Interdisciplinary Steering Committee and Stakeholder Advisory board include universities, municipalities, and community organizations:

Map of the Triangle

  • Universities: North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, North Carolina Central University
  • Municipalities: City of Raleigh, City of Durham, Town of Chapel Hill, Town of Cary, Wake County, Durham County, Orange County
  • Community and non-governmental organizations: South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Water Resources Research Institute


North Carolina State University

  • Ross Meentemeyer, Lead Principal Investigator (PI); director, Center for Geospatial Analytics;
    expertise: geospatial analytics, urbanization modeling, sustainability solutions
  • Helena Mitasova, Co-PI; professor, Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences;
    expertise: dynamic geosimulations, geovisualization, hydrological modeling
  • Corey White, Network Coordinator; Ph.D. student, Center for Geospatial Analytics;
    expertise: GIS for local governments, software engineering
  • Tiffany Barnes; associate professor, Department of Computer Science;
    expertise: serious games, artificial intelligence, advanced learning technologies
  • Emily Berglund; associate professor, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering;
    expertise: complex adaptive systems, water infrastructure and engineering
  • Okan Pala; research associate, Center for Geospatial Analytics;
    expertise: critical infrastructure and disaster response
  • Walter Robinson; professor, Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences;
    expertise: climate variability and extreme precipitation events

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Todd BenDor, Co-PI; associate professor, Department of City and Regional Planning; expertise: urban growth, environmental planning, and markets for water resources
  • Danielle Spurlock; assistant professor, Department of City and Regional Planning;
    expertise: city planning, public health, social justice
  • Andrew Yates; associate professor, Department of Economics;
    expertise: environmental economics, pollution permit market design
  • Kathleen Gray; associate director, Environmental Resource Program at the UNC Institute of Environment;
    expertise: environmental health, science education and engagement 

Duke University

  • Emily Bernhardt; Co-PI; professor, Department of Biology;
    expertise: watershed biogeochemistry, restoration, urban ecology
  • Dean Urban; professor of landscape ecology, Environmental Science and Policy Division of the Nicholas School of the Environment;
    expertise: conservation planning, environmental management and policy
  • Megan Mullin; associate professor of environmental politics, Environmental Science and Policy Division of the Nicholas School of the Environment;
    expertise: water management, policy, and governance
  • Michael Hensen; assistant director, Center on Globalization, Governance, and Competitiveness;
    expertise: global change, public health, value chains

North Carolina Central University

  • Kevin Foy; Co-PI; associate professor, School of Law;
    expertise: urban sustainability, land use law

  • Jim Alberque, GIS and Engagement Technology Manager, City of Raleigh – Information Technology
  • Dan Ault, Assistant Town Manager and Chief Innovation Officer, Town of Cary
  • Perver Baran, Teaching Associate Professor, Center for Geospatial Analytics, NC State University
  • Emily Barrett, Sustainability Manager, Town of Cary
  • Janet Cakir, NPS SER Climate Change, Socioeconomics, and Adaptation Coordinator, South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative
  • Randy Dodd, Stormwater Utility Manager, Town of Carrboro
  • Derek Gatlin, Proposal Developer, Proposal Development Unit, NC State University
  • Tom Fransen, Water Planning Section Chief, NC Department of Environmental Quality
  • Blair Hinkle, Assistant Department Director of Engineering Services, City of Raleigh – Engineering Services
  • Sally Hoyt, Stormwater Engineer, UNC-Chapel Hill Energy Services
  • Jamie Kritzer, Assistant Director of Communications, NCDOT Communications Department
  • Reid Serozi, Analytics and Innovation Manager, Town of Cary
  • Jamie Smedsmo, UNC Chapel Hill Energy Services
  • Adam Terando, Research Ecologist and Adjunct Professor, USGS and Department of Applied Ecology, NC State University
  • Carter Vickery, GIS System and Applications Supervisor, Wake County
  • Heath Wadsworth, Senior Engineer, Draper Aden Associates
  • Allison Weakley, Stormwater Analyst, Town of Chapel Hill Public Works Department, Stormwater Management Division
  • Susan White, Director, Water Resources Research Institute of the University of North Carolina

Get Involved

There are many ways to contribute to the TomorrowNow project. Do as much or as little as you like!

Join the Stakeholder Advisory Board

Do you represent a community of people whose interests and needs should be heard at planning workshops and goal-setting meetings? Does your community have expertise in stormwater management or is directly impacted by it? Contact the network coordinator, Corey White, to join the Stakeholder Advisory Board! Each member of the board is invited to in-person gatherings and automatically receives a login to TomorrowNow on Slack, the online forum that keeps discussion going between meetings.

Attend Public Symposiums

About once a year, the Research Collaboration Network will host a public symposium open to anyone who wants to attend. At these symposiums, the Interdisciplinary Steering Committee and Stakeholder Advisory Board will present project progress, share the latest research related to serious games, and seek feedback from attendees.

Join TomorrowNow on Slack

Don’t have time to attend workshops or symposiums? No problem! The Research Collaboration Network maintains an online space for constructive discussion, moderated by Corey White, called TomorrowNow on Slack. This online forum will host project updates and reports as well as discussion threads. We invite anyone interested in the project to contact Corey White to join the conversation. Make your voice heard by posting comments, or simply listen to what others have to say!