Urban soils are very heterogeneous, and commonly contain fill and other types of anthropogenic materials. However, urban soils from different cities share many common characteristics such as contaminants, reduced nutrients and organics, compaction, etc. In this study we will compare soils from New York City and Beijing, two of the largest cities in the world. These two cities have very different geologies, climates, cultures and industrial histories, all of which have influenced their development. We will use a comparative approach to quantify how human influences on local soils have impacted these urban ecosystems. The BUEE student will work with Dr. Cheng and a visiting scientist from China, gathering relevant data from the literature, collecting soil samples from several NYC parks, and characterizing these soils in the Urban Soils Lab at Brooklyn College.