AZ Indicators UHI Panel

On October 18, 2011, Arizona Indicators,Sustainable Cities Network Green Infrastructure Workgroup Meeting a project of ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, presented, The Urban Heat Island: Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies for a Cooler Valley in conjunction with the Sustainable Cities Network Green Infrastructure Workgroup Meeting at the Decision Center for a Desert City.

Panelists included:

  • Harvey Bryan, Professor, The Design School, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, ASU
  • Carol Johnson, Planning Manager, City of Phoenix Planning and Development Department
  • Chris Martin, Professor, Department of Applied Sciences and Mathematics, College of Technology and Innovation, ASU
  • Moderator: Dave White, Associate Director, Decision Center for a Desert City, ASU

Sustainable Cities Network Green Infrastructure Workgroup Meeting This panel discussion expanded upon the Arizona Indicators Policy Points piece, The Urban Heat Island: Jeopardizing The Sustainability of Phoenix, written by DCDC Research Analyst and Data Manager, Sally Wittlinger. In a desert city such as Phoenix, summertime heat is a way of life, but how much does the built environment contribute to the intensity of the heat on a summer night? In urbanized Phoenix, nights don’t cool down as much as in the surrounding rural areas and on more and more summer nights, the official Phoenix temperature fails to drop below 90 degrees. Climate plays a huge role in the comfort and quality of life of residents, with numerous implications for tourism, energy demand, water use, and the vulnerability of low-income families.

Harvey Bryan is a specialist in building technology; he has served on the committee responsible for developing the National Energy Standard for Buildings and is currently serving on a committee that recently developed a National High-Performance Green Building Standard. Dr. Bryan is active in ASU’s National Center of Excellence (NCE) which is charged with studying the impact of engineered materials (particularly their thermal impact) on the urban environment. Dr. Bryan has been involved in several UHI related studies. His investigations explore how natural and engineered materials absorb, store and lose thermal energy, which are key factors in our understanding of UHI and how it can be mitigated in our urban environments.

Carol Johnson is the Planning Manager with the City of Phoenix Planning and Development Department where she manages long-range planning and special projects. In addition to her Phoenix experience, she has worked for cities in Connecticut and Washington State, and as a consultant in the private sector. Ms. Johnson has promoted the incorporation of sustainability principles and practices into recent projects including the Phoenix General Plan Update and Downtown Code (formerly called the Downtown Phoenix Urban Form Project). In particular, the Downtown Code uses both regulations and incentives to mitigate and adapt to the Urban Heat Island by incorporating cool building materials and increasing shade to improve thermal comfort.

Chris A. Martin received his Ph.D. in Environmental Horticulture from the University of Florida; he came to Arizona State University in 1990, where he maintains an active and externally funded research program in urban plant ecology. He is a member of the American Society for Horticultural Science, Ecological Society of America, International Society of Arboriculture, the Metropolitan Tree Improvement Alliance, the International Association for Urban Climate, and the Arizona Community Tree Council. Dr. Martin is investigating the effects of urban vegetation design and urban vegetation management on urban microclimates.

DCDC Water/Climate Briefing

October 26 | 12:00-1:30pm | DCDC Conference Room

Assistant Professor Kelli L. Larson and environmental psychologist Susan Ledlow will present research ranging from human environment interactions and water resource governance to aspects of human nature that constitute potential obstacles to solving problems of sustainability or that might facilitate our ability to make sustainable decisions.

This year’s DCDC Water/Climate Briefing theme focuses on a branch of behavioral research situated at the intersection of psychology and economics. Our researchers are exploring the mental processes that shape our choices, behaviors and attitudes, and employ both evolutionary and sociocultural models to understand environmental decision making.

Dr. Larson’s interests lie at the intersection between human-environment interactions and water resource governance. Focusing on urban ecosystems in recent years, her work aims to understand how diverse people frame social-ecological risks and what they are willing to do in order to ameliorate them. Her research presentation will focus on environmental concerns, risk perceptions, and policy attitudes regarding water issues in metropolitan Phoenix, including how assorted perspectives vary by gender, cultural domains, and the public, policy, and science spheres. The implications of this work speak to enhancing societal support and actions for sustainability, encompassing both collaborative decision-making and conservation practices.

Susan Ledlow is part of a team of psychologists who are adding experimental approaches to the suite of DCDC research activities. Their work takes an evolutionary functional approach to human decision-making. They are particularly interested in aspects of human nature that constitute potential obstacles to solving problems of sustainability, or that might facilitate our ability to make sustainable decisions. Susan will present results from a number of experiments they have conducted over the last two years related to residential water use, self-presentational aspects of landscaping, and framing persuasive messaging using motives related to status or kinship.

Ray Quay at Science Café, October 21

Will Arizona’s climate change leave us thirsty?

Have you found yourself complaining about the heat more than usual? If you answered yes, then there’s a sound explanation. Record books show Arizona’s climate is drier than years past and hotter than ever before!

What does this climate change mean for us? Could we be faced with a massive water shortage in the near future? Find out with Arizona State University researchers, Nancy Selover and Ray Quay at Science Café hosted by the Center for Nanotechnology in Society.

Nancy Selover is a Research Professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University and Arizona State Climatologist in the State Climate Office.

Ray Quay is Director of Stakeholder Relations at the National Science Foundation’s Decision Center for a Desert City, a research center in the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University.

Friday, October 21, 2011 | 7-8 p.m. | Free Admission

600 E Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ

SRP Opens Roosevelt Dam Gates

via AZ Republic on October 12, 2011.

Salt River Project opened the spillways at Roosevelt Dam on Tuesday morning, creating a rare spectacle of water gushing into the upper Salt River about 100 miles northeast of Phoenix.

SRP tests the two spillways periodically to make sure they will operate properly in case of a flood.

Tuesday’s test was the first time both spillways had been open at the same time since the dam was expanded in 1996. At the peak of the hourlong test, about 100,000 gallons a second poured through 3-foot openings in the spillways.

Among a small crowd of onlookers, Emily Helms of nearby Tonto Basin took pictures during the test. Her husband, Larry Helms, was part of the 1996 expansion project, which made the century-old structure safer in case of flooding.

The water was captured in downstream reservoirs, starting with Apache Lake, and will flow into the canals that deliver water across the Valley.

Here’s a video from September 2010 showing the release of water from one spillway.

ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability Expands Through Partnership with Tecnológico de Monterrey

In an effort to further advance the transition to a sustainable economy in Mexico, Arizona State University (ASU) and Tecnológico de Monterrey have jointly launched the Latin America Office of the Global Institute of Sustainability. This extension of ASU’s Global Institute at Tecnológico de Monterrey will conduct applied transdisciplinary research, offer an innovative curriculum, and develop business solutions that accelerate the adoption of a sustainable culture.

The Latin America Office of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability will offer academic programs to educate future leaders in the transition to a green economy. It will conduct applied research to address Latin American issues, particularly the adoption of sustainable development. It will also leverage linkages with the Technology Park at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico City Campus, to promote clean technologies and entrepreneurial projects that will create green jobs and businesses, and promote public policies that preserve natural capital through active participation of all sectors of society.

Tecnológico de Monterrey

Tecnológico de Monterrey is the largest private not-for-profit university in Mexico and Latin America. It is a higher education institution focused on educating students to become responsible citizens who will trigger the development of their communities by fostering humanistic values, an international perspective, and an entrepreneurial culture. Tecnológico de Monterrey is present throughout Mexico with 31 campuses.

“This partnership with ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability is an ambitious and avant-garde joint initiative that seeks to fulfill the 2012 mission of the Tecnológico de Monterrey,” said Arturo Molina, president of Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico City Metropolitan Region.

“This new extension office of the Global Institute of Sustainability will be a catalyst by creating synergies among the several sustainability initiatives currently underway at Tecnológico de Monterrey,” said Rick Shangraw, director of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability. “It is a unique, highly-collaborative model that is garnering great interest by companies, government, and environmental organizations in Mexico and Latin America that are committed to sustainable development.”

The joint venture will train a new generation of entrepreneurs to create businesses that combine a rational use of natural resources with environmental stewardship. This aligns with the entrepreneurial culture of both Tecnológico de Monterrey and ASU.

“The new Latin America Office of ASU’s Global Institute is unique in Latin America—a global think tank that will promote business solutions, clean technologies, and governance models for business and government decision makers,” said Isabel Studer, the founding director of the new office. “It has the support of Arizona State University, one of the leading research institutes in sustainable development in the Americas.”

The inauguration event included four discussion panels with public officials, business leaders, NGO representatives, and sustainability scholars and faculty members from Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico City Campus, where the Latin America Office of the Global Institute of Sustainability is located.

DCDC and the Water Innovation Consortium (WIC)

The Water Innovation Consortium is a unique collaboration between ASU (DCDC and Decision Theater), Tecnológico de Monterrey (CALCA), and FEMSA Foundation to engage scientists and stakeholders in Monterrey, Mexico. The project develops a model for an Integrated Basin Observatory through surface and groundwater modeling, stakeholder engagement, and strategic decision support. Partners conducted a workshop on February 17, 2011 in Monterrey that brought together 25 scientists, stakeholders, 13 and decision makers for presentations and discussions. A follow-up workshop is planned for later in 2011. In June 2011, Project PIs Dave White and Patricia Gober met with the representatives of FEMSA Foundation with a follow-up meeting in August 2011 with a FEMSA delegation including the corporate CEO to discuss extensions of the current project.

About the Latin America Office of the Global Institute of Sustainability
About Tecnológico de Monterrey
About Arizona State University
About the Global Institute of Sustainability

Media Contacts:
Karen Leland, Director, Communications

Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University
United States of America

Monica Camacho Lizarraga, Director, International Liaison Office
Tecnológico de Monterrey
Mexico City, Mexico

IHDP: Social scientists call for more research on human dimensions of global change


Scientists across all disciplines share great concern that our planet is in the process of crossing dangerous biophysical tipping points. The results of a new large-scale global survey among 1,276 scholars from the social sciences and humanities demonstrate that the human dimensions of the problem are equally important but severely under-addressed.

The survey, conducted by the IHDP Secretariat (UNU-IHDP) in collaboration with UNESCO and the International Social Science Council (ISSC), identifies the following as highest priority research areas:

(1) equity/equality and wealth/resource distribution;

(2) policy, political systems/governance, and political economy;

(3) economic systems, economic costs and incentives;

(4) globalization, social and cultural transitions.

Over 80% call for additional funding and opportunities for such research. 90% of the survey respondents are in favor of an assessment of social sciences and humanities research findings applicable to global environmental change.

Visit the IHDP website to view the full survey.