Climate instability affects all living things, particularly in an extreme environment such as the desert Southwest. Challenges for urban dwellers in arid regions include long-term drought, crop failures, and the growing impacts of urban heat island effect. ASU's climate researchers currently address issues of how human activities and changing climate affect each other, policies and actions needed to ameliorate unfavorable climatic conditions, and strategies to ensure that human needs are met in conditions of uncertainty.
Through interdisciplinary projects integrating natural sciences, social science, and engineering, the Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research project examines the effects of urbanization on a desert ecosystem and vice versa.
The Decision Theater Network actively engages researchers and leaders to visualize solutions to complex problems. The Network provides the latest expertise in collaborative, computing and display technologies for data visualization, modeling, and simulation. The Network addresses cross-disciplinary local, national and international issues by drawing on Arizona State University’s diverse academic and research capabilities.
This survey studies the relationships between people and the natural environment in the Phoenix metro area.
Founded in 2015, the Spirituality and Sustainability Initiative (SSI) integrates perspectives on sustainability and innovation with an awareness of the sources, dynamics, significance, and meaning of values and ethical convictions for driving aspiration and action, and as factors in personal and collective resilience. In other words, the kinds of questions and commitments associated with spirituality not only fit with but are intrinsic to a comprehensive and holistic approach to sustainability. SSI is a secular, non-sectarian effort, defining spirituality broadly to include humanistic values and informal modes of spirituality as well as established religious traditions.
Urban areas are vulnerable to extreme weather related events given their location, high concentration of people, and increasingly complex and interdependent infrastructure. Impacts of Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, and other disasters demonstrate not just failures in built infrastructure, they highlight the inadequacy of institutions, resources, and information systems to prepare for and respond to events of this magnitude. The Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN) will develop a novel theoretical framework for integrating social, ecological, and technological system (SETS) dimensions for conceptualizing, analyzing, and supporting urban infrastructure decisions in the face of climatic uncertainty in a more holistic way.