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Braden Kay

Braden Kay

Director, Sustainability, City of Tempe


City of Tempe
Tempe, AZ 85281


  • Affiliate Global Futures Scholar, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory
  • Director, Sustainability, City of Tempe


Braden Kay is the director of sustainability for the City of Tempe. He was recently the sustainability project manager for the City of Orlando, where he led sustainability implementation in waste diversion, urban forestry, and urban agriculture programs. He received a PhD from Arizona State's School of Sustainability for his dissertation work on stakeholder engagement and strategy building within the City of Phoenix. Previously, Braden managed community engagement, sustainability assessment and strategy building for the City of Phoenix's Reinvent Phoenix grant, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Sustainable Communities program. Braden's academic and professional experience in urban planning, sustainability assessment, and sustainability implementation make him an asset for innovative urban sustainability efforts. 


  • PhD, Sustainability, Arizona State University, 2012
  • BA, American Studies, Carleton College, 2005


Journal Articles


Withycombe Keeler, L., F. Beaudoin, A. Wiek, B. John, A. M. Lerner, R. Beecroft, K. Tamm, A. Seebacher, D. J. Lang, B. Kay and N. Forrest. 2019. Building actor-centric transformative capacity through city-university partnerships. Ambio 48:529-538. DOI: 10.1007/s13280-018-1117-9. (link )


Foley, R. W., A. Wiek and B. Kay. 2017. Nanotechnology development as if people and places matter. NanoEthics 11:243-257. DOI: 10.1007/s11569-017-0300-y. (link )

Foley, R. W., A. Wiek, B. Kay and R. Rushforth. 2017. Ideal and reality of multi-stakeholder collaboration on sustainability problems: a case study on a large-scale industrial contamination in Phoenix, Arizona. Sustainability Science 12:123-136. DOI: 10.1007/s11625-016-0393-1. (link )

Luederitz, C., N. Schapke, A. Wiek, D. J. Lang, M. Bergmann, J. J. Bos, S. Burch, A. Davies, J. Evans, A. Konig, M. A. Farrelly, N. Forrest, N. Frantzeskaki, R. B. Gibson, B. Kay, D. Loorbach, K. McCormick, O. Parodi, F. Rauschmayer, U. Schneiderwind, P. J. Vergrag, H. von Wehrden and F. R. Westley. 2017. Learning through evaluation – A tentative evaluative scheme for sustainability transition experiments. Journal of Cleaner Production 169(Dec):61-76. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.09.005. (link )

Withycombe Keeler, L., A. Gabriele, B. P. Kay and A. Wiek. 2017. Future shocks and city resilience: Building organizational capacity for resilience and sustainability through game play and ways of thinking. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 10(5):282-292. DOI: 10.1089/sus.2017.0011. (link )


Bernstein, M. J., A. Wiek, K. Brundiers, K. Pearson, A. Garinger, B. Kay and A. Golub. 2016. Mitigating urban sprawl effects: A collaborative tree and shade intervention in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability 21(4):414-431. DOI: 10.1080/13549839.2014.965672. (link )

Foley, R. W., A. Wiek, B. Kay and R. Rushforth. 2016. Ideal and reality of multi-stakeholder collaboration on sustainability problems: a case study on a large-scale industrial contamination in Phoenix, Arizona. Sustainability Science 1-14.


Cohen, M., A. Wiek, B. Kay and J. Harlow. 2015. Aligning public participation to stakeholders' sustainability literacy -- a case study on sustainable urban development in Phoenix, Arizona. Sustainability 7(7):8709-8728. DOI: 10.3390/su7078709. (link )

Wiek, A. and B. Kay. 2015. Learning while transforming: Solution-oriented learning for urban sustainability in Phoenix, Arizona. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 16(Oct):29-36. DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2015.07.001. (link )


Brundiers, K., A. Wiek and B. Kay. 2013. The role of transacademic interface managers in transformational sustainability research and education. Sustainability 5(11):4614-4636. DOI: 10.3390/su5114614. (link )


In Press

Brundiers, K., B. Kay and T. Foucrier. Professional Skills for Sustainability – An Introduction to Communication, Teamwork, Project Management, Stakeholder Engagement, Self-Management, and Continuous Learning. School of Sustainability. Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.

Book Chapters


Wiek, A., B. Kay and N. Forrest. 2017. 14. Worth the trouble? An evaluation scheme for urban sustainability transition labs (USTL) and application to the USTL in Phoenix, Arizona. Pp. 227-256 In: Frantzeskaki, N., V. Castan Broto, L. Coenen and D. Loorbach eds., Urban Sustainability Transitions. Routledge. ISBN: 9780415784184.

Wiek, A., C. Kuzdas, R. W. Foley, L. Withycombe Keeler, N. Forrest and B. Kay. 2017. Sustainability assessments designed for multiple functions: Five cases about water resources, nanotechnologies and communities. Pp. 127-145 In: Gibson, R. ed., Sustainability Assessment: Applications and Opportunities. Routledge. ISBN: 978-1138802742.


Wiek, A., M. J. Bernstein, R. W. Foley, M. C. Cohen, N. Forrest, C. Kuzdas, B. Kay and L. Withycombe Keeler. 2016. Operationalizing competencies in higher education for sustainable development. Pp. 241-260 In: Barth, M., G. Michelsen, M. Rieckmann and I. Thomas eds., Routledge Handbook of Higher Education for Sustainable Development. Routledge. London and New York. ISBN: 9780415727303.



Lebeiko, L., P. J. Coseo, A. Middel, J. K. Vanos, D. M. Hondula, B. Kay, F. A. Schneider, S. Alkhaled, A. Udupa, J. Labato, L. Kurtz, A. Aldakheelallah and J. Marturano. 2020. Adapting urban infrastructure for local and global climate change: Climate action planning for extreme heat in urban environments. Poster presented at the Twenty-second Annual CAP LTER All Scientists Meeting and Poster Symposium, January 17, 2020, Skysong, Scottsdale, AZ. (link )



Broomall, B., A. Xiong, N. Mandrell, B. Kay and A. Wiek. 2012. Fostering partnerships for a healthy downtown Phoenix. Presentation at the Building Healthy Lifestyles Conference, February 12, 2012, Arizona State University, Tempe.

Foley, R. W., B. Kay, R. Rushforth and A. Wiek. 2012. Can nanotechnology decontaminate water in a morally contested context?. Presentation at the 16-18 May 2012 International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology, Boston, MA.


Wiek, A., L. Withycombe Keeler and B. Kay. 2011. Operationalizing urban sustainability transitions with transformative governance: Results from participatory sustainability transition planning. Presented June 14, 2011 at The Second International Conference on Sustainability Transitions, June 13-15, 2011, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.

Wiek, A., L. Withycombe Keeler and B. Kay. 2011. Sustainability transition research in a city of the "American Way of Life". Presentation at the 2nd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions (IST2011), June 14, 2011, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.


Chen, R., J. Harlow, B. Kay, R. Moudry and T. Schwarz. 2010. Tools for temporary interventions. Presentation at the 2010 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference, 13 October 2010, Cleveland, OH. (link )

Wiek, A., C. Johnson, B. Kay and J. Zonn. 2010. Transition strategies for urban sustainability. Presentation at the American Planning Association, Arizona Chapter, State Planning Conference, November 3-5, 2010, Phoenix, Arizona.


Johnson, E., J. Harlow, B. Kay, C. Tetreault, R. Hendrix, L. Pelligrino and B. Richards. 2009. Sustainability in action: Movement methods. Presentation at the Understanding Sustainability: Perspectives from the Humanities, 14-16 May 2009, Portland State University, Portland, OR.