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March 19, 2020

UREx Podcast LogoIn this episode, we explore the field of urban ecology and the challenges of doing social-ecological research. Stephen Elser (@stephen_elser) interviews Dr. Dan Childers, a professor at Arizona State University and director of the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) program. Dan emphasizes how important it is to be willing to learn the language and approaches of other disciplines on order to do better urban ecological research. But urban ecology didn’t always have an interdisciplinary approach, and the social aspects of cities were frequently ignored. Dan describes what he calls the “prepositional journey” from an ecology *in* cities to an ecology *of* cities to an ecology *for* cities. He discusses what some of the major challenges are in pursuing urban sustainability and what CAP LTER (@caplter) is doing to address those challenges in order to create more positive futures for the city of Phoenix.

Stephen wrote a haiku inspired by this conversation with Dr. Childers.

No more Birkenstocks.
Go beyond your field – listen.
Improve our cities.

Learn more about CAP LTER at their website:

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If you have questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes, e-mail us at or find us on Twitter @FutureCitiesPod. Learn more about the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN) at