Patricia Gober

photo of Patricia Gober

Interim Director
(480) 727-5996
COOR 5530


Patricia Gober is the founding co-Director of the National Science Foundation’s Decision Center for a Desert City which studies water management decisions in the face of growing climatic uncertainty in Greater Phoenix. She is a past President of the Association of American Geographers, former member of the Population Reference Bureau’s Board of Trustees and the Science Advisory Board of NOAA, and former Chair of the College Board’s Advanced Placement Human Geography Committee. She also served on the National Research Council’s Committee on Geographical Sciences.

Her most recent book, Metropolitan Phoenix: Place Making and Community Building in the Desert, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2006.

She holds an honorary doctorate of science from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was awarded the Prince Sultan Abdulaziz International Price for Water in November, 2008. She received the ASU's Faculty Research Achievement Award in 2009 and the AAG's Presidential Achievement Award in 2011.

Research Interests

Water resources management, decision making under uncertainty, urban climate adaptation

Current Research Activities

Gober's current research centers on issues of water management and environmental change in metropolitan Phoenix and Western Canada. She is especially interested in the use of science and visualization for real-world decision-making. Her interests include: water resources management, climate- and water-smart urban design, sustainability science, decision making under uncertainty, climate change modeling and assessment.

Additional Affiliation(s)

Emeritus Professor, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan
Senior Personnel, Decision Center for a Desert City, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University
Policy Research Associate, Morrison Institute for Public Policy, Arizona State University
Senior Sustainability Scientist, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University

Awards and Honors

2011 - AAG Presidential Achievement Award
2009 - Faculty Research Achievement Award, ASU Alumni Association
2009 - Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
2006-2008 - Prince Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, Water Resources Management and Protection (3rd Award)
2007 - President's Medal for Social Embeddedness, New American City: Artists Look Forward, Arizona State University
1998 - Honorary Doctorate of Science, Carthage College, Kenosha, WI
1977 - Outstanding Young Alumni, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater, WI

Selected Publications


Patricia Gober (2006) Metropolitan Phoenix: Place Making and Community Building in the Desert.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 233 pp.

Michael Kuby, John Harner, and Patricia Gober (2013) Human Geography in Action (Sixth Edition). New York: Wiley, 560 pp.


Howard S. Wheater and Patricia Gober (2015) Water Security and the science agenda. Water Resources Research, forthcoming.

Patricia Gober and Howard S. Wheater (2015) Debates-Perspectives on Socio-Hydrology: Modeling flood risk as a public policy problem. Water Resources Research, 51: DOI:10.1002/2015WR016945.

Chuang, Wen-Ching, and Patricia Gober (2015) Predicting Hospitalization for Heat-Related Illness at the Census Tract Level: Accuracy of a Generic Heat Vulnerability Index in Phoenix, Arizona (USA). Environmental Health Perspectives, DOI:10.1289/ehp.1307868.

Seung-Jae Lee, Heejun Chang, and Patricia Gober (2015) Space and Time Dynamics of Urban Water Demand in Portland, Oregon and Phoenix, Arizona. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment, DOI: 10.1007/s00477-014-1015-z.

Elmira Hassanzadeh, Amin Elshorbagy, Howard S. Wheater, and Patricia Gober (2014) Managing water in complex systems: An integrated water resources model for Saskatchewan, Canada. Environmental Modelling & Software, 58: 12-26.

Patricia Gober, Graham E. Strickert, Douglas A. Clark, Kwok P. Chun, Diana Payton, and Kristin Bruce (2014) Divergent perspectives on water security: Bridging the policy debate. The Professional Geographer, DOI: 10.1080/00330124.2014.883960.

Chuang, Wen-Ching, Patricia Gober, Winston T. L. Chow, and Jay Golden (2013) Sensitivity to heat: A comparative study of Phoenix, Arizona and Chicago, Illinois (2003-2006). Urban Climate, 5: 1-18.

Patricia Gober and Howard S. Wheater (2014) Socio-hydrology and the science-policy interface: A case study of the Saskatchewan River Basin. Hydrology and Earth System Science, 18: 1423-1422.

Howard Wheater and Patricia Gober (2013) Water security in the Canadian prairies: science and management challenges. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 371: 20120409.

Elizabeth A. Wentz, Angela J. Wills, Won Kyung Kim, Soe W. Myint, Patricia Gober, and Robert C. Balling, Jr. (2013) Factors influencing water consumption in multifamily housing in Tempe Arizona. Professional Geographer,

Courses Taught

Introduction to Human Geography
Quantitative Methods in Geography
Geography of Phoenix, Human Migration
Social Science of Climate Change


1975 - Ph.D. (Geography) The Ohio State University
1972 - M.A. (Geography) The Ohio State University
1970 - B.S. (Geography) University of Wisconsin, Whitewater