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The School of the Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning builds on rich geographical research traditions of human-environment relationships, landschaft, landscape morphology and vulnerability/natural hazards research to address sustainability problems in political ecology, water resources management, and land change science. Specific research projects cover the gamut of sustainability science, including tradeoffs between environmental services and human wellbeing with landscape change, strategies for reducing the climate footprint of arid land cities, public perceptions of climate adaptation policies, cultural inertia and resilience, vulnerability to environmental perturbations, and decision making under uncertainty for water resources management. Faculty projects focus on the the Southwest US, but also include work in other regions of the United States and in Mexico and Asia. While faculty in the school bring skills in spatial analysis, GIS, and remote sensing, this theme integrates qualitative and quantitative methods to understand complex and dynamic human-natural coupled systems.
The activities of Sustainable Science faculty represent the interests of both geographers and planners—linking spatial analysis to planning practice. Geographers and planners partner in areas of urban heat island mitigation, sustainable urban design, and sustainable transportation systems. Faculty who work in this area are affiliated with the Decision Center for a Desert City, the School of Sustainability, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, School of Human Evolution and Social Change and School of Life Sciences.
Dorn, professor of geography, is also co-coordinator of the Arizona Geographic Alliance, a K-12 outreach program to promote geographic education in Arizona.
Hondula, assistant professor and member of the Urban Climate Research Center, researches the societal impacts of weather and climate, including efforts to learn how individuals experience and cope with extreme heat.
Kelli Larson, a professor of geography and sustainability, focuses her work on human-environment interactions and the implications for water governance and urban sustainability.
McHugh is a cultural geographer with research interests in geographical thought & theory, geohumanities, post-phenomenology, and more-than-human geographies .
Meerow combines the disciplines of geography and urban planning as she researches how to make cities more resilient in the face of climate change as well as other social and environmental hazards.
Pijawka's research focuses on sustainable planning and design, disaster management and recovery, environmental justice, and Native American community planning.
Sailor's work focuses on the intersection of climate with the built environment. He currently serves on the American Meteorological Society's Board on the Urban Environment and International Association for Urban Climate.
Turner studies human-environment relationships from the ancient Maya to contemporary sustainability science. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, among other honors.
Her research interests include: shape and pattern analysis, geographic information science, applications of GIS to urban environment, urban remote sensing and water resource management.
Werth's work engages in the monitoring, modeling and forecasting the Earth's water mass budget variations using remote sensing data.