The Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) was established in 2004 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to advance scientific understanding of environmental decision making under conditions of uncertainty. Bolstered by Decision Making Under Uncertainty (DMUU) collaborative groups funding from the NSF, "DCDC II" was launched in October 2010 and is poised to expand its already-extensive research agenda, further engage the policy community, and forge stronger ties between knowledge and action. In this second phase of DCDC funding, we will develop fundamental knowledge about decision making from three interdisciplinary perspectives: climatic uncertainties, urban-system dynamics, and adaptation decisions. Simulation modeling and boundary organization studies are cross-cutting themes and will be core DCDC activities.
To date, DCDC has produced: (1) a critical mass of basic research, including over 200 articles, books, and book chapters (65 of these appearing to date in 2010-2011); (2) WaterSim, a dynamic water-simulation model that serves as an important basis for stakeholder engagement and decision support, a point of articulation for interdisciplinary research, and an experimental setting to study decision making under uncertainty; (3) an extensive network of relationships with regional water managers and resource decision makers; (4) productive partnerships with research and education efforts affiliated with Arizona State University's Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute for Sustainability, including the Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) project, the Decision Theater, and the School of Sustainability; and (5) a significant and growing set of comparative and collaborative partnerships linking our Phoenix-based case study to water sustainability and urban climate adaptation efforts nationally and internationally. As our mission has evolved to focus not only on water sustainability but also urban climate adaptation, DCDC researchers now work to develop and implement decision-support processes for environmental decision making. Through an integrated approach to research and education, DCDC trains a new generation of scientists who work successfully at the boundaries of science and policy. DCDC II continues to build bridges between science and policy to foster local-to-global sustainability solutions.
National Science Foundation