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Members of UREx SRN receive ecology award

August 15, 2019

UREx and SRn members accepting Award from the Ecological Society of AmericaUrban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN) were recipients of an award from the Ecological Society of America.

Winners of the award are recognized for their “outstanding contributions to ecology in new discoveries, teaching, sustainability, diversity, and lifelong commitment to the profession,” according to an ESA announcement.

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Sustainability scientist Nancy Grimm wins fellowship

March 8, 2019

Nancy Grimm working in the fieldSenior Sustainability Scientist Nancy Grimm, the Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Ecology in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, was named a 2019 Fellow of the Society of Freshwater Science in honor of her outstanding contributions to stream and watershed science.

According to Grimm's biography on the Society of Freshwater Science fellows site, "Grimm studies urban and stream ecosystems. Initially working on stream nitrogen dynamics, she expanded out and down to riparian and hyporheic zones and then abruptly became an urban ecologist."

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Science Outside the Lab summer program convenes in nation's capital

View Source | August 1, 2018

Several students stand under a globeWho does the United States public trust to help in its efforts to become more resilient to extreme weather events and climate change? A 2016 Pew Research Center survey revealed that 76 percent of citizens trust scientists “a great deal” or “a fair amount” to act in the public’s best interests, but only 27 percent report the same degrees of trust for their politicians and elected officials. Given these percentages, how does the public feel about the hybrid workers in government: the scientist civil servants staffing the federal agencies run by political appointees?

Since the civilian workforce of the federal government makes up over 99.7 percent of the total staff, leaving very few positions to be filled by political appointment, it turns out that the actual “doing” part of resilience policy and science is largely left to scientist civil servants. Who are these scientist civil servants, then? How do they straddle the line between resilience policy and science? And how does the public feel about what they do?

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Three executive team members author article about rethinking infrastructure

View Source | February 5, 2018

Issues in Science and Technology coverThree of the UREx SRN’s executive team members – Thaddeus MillerMikhail Chester, and Tischa Muñoz-Erickson – authored an article for Issues in Science and Technology.

The United States is currently at an infrastructural crossroads and the path taken at these crossroads will be determined by how cities, states, regions, and the federal government navigate key issues.  The article also details failures in history and how most failures often resulted from an overconfidence in the ability to tightly control complex systems.

UREx researchers highlighted on PECS II blog

View Source | November 14, 2017

PECS II ImageRecently, several researchers from the UREx SRN attended the Program on Ecosystem Change and Society II (PECS) Conference in Oaxaca, Mexico where they detailed the importance of green infrastructure.  UREx researchers mentioned are Nancy Grimm, Elizabeth Cook, Timon McPhearson, Hallie Eakin, David Iwaniec, and Marta Berbés-Blázquez. The PECS II blog highlights the social-ecological-technological systems (SETS) framework that the UREx uses and references Elizabeth Cook’s talk to illustrate the concept.

Have you ever considered that not all shade is created equally?  According to Cook of the UREx SRN, both trees and tall buildings provide shade; however, the shade from buildings continually casting trees into shadows may reduce the amount of photosynthesis and carbon intake. This is one example of why UREx researchers have decided to follow a SETS framework.

The Conversation features article by the Knowledge Systems Innovation Task Force

View Source | November 13, 2017

PECS II ImageThree UREx SRN researchers of the Knowledge Systems Innovation Group – Clark Miller, Thaddeus Miller, and Tischa Muñoz-Erickson – recently authored an article featured on The Conversation.

The article comes at a time when weather disasters have been inundating our news feeds. At the forefront of most articles is mention of growing financial losses and outdated infrastructure.

In the article, Clark Miller, Thaddeus Miller, and Tischa Muñoz-Erickson explain the implications of cities not updating their knowledge systems – “the creative new sets of tools and practices for collecting, analyzing and applying data to solving problems.”

UREx partners with Georgia State University

View Source | October 26, 2017

GSU Urban Studies InstituteThe UREx SRN has added Georgia State University’s Urban Studies Institute (USI) to its network, bringing the total number of partnering institutions to seventeen.

USI and UREx have similar missions and are looking forward to becoming partners in building resilient, sustainable, and equitable cities.  David Iwaniec, a senior sustainability scientist with the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and now assistant professor at the Urban Studies Institute, will be leading the initiative at GSU.

Executive Team member featured in ProPublica article

View Source | September 13, 2017

ProPublica Hurricane Flooding ImageThaddeus Miller, a UREx SRN Executive Team member and social scientist, is featured in a ProPublica article about climate, resilience, and the role of the government. The article includes underappreciated ideas from engineers, economists, and policy analysts.

There are many ideas on how to become more resilient, but everyone has a different definition of what that means; some follow the modern definition of the word – having the ability to bounce back – while others would prefer to broaden the definition to include greater adaptability and preparedness.

Miller appears to be one of the latter as he describes the importance of a cultural shift, collaboration among different cities, and safe-to-fail designs to remain safe and thriving in our ever-changing climate.

Phoenix public radio takes interest in UREx research

View Source | September 12, 2017

Harvey Flooding 2 Using Harvey Irma as OpportunitiesCharles Redman, co-director of the UREx SRN, was interviewed by Mark Brodie of KJZZ 91.5. They discussed why we need to take Harvey and Irma as opportunities to rebuild our cities differently after such disasters.

It is common for people to revert to old ways when rebuilding their lives, but that could result in a missed opportunity.  Weather events like the ones we have seen in 2017 are likely to reoccur, and we should start planning both short-term and long-term. One idea is to invest in green infrastructure that can mimic or enhance nature and be safe-to-fail. That way when another disaster strikes, instead of resulting in catastrophe, it will only end up as an inconvenience.

Executive Team members present 6 rules for rebuilding after ‘unprecedented’ weather events

View Source | September 7, 2017

The Conversation Image 2The UREx SRN’s Thaddeus Miller, a social scientist, and Mikhail Chester, an engineer, lay out six rules for investing in infrastructure during a time of ‘unprecedented’ weather events.

Considering U.S. infrastructure was recently given a D+ by the American Society for Civil Engineering Infrastructure Report Card and early estimates of the damage from Hurricane Harvey are hovering around $190 million, we need to start looking at how we got to this point and how to proceed moving forward.

Making cities more resilient after Harvey and Irma

View Source | September 7, 2017

ASUNow Building Resilient Cities Image 4The UREx SRN’s Charles Redman talks with ASU Now about how to better prepare for events like Harvey and Irma and how the UREx network is developing tools to make cities more resilient.

One step towards making cities more resilient is to realize we cannot always predict what is to come. Therefore, we should move from fail-safe designs – which assume we know exactly what will happen – to safe-to-fail, which have multiple back-up plans.

Hermosillo's Mayor highlights city’s work with UREx

View Source | August 16, 2017

Hermosillo Mayor Image 4One of the UREx SRN’s network cities – Hermosillo, Mexico – was highlighted by Hermosillo Mayor Manuel Ignacio Maloro Acosta during the first 2017 meeting of the National System of Climate Change.  Maloro Acosta emphasized Hermosillo’s work with the UREx network and said that the city will be one of the most prepared in handling a changing climate.

Charles Redman discusses this week’s heat dome on NPR

View Source | June 22, 2017

WBUR heatwave Image 2Featured on On Point, the UREx SRN’s Charles Redman speaks with host Tom Ashbrook about making Phoenix heat-ready for the years to come, considering equity when designing cities, and doing what is necessary to adapt and survive.

The heat dome that settled over the southwestern U.S. this week illustrates the importance of UREx’s work on heat.  The southwest may not be a stranger to heat, but scientists agree that heatwaves are occurring more frequently and lasting longer. This week alone, 40+ flights have been grounded in Phoenix with the temperature reaching 119 degrees.

Building Climate-Resilient Infrastructure In Phoenix, Across The Country

View Source | September 1, 2016

Building Climate Resilient Infrastructure Image 2Charles Redman, co-director of the UREx SRN, speaks to Mark Brodie, of KJZZ 91.5, about building resilient infrastructure for our changing climate.

Redman talks about how the answers for one city may differ from that of another.  In some cities, green roofs have been a wonderful solution, but they tend to work only in snow country since the buildings are constructed to handle heavier loads.  This clearly does not apply in Phoenix, and it illustrates why we need to approach each city from a different angle.

ASU researchers working to cool Phoenix down

View Source | August 15, 2016

ASU researchers working to cool down phx Image 2Charles Redman, of the UREx SRN, speaks to KTAR news about the network and its plan to make cities, like Phoenix, more resilient towards heat.

Phoenix is known for its sweltering summer days and increasing daytime temperatures; however, its nighttime lows are increasing at an even more rapid pace. Redman explains that at some point we will cross a threshold of what people, plants, and animals can cope with, and it will come down to how we utilize our resources to find a solution.

Beating heat in future takes more than AC

View Source | August 15, 2016

Beating Heat in Future ImageUREx’s Charles Redman, Nancy Grimm, and Paul Coseo contribute to an ASU Now article about solutions to prepare cities, like Phoenix, for an even warmer future and how UREx, a solution-oriented project, plans to make a difference.

Most people in the valley would agree that everyone relies primarily on air conditioning as their line of defense against heat; however, as temperatures increase we need to consider and come up with other methods of mitigating the effects of heat, such as green roofs or heat-resistant asphalt.

Optimism in Cuba

View Source | August 2, 2016

Optimism in Cuba 2Team of researchers marks ASU's first visit to the island nation with scientific cooperation, relationship building and mutual respect.