Special Announcement from UGEC Co-Chairs Karen Seto and Roberto Sanchez-Rodriguez

Dear UGEC community,

It has been over ten years since the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) convened a scoping meeting to discuss the idea of creating a new international science project on cities and urbanization. At that time, the science of urbanization and global change was just emerging, and IHDP recognized an opportunity to develop a new science project that would frame, catalyze, and coordinate research in this area. Over three years, a Science Plan was written, reviewed and published, a Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) appointed and convened, an International Project Office (IPO) inaugurated and staffed, and the Urbanization and Global Environmental Change Project, or UGEC, officially launched in 2006.

UGEC is now a vibrant international network of scholars and practitioners working at the intersection of urbanization and global environmental change. We have significantly improved and expanded knowledge of the key role of these interactions to better understand the dynamic and complex challenges our societies face in the 21st century. Many in our network have been instrumental in shaping domestic and international policy and science agendas, from the IPCC 5th Assessment Report to a standalone Urban Sustainable Development Goal. New areas of research have emerged and today, this community of scholars extends well beyond the original international science project. We should be proud of the role the UGEC community has played in these contributions.

We have some important news to share with you today, which is that our current cycle of funding through the National Science Foundation has ended, and the UGEC International Project Office, located within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, will be closing at the end of this month, January 2017. Although UGEC is sunsetting, urban issues are even more important on the global policy stage. Now, more than ever, we need to produce actionable knowledge and accelerate the uptake of urban scholarship into decision-making

We want to first thank all of you for your support and engagement in UGEC research and activities over the last decade. It has been a pleasure to be part of this shared learning experience. We are currently exploring alternatives to keep our network functioning, and to transition into a new phase. UGEC SSC member Patricia Romero-Lankao is leading this transition and we will keep you informed of possible future activities. After January, the UGEC website (ugec.org) will remain active, but will no longer updated with new material.  Additionally, we are exploring ways in which we can continue the UGEC Viewpoints blog as it has been such a wonderful venue for showcasing the work of this community.

We are also happy to report that Corrie Griffith, Executive Officer, and Mark Watkins, Project Coordinator, are both transitioning into new positions within the Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU. Mark is now Program Manager for the Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Project and Corrie will be working as Program Manager with the Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes. Their email addresses will remain the same.  While we are disappointed to see them leave our wonderful project, we are happy they have secured their affiliation with ASU and wish them success in these new opportunities.

Thank you for all your efforts and friendship over the last decade. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors and hope our paths cross again in the near future.

Roberto Sánchez-Rodríguez
UGEC Co-Chair
El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Mexico
University of California, Riverside, USA


Karen Seto
UGEC Co-Chair
Yale University, USA