Category Archives: blog

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 ( 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

Call for Submissions: Visualizing Cities at Habitat III

highline sideIn October 2016, 40,000+ people will meet in Quito, Ecuador for the largest cities summit in United Nations history – Habitat III. Three institutions (ICSU, The Future Earth Media Lab, FH-Potsdam) are launching an open call for visualizations to find new ways of exploring cities and sustainable futures. Submissions including data visualization, film, virtual/augmented reality, animation and infographics will be featured on our web platform and the best will be showcased during Habitat III.

Submission Deadline: August 31, 2016

Click here for more information

New Book on Urban Landscape Ecology


Urban Landscape Ecology: Science, policy and practice
Edited by Robert A. Francis, James D.A. Millington, and Michael A. Chadwick

This book brings together examples of research at the cutting edge of urban landscape ecology across multiple contexts that investigate the state, maintenance and restoration of healthy and functional natural environments across urban and peri-urban landscapes. An explicit focus is on urban landscapes in contrast to other books which have considered urban ecosystems and ecology without specific focus on spatial connections. It integrates research and perspectives from across academia, public and private practitioners of urban conservation, planning and design. It provides a much needed summary of current thinking on how urban landscapes can provide the foundation of sustained economic growth, prospering communities and personal well-being.

Click here to learn more

UGEC Channel on YouTube

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UGEC is now on YouTube!  Our channel has playlists for our 2010 and 2014 conference plenary sessions, as well as lectures, talks, and discussions featuring members of our Scientific Steering Committee, Project Associates, and others. You can also find the video of our recent UGEC Symposium held at Arizona State University in February 2016.

If you would like to add any videos to our UGEC Network playlist, email links to UGEC Project Coordinator Mark Watkins

Click here to visit the UGEC YouTube Channel


Call for Abstracts: Special Issue on Sustainable Land Management

Special Issue of Environmental Research Letters: “Focus on Cross-scale Feedbacks in Sustainable Land Management”

Guest Editors:

Ralf Seppelt Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
Peter Verburg VU Amsterdam
Albert Norström Stockholm Resilience Centre
Wolfgang Cramer Mediterranean Institute for Biodiversity and Ecology
Tomas Vaclavik Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research and Palacky University Olomouc

Deadline: November 30, 2016

Click here for more information

Postdoctoral Fellowship with UREx SRN

URExSRNPostdoctoral Fellowship (Transitions and Implementation) in Urban Resilience to Weather-related Extreme Events

Location: Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA
Closes: May 31, 2016 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time (GMT-4 hours)

Description: Under the supervision of Tischa A. Muñoz-Erickson, Clark Miller, and Charles Redman, the Transitions and Implementation Postdoctoral Fellow will work with the UREx SRN Transitions and Implementation Working Group to support research and practice on urban transitions in nine network cities.

Click here to learn more

Position available in Human Geography at University of Regina

Geography & Environmental Studies – Lecturer (Human Geography)
University of Regina

Location: Saskatchewan

The Department of Geography & Environmental Studies in the Faculty of Arts invites applications for a one-year term appointment at the level of Lecturer. Anticipated date of commencement is 1 July 2016 with an end date of 30 June 2017.

Review of applications will begin on 15 May 2016 and will continue until the position is filled. Continue reading

Viewpoints: The informal as the “city” in urban Africa: Experience from Kampala

Shuaib Lwasa
Makerere University, Uganda

shutterstock_129730406 (1)Cities in developing countries have grappled with spatial planning, infrastructure, housing and, more recently, fragmented and “runaway” development. Spatial plans largely remain at a strategic level and less at the neighborhood scale, where there is a disjuncture between the envisioned urban layout and the actual development (Lwasa, 2013). The coupling of these multiple challenges has rendered planning a failure, resulting in a continued organic development of “informal” cities with diverse infrastructure and services that contrast with centralized systems used as the benchmark for measuring progress of a formal city. In this article, I postulate that the “informal city” is actually the city. Continue reading

Call for Abstracts: N-AERUS Conference

The 17th annual Network-Association of European Researchers on Urbanization in the South (N-AERUS) Conference: “Governing, Planning and Managing the City in an Uncertain World. Comparative Perspectives on Everyday Practices”, will take place at the School of Public Administration, University of Gothenburg, Sweden from 17-19 November, 2016.

This conference strives to gather scholars and practitioners interested in exploring the everyday practices of both those who are involved in the governance, planning and management of cities, and those who are building the city from below. In the current context of political, financial, environmental, social and economic uncertainty, the conference also opens up for discussions revolving around issues of mobility, migration, segregation and integration in both global North and global South cities. Continue reading