Environmental Social Science


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Aerial view of streets

Since its establishment at Arizona State University in 2006, the International Project Office (IPO) of the Urbanization and Global Environmental Change (UGEC) project has coordinated and facilitated new knowledge generation and dissemination on urban areas and their connections to global environmental change – at the intersection of social and natural sciences. Continuing and enhancing this relationship will allow the already dynamic IPO to further promote the generation of new UGEC research, synthesize findings and connect science to policy.

Students in classroom

Sustainable Schools teams up faculty and graduate-student researchers from ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and School of Sustainability with high-school teachers, students and administrators in a project designed to address the challenge of becoming a “sustainable" school.

Verde River

This research focuses on environmental conflict over water resources in the Central Highlands of Arizona. The study area is a rapidly growing groundwater dependent region with declining water resources. 

Downtown Phoenix skyline

The Phoenix Area Social Survey (PASS) is an interdisciplinary research collaboration among researchers at Arizona State University. It is a household survey of residents in selected neighborhoods of the Phoenix metropolitan area, where they are asked for their opinions about quality of life and the condition of the natural environment in their neighborhoods and in the region.


This project is a continuation of a multi-year series of environmental justice projects on the Phoenix metropolitan area. We are examining the changing pattern of toxic emissions from TRI facilities and how reductions in emissions affect the spatial patterns of environmental injustice in the city.

Lizard with cactus

Neighborhood Ecosystems is an interdisciplinary study of the impact of urbanization on human-ecological-climate interactions. The site for the study is Phoenix, AZ, a rapidly growing metropolitan region that is steadily converting agricultural and desert land into residential neighborhoods.

Satellite view of hurricane

Arizona State University will develop a modeling environment that couples the outcome of sophisticated simulations of weather conditions for hurricanes with an agent-based model of social actors who pursue, process and transmit information.

Granite Reef Dam

This project, initiated in fall 2007, is developing a geographic vulnerability analysis of water resources in the Phoenix AMA under conditions of climate change. We are developing a spatially explicit analysis of projected effects of global climate change on surface water resources in the Phoenix area in light of anticipated population growth and water portfolios of regional water providers.

Mesa Verde National Park

This overview and assessment study will identify and document ethnographic resources within and associated with Mesa Verde National Park and Yucca House National Monument.

Baltimore Ecosystem Study

The Baltimore Ecosystem Study, begun in 1997, is a Long-Term Ecological Research project designed to understand the controls on urban system structure and function, and how structure and function of the urban ecosystem affect one another.