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  • D. Pataki

This blog is moving to the hottest and driest major city in America

By some measures, anyway.


I've written several posts about greenspace-based solutions for urban heat and water scarcity, and I've visited some scorchingly hot and drought-prone urban areas in the last few years. Salt Lake City, my current home, is no stranger to either heat or drought.


But the Phoenix metropolitan area is on a whole other level. The average rainfall is less than 8 inches (20 cm) a year, and in 2020 there were 120 days above 100oF (38oC). Last month the city reached a record breaking temperature of 118oF (48oC). By some measures, it's the hottest major city in the United States.


Arizona State University (ASU), located in the Phoenix area, is well known to urban ecologists as a global center of research in the ecological dynamics of cities. In fact, the whole area around Central Arizona and Phoenix was designated as a Long-Term Ecological Research site by the National Science Foundation. As a university, ASU has prioritized sustainability as one its primary missions, pledging to co-develop solutions to the social, technical, cultural and environmental issues facing 21st century Arizona to ensure sustainability and resilience.


In 2006, ASU created the first comprehensive degree granting School of Sustainability in the U.S., founded with a vision of empowering transformation for a thriving, sustainable world.


I'm so thrilled to share that beginning on October 1, I will be the new Director of the ASU School of Sustainability, and will be helping support and grow new and existing degree programs, research, discovery, and engagement in sustainability scholarship and practice.


Stay tuned for news and information about advances in urban greening science from the many researchers at ASU developing solutions to address urban climate, water sustainability, human health, renewable energy, community engagement, and resilience.