Pardee Center Hosts Discussion on NSF Sustainable Urban Systems Report

nsfsusmeetingThe Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future recently hosted a presentation and discussion about a new National Science Foundation (NSF) report, titled Sustainable Urban Systems: Articulating a Long-Term Convergence Research Agenda. The report, released in January, is intended to serve as a guide for the direction of research on sustainable urban systems in coming decades in the face of unprecedented urbanization. The report’s lead author, Anu Ramaswami (Professor at the University of Minnesota and Director of the Sustainable Cities Initiative) led the discussion via video conference with 15 Boston University faculty and staff members. 


Prof. Ramaswami gave an overview of the current landscape of research on sustainable urban systems, explaining that studies typically focus on only a few cities and on a single sector (e.g. water, energy, or food). She emphasized the need for “convergence science” to overcome the limitations of urban administrative boundaries and discipline-specific methods, theories, and data. The report also urges researchers to collaborate with city managers, government officials, industry representatives, and other local community members to meet the challenges of a more urbanized world. Prof. Ramaswami characterized the current scale and pace of urban transitions around the world as a “historic window of opportunity” to set the stage for the next generation of urban systems science.

Pardee Center Director Anthony Janetos serves as the chair of the NSF Advisory Committee on Environmental Research and Education (ERE), which oversees the Sustainable Urban Systems Subcommittee that published the report.

Click here to download the report.