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Upcoming Events

View a list of Sustainability-related meetings at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Recent Events

The Network for Emerging Leaders in Sustainability (NELS)
June 13, 2017, Washington, DC


Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability

June 12, 2017, Washington, DC


Sustainability at the National Academies

May 31, 2017, Washington, DC


Meeting 4: Housing, Health, and Homelessness: Evaluating the Evidence

January 26-27, 2017, Washington, DC


Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Pathways to Urban Sustainability
Challenges and Opportunities 

Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities for the United StatesPathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities for the United States (2016)
This new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine offers a road map and recommendations to help U.S. cities work toward sustainability, measurably improving their residents’ economic, social, and environmental well-being. The report recommends that every U.S. city develop a sustainability plan that not only accounts for its own unique characteristics but also adapts strategies that have led to measurable improvements in other cities with similar economic, environmental, and social contexts.


  Project Information  

Project Scope
Meetings and Events
Reports
Members
Sponsors


Project Scope

An ad hoc committee will conduct a study by using examples from metropolitan regions to understand how sustainability practices could contribute to the development, growth and regeneration of major metropolitan regions in the United States. The study will provide a paradigm that incorporates the social, economic, and environmental systems that exist in metropolitan regions that are critical in the transition to sustainable metropolitan regions. This paradigm could then serve as a blueprint for other regions with similar barriers to and opportunities for sustainable development and redevelopment. As part of its evidence-gathering process, the committee will organize a series of public data-gathering meetings in different metropolitan regions to examine issues relating to urban sustainability. Likely topics to be addressed include: path dependencies, biophysical constraints, energy, natural resource management, climate adaptation, economic development, hazard mitigation, public health, social equity, and land use considerations. The committee will develop an agenda for each meeting in consultation with regional stakeholders (e.g. academia, industry, city/county governments), so that the invited presentations and discussions can reflect place-based knowledge and approaches to sustainability.

The committee will focus on:

  • How national, regional, and local actors are approaching sustainability, and specifically, how they are maximizing benefits and managing tradeoffs among social, environmental, and economic objectives;
  • How stakeholders (e.g. industry, city/county governments, universities, public groups) can better integrate science, technology, and research into catalyzing and supporting sustainability initiatives;
  • The commonalities, strengths, and gaps in knowledge among rating systems that assess the sustainability of metropolitan regions; and 
  • A paradigm that would incorporate the critical systems needed for sustainable development in metropolitan regions.

In carrying out this charge and preparing its report with findings and recommendations, the study committee will:

  • Describe and assess the linkages among research and development, hard and soft infrastructure, and innovative technology for sustainability in metropolitan regions;
  • Describe the countervailing factors that inhibit or reduce regional sustainability and resilience and identify steps that can be taken to reverse or mitigate the factors;
  • Describe and assess the future economic drivers, as well as the assets essential to and barriers that hinder sustainable development and redevelopment; and
  • Examine how federal, state and local agency and private sector efforts and partnerships can complement/leverage the efforts of key stakeholders and assess of the role of public and private initiatives that may serve as a model for moving forward.


Meetings & Events

Meeting 1: Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities
February 12-13, 2015
Keck Center of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
500 Fifth Street NW
Washington, DC

Meeting 2: Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities
April 29-30, 2015
Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA 90802

Meeting 3: Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities
July 28-29, 2015
Marriott Chattanooga Downtown
Chattanooga, TN 37402

Meeting 4: Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities
October 1-2, 2015
Keck Center of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth Street NW
Washington, DC

Meeting 5: Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities
November 30-December 1, 2015
Keck Center of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth Street NW
Washington, DC
 

Reports

Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities for the United StatesPathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities for the United States (2016)
This new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine offers a road map and recommendations to help U.S. cities work toward sustainability, measurably improving their residents’ economic, social, and environmental well-being. The report draws upon lessons learned from nine cities’ efforts to improve sustainability – Los Angeles; New York City; Vancouver, B.C.; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Grand Rapids and Flint, Michigan. The cities were chosen to span a range of sizes, regions, histories, and economies.





Members

  • Linda Katehi (NAE)  (Chair)
    Chancellor, University of California, Davis
  • Charles Branas
    University of Pennsylvania
  • Marilyn A. Brown
    Georgia Institute of Technology
  • John Day
    Louisiana State University
  • Paulo Ferrao 
    University of Lisbon
  • Susan Hanson (NAS)
    Clark University 
  • Chris Hendrickson (NAE)
    Carnegie Mellon University 
  • Suzanne Morse Moomaw
    University of Virginia
  • Amanda Pitre-Hayes 
    Vancouver Public Library 
  • Karen Seto
    Yale University
  • Ernest Tollerson
    Hudson River Foundation 
  • Rae Zimmerman
    New York University
Biographies of committee members are provided on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine's Current Projects System site.


Sponsors

The project is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.