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Upcoming Events

Strengthening Sustainability Programs and Curricula at the Undergraduate and Graduate Levels: A Third Workshop
January 24, 2020. Santa Cruz, CA
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to learn more about this project.

Nobel Prize Summit 2020: Our Planet, Our Future

April 29-May 1, 2020. Washington, DC
Click here to learn more about this event. 

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

Recent Events

Urban Sustainability in China and the US
December 16, 2019, Washington, DC

Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability

July 30-31, 2019, Washington, DC

Strengthening Sustainability Program at the Undergraduate and Graduate Levels
February 13, 2019, Washington, DC

Reducing Food Loss and Waste Workshop

October 17, 2018, Washington, DC

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Advancing Urban Sustainability in China and the United States
A National Academies Workshop in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences  
December 16, 2019
National Academy of Sciences
Lecture Room 
2101 Constitution Ave NW 
Washington, DC


An expert committee under the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS) program, in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, will organize a one-day public workshop on urban sustainability in China and the United States, focused on the intersection of urban climate change mitigation and adaptation, urban health, and sustainable transportation, including green infrastructure and urban flooding in both countries. Workshop participants will: 
  • Review the current landscape for sustainable urban development policies and practices in China and the U.S.; 
  • Highlight urban sustainability research activities at a university level in China and the U.S., including the most significant outcomes of research in an interdisciplinary context;
  • Identify research needs and data gaps toward sustainable urbanization; and 
  • Discuss effective mechanisms for strengthening the science-policy interface and adopting best practice to address current and future urban sustainability challenges in both countries.  
Discussions will include those relevant to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 (good health and well-being); 6 (clean water and sanitation); 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure); 11 (sustainable cities and communities); 13 (climate action); and 17 (partnerships for the goals). A Proceedings of a Workshop will be prepared by a designated rapporteur in accordance with institutional guidelines. 



8:30 am       Registration

9:00 am       Welcome from the National Academy of Sciences
                      Marcia McNutt, President, U.S. National Academy of Sciences 

9:10 am       Opening Remarks from the Chinese Academy of Sciences 
                      Yaping Zhang, Vice President, Chinese Academy of Sciences

9:20 am       Overview and Goals of the Workshop 
                      Karen Seto (NAS), Yale University, Committee Chair
                      Franklin Carrero-Martinez, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

9:30 am        Framing Remarks: Current Landscape for Sustainable Urbanization Research and Practice in China and the U.S. 
  • Deb Niemeier (NAE), University of Maryland (U.S. Perspective) 
  • Weiqiang Chen, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Chinese Perspective)
10:00 am      Q&A and Discussion

10:15 am      National Science Foundation’s Interaction with China on Urban Sustainability Research
                        Linda Blevins, National Science Foundation

10:30 am       BREAK

10:45 am       Panel I:  Urban Sustainability Research Activities at a University Level
                        Moderator: Susan Hanson (NAS), Clark University
  • Jianming Cai, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Luis Bettencourt, University of Chicago 
  • Yan Song, University of North Carolina
11:30 am       Q&A and Discussion

11:45 am        LUNCH

12:45 pm        Panel II: Architecture, Urban Design, and Sustainable Cities in China and the U.S.
                          Moderator: Robert Cervero, University of California, Berkeley 
1:45 pm           Q&A and Discussion

2:00 pm           Panel III: Data and Earth Observation for Decision-Making   
                          Moderator: Jiahua Pan, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
  • Chunlin Huang, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, speaking for Zhongchang Sun, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences 
  • Weiqi Zhou, Research Center for Eco-Environment Studies, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Miguel Román, Universities Space Research Association 
2:45 pm          Q&A and Discussion

3:00 pm          BREAK and Preparation for Breakout Sessions

3:20 pm           Breakout Sessions
  1. Circular Economy and Green Infrastructure (Lecture Room)
    Moderator: Yong-Guan Zhu, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Science
  2. People-Centric Design for Sustainable Cities (Board Room)
    Moderator: Frances Colón, Jasperi Consulting
  3. Benefits of Cross-Sectoral Approaches for Urban Sustainability (Room 125)
    Moderator: Chengri Ding, University of Maryland
4:20 pm         Report Back from Breakout Groups 
                        Session Moderators

4:35 pm         The Way Forward:  Future Needs and Opportunities
                        All Participants with Karen Seto (NAS), Yale University, Moderator 

5:00 pm         Summary Remarks
                        Karen Seto (NAS), Yale University, Committee Chair

5:15 pm         Adjourn Workshop

Disclaimer: This website contains unedited verbatim presentations made by meeting participants and is not an official report of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Opinions and statements included in this material are solely those of the individual authors. They have not been verified as accurate, nor do they necessarily represent the views of other meeting participants, the committee, or the Academies.



Biographies of planning committee members are provided on the National Academies Projects & Activities System site.
  • Karen Seto (NAS) (Chair), Frederick C. Hixon Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University
  • Robert Cervero, Professor and Chair, Department of City and Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley
  • Frances Colón, Chief Executive Officer, Jasperi Consulting
  • Susan Hanson (NAS), Distinguished University Professor Emerita, School of Geography, Clark University
  • Jiahua Pan, Director, Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
  • Yong-Guan Zhu, Professor, Biogeochemistry and Environmental Biology; Director General, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences

This project is supported by the National Academies George and Cynthia Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability Science.