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Download a description of our program

Upcoming Events

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

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

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

Urban Environmental Sustainability in the Developing World

The Island Hotel Newport Beach
690 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA
February 5-7, 2006


  Project Information  

Project Scope
Meetings and Events
Site Visits
Steering Committee

Project Scope

The goal of the Pathways to Urban Sustainability Initiative is to enhance the capacity of city leaders in developing countries to use science and technology to achieve their economic development goals while also protecting critical environmental resources and improving the health and livelihoods of their residents. Over the past year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine launched this ambitious program through on-the-ground planning activities in China, South Africa, Tanzania and Mexico. We are currently raising funds for the next phase of the initiative, which will include an international symposium to examine the major trends, challenges, and potential paths forward to urban sustainability in developing world cities, and a set of on-the-ground projects in China to be carried out in partnership with the Chinese Academies of Science and Engineering and other leading Chinese science and technology institutions.

The next thirty years will be critical to Earth's future. Two billion additional people will be added to the world's population and absorbed into cities and towns of developing countries. The need to find a balance among economic growth, public health, and protecting and managing the planet's natural resources is obvious. The proposed program will demonstrate how scientific knowledge and technology can be used to help guide economic growth in developing countries in ways that will protect public health and the Earth's critical environmental and natural resources.

For more information about the Pathways to Urban Sustainability Initiative, please contact Derek Vollmer at

meetings & Events

Agenda, February 2006 (PDF,141 KB)

Participants List
Workshop Participants (PDF,89 KB)

Workshop Presentations

Proposed Urban Environmental Sustainability Initiative
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine

Moving Towards Sustainable Cities
Jeremy Harris, Mayor of Honolulu (ret.)

Urban Environmental Sustainability: Background, Commitments, and Intervention Points
Yue-man Yeung, Chinese University of Hong Kong

UC Berkeley Institute of the Environment overview
Dan Kammen, Co-Director

Challenges to and Opportunities for Urban Sustainability in China
Qian Yi, Tsinghua University

Air Quality Management Innovations
Ron Cohen, UC Berkeley

Challenges to Urban Sustainability:Perspectives from Mexico
Luis Siqueiros, Harvard University

Urban Transportation Sustainability
Samer Madanat, UC Berkeley

South Africa's Urban Sustainability Challenge
Mark Swilling, University of Stellenbosch


Site visits

Site Visits to China, South Africa and Mexico (PDF,199 KB)


Steering committee

Steering Committee on Urban Environmental Sustainability Initiative

  • Lawrence T. Papay (Chair)
    Science Applications International Corporation (retired), LaJolla, California
  • Xuemei Bai
    Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Kanagawa, Japan
  • Ellen Brennan-Galvin
    Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
  • Tim Campbell
    World Bank Institute, Washington, DC
  • Glen Daigger
    CH2M Hill, Inc., Englewood, Colorado
  • Ralph Gakenheimer
    MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Simon Gonzalez
    Institute of Engineering, Ciudad University, Mexico, D.F
  • Susan Hanson
    Clark University, Worchester, Massachusetts
  • Jeremy Harris
    Former Mayor of Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Kai Lee
    Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts
  • Akin Mabogunje
    Development Policy Centre, Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Gordon McGranahan
    IIED, London, United Kingdom
  • Todd Mitchell
    Houston Advanced Research Center, The Woodlands, Texas
  • Chuck Pill
    Constella/Futures Group International, Washington, DC
  • Chuck Redman
    Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
  • Richard Stren
    University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
  • Tom Wilbanks
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • Yueman Yeung
    Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Biographical Information (PDF,131 KB)


  • Barney Cohen, Director, Committee on Population ( [overall co-leader and lead for South Africa mission]
  • Gregory Symmes, Deputy Executive Director, Division on Earth and Life Studies ( [overall co-leader]
  • Pat Koshel, Senior Program Officer, S&T for Sustainability Program (
  • John Boright, Deputy Executive Director, Policy and Global Affairs Division (
  • Will Logan, Senior Program Officer, Water Science and Technology Board ( [lead for Mexico mission]
  • Andy Lemer, Senior Program Officer, Transportation Research Board (; 202-334-3972
  • Derek Vollmer, Program Associate, S&T for Sustainability Program (; 202-334-1679