Phoenix Arizona

Phoenix Updates its Sustainability Summary Report for the Web by quotes

 Phoenix Updates its Sustainability Summary Report for the Web

The city of Phoenix has updated its Sustainability Summary increasing the total number of sustainability programs from 70 to more than 80. The summary provides brief descriptions of all of the city of Phoenix’s environmental stewardship efforts, some of which have been in place for decades.

“To be successful, Phoenix must be an environmental leader. This summary showcases Phoenix’s numerous environmental programs,” said Councilman Greg Stanton, chair of the Parks, Education, Bio-science and Sustainability Subcommittee. “The depth and variety of programs demonstrates that Phoenix is an environmental leader, both in the Valley and throughout the nation.”

The updated summary includes recent information on the city’s Climate Action efforts and participation in Earth Hour, in addition to new information about Phoenix Recycles, Bag Central Station, the Convention Center solar project and the city’s recently adopted renewable energy goal, the Brownfields Environmental Technician Job Training Program and Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program. Enhancements have been reported in the areas of environmental leadership, land use policies, transportation, air quality, water conservation, heat island, energy conservation, green building, pollution prevention, historic preservation and riparian area conservation.

To view the complete summary online, visit The sustainability brochure also is available online by clicking on the Phoenix: A Sustainable City Brochure link in the left navigation column of the sustainability Web page.



Jonathan Fink, instrumental in building up ASU’s research capacity, takes on a new role in expanding ASU’s sustainability initiatives

TEMPE, Ariz. — As Arizona State University positions itself to make a major move forward as the academic leader in sustainability, Jonathan Fink has been named Julie A. Wrigley director of the Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS), and chief sustainability officer, a newly created position within the Office of the President.
Both appointments are effective July 1.  
Fink, ASU’s vice president for research and economic affairs for the past 10 years, will split his faculty appointment between the School of Sustainability and the School of Earth and Space Exploration. Rick Shangraw, associate vice president for strategic research and director of ASU’s Decision Theater, will take on the role of vice president for research and economic affairs. Charles Redman, the first Wrigley director of GIOS, will continue as director of the new School of Sustainability.
“ASU has two major world class initiatives, one in biodesign, applying nature’s principles to the solution of problems of human well-being, and one in sustainability, the development of technologies and practices that promote and protect the health of our world,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “While the Biodesign Institute is off to an excellent start, the Global Institute of Sustainability has reached a new stage of its evolution. I am delighted that Jon Fink, who has done an outstanding job in building the university’s research enterprise for the last decade, has agreed to take on the duties of leading GIOS through its critical maturation process.”
“I have long been committed to research and policies that will help sustain environmental quality,” Fink said. “Working to achieve a more balanced approach to the growth of cities, one that simultaneously takes into account the needs of society, the economy and the surrounding ecosystem, is one of the most exciting challenges I can imagine pursuing.”
Fink will oversee and coordinate four components of ASU’s sustainability efforts — the research of GIOS, the educational programs of the School of Sustainability, the integration of the wider set of sustainability activities across all of ASU and making sure that “ASU practices what it preaches through sustainable business operations,” he said.
A major emphasis, he added, “will be to promote ASU’s sustainability interests with federal agencies in Washington, private foundations around the world and regional, national and global NGOs. I also hope to greatly expand partnerships between ASU and those multi-national corporations that are committed to building a new kind of economy that is less environmentally damaging in the long term. These corporate linkages are an outgrowth of the initiatives led by our Office of Economic Affairs, which has become highly successful at connecting ASU’s research enterprise with the business community.”
ASU has a 30-year history in advanced environmental studies, and during the last five years has become a leader in sustainability, first by establishing the Global Institute of Sustainability in 2004 and then the world’s first School of Sustainability in January. Creation of the institute and school were made possible by generous donations from philanthropist Julie A. Wrigley.
Fink commented, “Julie Wrigley’s far-sighted investments in ASU’s sustainability programs have allowed us to think more boldly about the scale of accomplishments we can aspire to achieve in this critical field.”
“In sustainability, we’ve gone through an incubation phase, and then a planning phase,” Crow said. “Now, we know what we have to do and are ready to take that next giant step.”
Fink will seek to increase the participation of academic departments that have had only limited engagement in sustainability so far. This expansion builds upon the groundwork of James Buizer, who as executive director of sustainability initiatives worked closely with President Crow and the ASU Foundation to promote ASU’s sustainability agenda. Buizer will be shifting most of his attention to other presidential priorities, but will continue to assist with selected aspects of ASU’s sustainability portfolio.
“We want to integrate these ideas with the ongoing research and teaching programs in GIOS and the School of Sustainability,” Fink said. “Under the leadership of President Crow and professor Charles Redman, ASU faculty members have created a research and education program in sustainability that is already a national showcase of interdisciplinary innovation. My goal is to expand upon this foundation through the addition of new faculty members, new funded research programs and greater participation in international and corporate networks, so that we are recognized not only for our creativity, but also for effective global leadership.”
Fink came to ASU in 1979 from Stanford as a post-doctoral researcher in geology, where he moved through the academic ranks to become department chair. His administrative experience includes a stint as director of the geochemistry program at the National Science Foundation prior to taking over ASU’s research office in 1997. Most of Fink’s research has focused on the study of volcanoes on Earth and other planets, but over the past several years he has begun to address questions of urban sustainability and resilience. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
As vice president of research and economic affairs, Fink oversees the research portfolio of all four of ASU’s campuses, including responsibility for research administration, strategic research initiatives, research publications, research space allocation and economic development activities. His office also coordinates an internal strategic investment fund of more than $25 million per year.
During Fink’s time as vice president, ASU faculty members have nearly tripled their expenditures for grants and contracts. This growth has been facilitated by an unprecedented expansion of ASU’s research infrastructure, with the addition of more than 1 million square feet of new space. A key ingredient in this research build-up has been the recruitment of top scholars from around the world to join ASU’s faculty and staff. Fink has helped attract 12 National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering members to ASU.
Fink has also played an integral role in shaping the State of Arizona’s burgeoning high tech economy, through helping to design and launch the Biodesign Institute at ASU, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), and the Flexible Display Center; by overseeing ASU’s technology transfer operations (including the establishment of Arizona Technology Enterprises); and by serving on Governor Napolitano’s Council on Innovation and Technology.



TEMPE, Ariz. – Cities are considered by many to be both a blessing and a curse. Large cities generate considerable wealth; they are home to many high paying jobs and are known as engines of innovation. But cities also generate much pollution, crime and sometimes degraded social environments that lead to the urban blight that plague their very existence.
Now a team of researchers, including an economist from Arizona State University, has studied the growth of cities in different parts of the world and has come up with general equations that can foretell their resource consumption patterns as well as their contributions to society. The work has debunked the notion that cities act like biological organisms in the sense that they grow to a finite size and consume resources in ways that decrease per capita with size.
“It’s true that large cities have more problems, they are more congested, they create more pollution and they have more crime,” said Jose Lobo, and ASU economist in the School of Sustainability. “But also because of their size, cities are more innovative and create more wealth per capita. Large cities are the largely the source of their problems but they also are disproportionately the creators of the solutions to the problems of society at large.”
The researchers working with Lobo — Luis Bettencourt of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mex.; Dirk Helbing and Christian Kuhnert of Dresden University of Technology, Germany; and Geoffrey West of the Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, New Mex. — detailed their findings in the article “Growth, innovation, scaling and the pace of life in cities,” in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. An on-line version of the article was published on April 16, 2007 (
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“Humanity has just crossed a major landmark in its history with the majority of people now living in cities,” the researchers state. “The inexorable trend toward urbanization worldwide presents an urgent challenge for predictive, quantitative theory of urban organization and sustainable development.”
This will require thinking about cities in new ways.
The old way of thinking about cities is as if they are an organism, which consumes resources and grows in size. Oftentimes, cities are referred to as its own ecosystem and many use the metaphor of it acting like a biological organism, Lobo said.
“The one thing that we know about organisms whether it be elephants or sharks or frogs, is that as they get large, they slow down,” Lobo said. “They use less energy, they don’t move as fast. That is a very important point for biological scaling.”
“In the case of cities, it is actually the opposite,” he added. “As cities get larger they create more wealth and they are more innovative at a faster rate. There is no counterpart to that in biology.”
In fact, Lobo said, the larger the city the greater return on investment.
The researchers base their findings on data on the growth of cities (metropolitan areas) in the U.S., Europe and China over the past 150 years. They analyzed cities consumption of resources, (such as water or electricity usage), requirements for infrastructure (roads, transportation, lengths of electrical cable), they also compiled and analyzed data on the creative output of these areas (patents issued, “super creative jobs” generated, R&D employment, total wages). The sizes of the cities were determined by population.
What they found were some general correlations of size and resource consumption that more or less fit the biological organism metaphor, meaning as the city grew in size it required less energy (resources) to sustain it in a proportion called sublinear scaling. What was surprising to the team was that the creative output (jobs, wealth generated, innovation) as cities grew, becomes faster and faster per capita.
“It isn’t like if you double the size of a city you double its creative output,” Lobo said. “But it does increase by about 10 to 30 percent.”
“We are not saying that any large city is assured of prosperity forever, but if you look at the collection of cities, large cities have managed to out run their problems,” Lobo added. “Large is smart.”
All of this points to the need of rethinking large cities, both in how they are managed and what they contribute to the greater good. This is especially true today, as cities are on the brink explosive growth in the developing world. Today a little more than half of the world’s population live in large urban areas. By 2030, it is estimated that two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in urban areas.
“Cities are really one of the most important innovations in human history,” Lobo said. “We need to think of them as being very human entities and as engines of our collective creation. We need a different perspective about cities, one that is away from thinking of large cities as a source of problems, but rather as the possible and unavoidable sources of solutions.”
“The practical application of this work is that the problem is not large cities, the problem is the conditions in which some of the people live in large cities,” Lobo added. “Policies should be directed to making large cities more livable not making them smaller.”