Sara Meerow

I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University. I am also a Senior Sustainability Scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Institute for Global Sustainability and a faculty affiliate of the Urban Climate Research Center at ASU.

My research, at the intersection of urban geography and planning, tackles the challenge of how to make cities more resilient to climate change and other hazards in a way that is sustainable and just. In particular, I work on three interrelated topics:

    1. Theories and practices of urban resilience
    2. Green infrastructure
    3. Urban climate change adaptation

My work has been published in journals including Landscape and Urban Planning, Urban Geography, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Environment and Planning A, Environmental Science and Policy, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, and the Journal of Industrial Ecology (See the full list in Google Scholar).

In 2017 I received my Ph.D. from the School of Natural Resources and Environment (now the School for Environment and Sustainability) at the University of Michigan. My dissertation combined more conceptual studies of urban resilience theory with empirical research on the complexities of planning for multifunctional green infrastructure and climate adaptation in a range of cities including Manila (Philippines), New York City, Los Angeles, and Detroit. For each of these cities, I developed a Green Infrastructure Spatial Planning (GISP) model for evaluating trade-offs between green infrastructure resilience functions and identifying priority areas (or ‘hotspots’) where it can be strategically developed so as to maximize ecosystem service benefits. I also have a master’s in international development studies from the University of Amsterdam and a bachelor’s in political science and history from the University of Florida.


Prospective master's and PhD students interested in working with me at ASU should send me an email. PhD applications are due December 1st. Given my current projects, I am particularly interested in students who want to research urban flood resilience or green infrastructure planning.