I am looking to recruit PhD students in Geography or Urban Planning to join my Planning for Urban Resilience Lab in Fall 2024 at Arizona State University to work on multi-year funded projects focused on urban green infrastructure and urban heat resilience. My research group emphasizes problem-driven, interdisciplinary, collaborative research that combines qualitative and quantitative methods with spatial analysis to make cities more resilient to climate change and other hazards (notably flooding and heat) while also enhancing urban sustainability and justice.
The first project that I have funding to hire student research assistants for is “Models for planning multifunctional and equitable green infrastructure to mitigate rising stormwater and heat risks in cities.” This project, funded by the US National Science Foundation as part of the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Early Career Faculty Innovator programwill examine how cities make decisions about where to invest in green infrastructure and develop and test decision-support tools that stakeholders and communities can use to more strategically and equitably plan green infrastructure to address two of the biggest climate-related challenges: stormwater management and extreme heat. For this project, my ASU research team and NCAR scientists will work together to build on my existing Green Infrastructure Spatial Planning (GISP) modeling approach to make it more accurate, usable, and adaptable for diverse communities. This will be achieved through three specific objectives, including: ensuring that the model is useful by surveying and interviewing local officials to understand their green infrastructure planning processes and decision-support needs; evaluating the sensitivity of the GISP model to different hydrologic and heat-related indicators through modeling; and creating an integrated, open-source version of the model that communities can easily use. Students working on the project will get to spend several weeks in Boulder, CO at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, participate in professional development activities there, and be part of a cohort of faculty and graduate students in the program. Students with experience and interest in green infrastructure planning and urban hydrological and/or urban heat modeling are especially encouraged to apply.
The second project that I have funding to hire student research assistants for is the Southwest Urban Corridor Integrated Field Laboratory (SW-IFL), a five-year project funded by the US Department of Energy to advance urban systems science through an integrated framework of observations, modeling, and resilience. The SW-IFL is focused on the Arizona Urban Sun Corridor, stretching from the Mexican Border to the south, through the Tucson and Phoenix metropolitan regions, to Flagstaff and the Navajo (Diné) Nation to the north. Institutional partners include Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. SW-IFL innovations will inform and enable stakeholder co-development of resilient solutions to heat and air quality in particular that empower local governments and the public in decision-making that takes issues of equity into account. My lab is an active member of the SW-IFL’s Resilient Solutions team, where we are developing new methods of evaluating how city plans address heat and multi-hazard resilience and understanding heat governance. Students with experience and interest in urban heat, plan evaluation, governance analysis, or social network analysis are especially encouraged to apply.
Interested students should email Dr. Sara Meerow (Sara.Meerow@asu.edu) explaining their interest and attaching their CV and a short statement (~1 page) summarizing their research interests and experience, goals for their PhD, and why they would be a good fit for the lab.
Prospective students should also review the school’s graduate admissions website for formal application instructions. All application materials are due by December 15 and all applicants will be reviewed by the school's graduate committee before they can be admitted.