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Continuing Professional Development in Sustainability Education for K-12 Teachers: Principles, Programme, Applications, Outlook

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The next generation will be better prepared to cope with the daunting sustainability challenges if education for sustainable development is being taught and learned across educational sectors. K-12 school education will play a pivotal role in this process, most prominently,

The next generation will be better prepared to cope with the daunting sustainability challenges if education for sustainable development is being taught and learned across educational sectors. K-12 school education will play a pivotal role in this process, most prominently, the teachers serving at these schools. While pre-service teachers’ education will contribute to this transition, success will depend on effective professional development in sustainability education to teachers currently in service. Arizona State University has pioneered the development and delivery of such a programme. We present the design principles, the programme, and insights from its initial applications that involved 246 K-12 in-service teachers from across the USA. The evaluation results indicate that due to participation in the programme, sustainability knowledge, perception of self-efficacy, inclusion of sustainability in the classroom, modelling of sustainable behaviours, and linking action to content all increased. We conclude with recommendations for the widespread adopting of the programme.

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2018-07-13

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Harnessing the Sustainable Development Goals for Businesses: A Progressive Framework for Action

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Businesses, as with other sectors in society, are not yet taking sufficient action towards achieving sustainability. The United Nations recently agreed upon a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which if properly harnessed, provide a framework (so far lacking) for

Businesses, as with other sectors in society, are not yet taking sufficient action towards achieving sustainability. The United Nations recently agreed upon a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which if properly harnessed, provide a framework (so far lacking) for businesses to meaningfully drive transformations to sustainability. This paper proposes to operationalize the SDGs for businesses through a progressive framework for action with three discrete levels: communication, tactical, and strategic. Within the tactical and strategic levels, several innovative approaches are discussed and illustrated. The challenges of design and measurement as well as opportunities for accountability and the social side of Sustainability, together call for transdisciplinary, collective action. This paper demonstrates feasible pathways and approaches for businesses to take corporate social responsibility to the next level and utilize the SDG framework informed by sustainability science to support transformations towards the achievement of sustainability.

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2018-06-30

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Tree and Shade: City of Phoenix Master Plan

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Creating a Healthier, More Livable and Prosperous Phoenix

Phoenix is poised to become the next great American City. The Tree and Shade Master Plan presents Phoenix’s leaders and residents a roadmap to creating a 21st Century desert city. The urban forest

Creating a Healthier, More Livable and Prosperous Phoenix

Phoenix is poised to become the next great American City. The Tree and Shade Master Plan presents Phoenix’s leaders and residents a roadmap to creating a 21st Century desert city. The urban forest is a keystone to creating a sustainable city because it solves many problems with one single solution. By investing in trees and the urban forest, the city can reduce its carbon footprint, decrease energy costs, reduce storm water runoff, increase biodiversity, address the urban heat island effect, clean the air, and increase property values. In addition, trees can help to create walkable streets and vibrant pedestrian places. More trees will not solve all the problems, but it is known that for every dollar invested in the urban forest results in an impressive return of $2.23 in benefits.

Phoenix has a strong foundation on which to build the future. Phoenix residents value natural resources and have voted repeatedly to invest in the living infrastructure. For instance, the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative was passed twice with over 75 percent voter approval. This modest sales tax has purchased land for the Sonoran Preserve, funded habitat restoration efforts along Rio Salado, built new parks and planted hundreds of new trees. These projects and others like it provide the base for a healthy urban forest. Trees and engineered shade have the potential to be one of the city’s greatest assets and the Tree and Shade Master Plan provides the framework for creating a healthier, more livable and prosperous Phoenix.

The Urban Forest – Trees for People

The urban forest is a critical component of the living infrastructure. It benefits and attracts residents and tourists alike to live, work, shop and play in the city. Phoenix’s urban forest is a diverse ecosystem of soils, vegetation, trees, associated organisms, air, water, wildlife and people. The urban forest is found not only in parks, mountain preserves and native desert areas, but also in neighborhoods, commercial corridors, industrial parks and along streets. The urban forest is made up of a rich mosaic of private and public property that surrounds the city and provides many environmental, economic, and social benefits.

In order for the urban forest to be a profitable investment, Phoenix must do more than just plant trees. The entire lifecycle of the tree must be addressed because the current planting, maintenance, and irrigation practices are preventing many trees from providing their maximum return on investment. The Tree and Shade Master Plan provides a detailed roadmap to address these issues, as well as many others, with realistic and incremental steps. To succeed, this plan requires a long-term investment from the residents and leaders of Phoenix.

Trees are Solution Multipliers

Solution multipliers solve numerous problems simultaneously. Trees are a perfect example of a solution multiplier because when planted and maintained correctly, they can provide many economic, environmental, and social benefits. According to the US Forest Service, trees benefit the community by: providing a cooling effect that reduces energy costs; improving air quality; strengthening quality of place and the local economy; reducing storm water runoff; improving social connections; promoting smart growth and compact development; and creating walkable communities (US Forest Service and Urban & Community Forestry). Trees are high-yield assets; for example, the City of Chicago values its trees at $2.3 billion dollars. Trees have a documented return on investment (ROI) in Arizona of $2.23 for every $1 invested (US Department of Agriculture Forest Service). This demonstrates the important role that trees have within the city's economy. This is why it is critical to manage and invest in the urban forest; the health of the urban forest is closely linked to the economic health of the city.

Maintainable Infrastructure

Phoenix is a desert city that has a history of several decades of drought. In order to achieve a healthy urban forest we must use water wisely. Currently, 60 percent of Phoenix’s water is used outdoors, mainly for landscape irrigation. According to the City of Phoenix’s Water Services Department, Phoenix has an adequate sustainable water supply to meet the State of Arizona’s 100-year assured water supply standard. This includes growth in Phoenix’s system water demand over the next 20 years or more. Nonetheless, to achieve a maintainable urban forest, water must be used more efficiently. This is done with high-efficiency irrigation systems, use of drought-tolerant plant material, strategic placement of shade corridors and continued education. In order for a healthy urban forest to exist, it must be coupled with strong water management.

Implementation

The Urban Forest Infrastructure Team and the Parks and Recreation Department are charged with coordinating and maintaining the Tree and Shade Master Plan. Many City departments will implement the plan as they work to fulfill their own missions. The Tree and Shade Master Plan will not only provide a framework to achieve an average 25 percent tree canopy coverage by 2030 but will also help to achieve many goals and policies from the Green Phoenix Initiative and the voter ratified General Plan.

The plan proposes incremental steps to achieve the 2030 vision and canopy goal. The City of Phoenix is beginning to put a process in place to preserve, maintain, and redevelop the urban forest. This plan intends to increase the quality of life and economic vitality of the city by recommending ways to create a sustainable urban forest for future generations.

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2010

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Urban Heat & Critical Infrastructure Networks: A Viewpoint

Description

The forthcoming century will see cities exposed to temperature rises from urbanisation as well as greenhouse gas induced radiative forcing. Increasing levels of urban heat will have a direct impact upon the people living in cities in terms of health,

The forthcoming century will see cities exposed to temperature rises from urbanisation as well as greenhouse gas induced radiative forcing. Increasing levels of urban heat will have a direct impact upon the people living in cities in terms of health, but will also have an indirect effect by impacting upon the critical infrastructure networks of the city itself (e.g., ICT, transport and energy). Some infrastructures are more resistant than others, but there is a growing reliance on the energy network to provide the power for all of our future critical infrastructure networks. Unfortunately, the energy network is far from resilient from the effects of urban heat and is set to face a perfect storm of increasing temperatures and loadings as demand increases for air conditioning, refrigeration, an electrified transport network and a high-speed ICT network. The result is that any failure on the energy network could quickly cascade across much of our critical infrastructure. System vulnerabilities will become increasingly apparent as the impacts of climate change begin to manifest and this paper calls for interdisciplinary action outlining the need for high resolution monitoring and modelling of the impact of urban heat on infrastructure.

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2013-04-01

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Ecosystem Services and Urban Heat Riskscape Moderation: Water, Green Spaces, and Social Inequality in Phoenix, USA

Description

Urban ecosystems are subjected to high temperatures—extreme heat events, chronically hot weather, or both—through interactions between local and global climate processes. Urban vegetation may provide a cooling ecosystem service, although many knowledge gaps exist in the biophysical and social dynamics

Urban ecosystems are subjected to high temperatures—extreme heat events, chronically hot weather, or both—through interactions between local and global climate processes. Urban vegetation may provide a cooling ecosystem service, although many knowledge gaps exist in the biophysical and social dynamics of using this service to reduce climate extremes. To better understand patterns of urban vegetated cooling, the potential water requirements to supply these services, and differential access to these services between residential neighborhoods, we evaluated three decades (1970–2000) of land surface characteristics and residential segregation by income in the Phoenix, Arizona, USA metropolitan region. We developed an ecosystem service trade‐offs approach to assess the urban heat riskscape, defined as the spatial variation in risk exposure and potential human vulnerability to extreme heat. In this region, vegetation provided nearly a 25°C surface cooling compared to bare soil on low‐humidity summer days; the magnitude of this service was strongly coupled to air temperature and vapor pressure deficits.

To estimate the water loss associated with land‐surface cooling, we applied a surface energy balance model. Our initial estimates suggest 2.7 mm/d of water may be used in supplying cooling ecosystem services in the Phoenix region on a summer day. The availability and corresponding resource use requirements of these ecosystem services had a strongly positive relationship with neighborhood income in the year 2000. However, economic stratification in access to services is a recent development: no vegetation–income relationship was observed in 1970, and a clear trend of increasing correlation was evident through 2000. To alleviate neighborhood inequality in risks from extreme heat through increased vegetation and evaporative cooling, large increases in regional water use would be required. Together, these results suggest the need for a systems evaluation of the benefits, costs, spatial structure, and temporal trajectory for the use of ecosystem services to moderate climate extremes. Increasing vegetation is one strategy for moderating regional climate changes in urban areas and simultaneously providing multiple ecosystem services. However, vegetation has economic, water, and social equity implications that vary dramatically across neighborhoods and need to be managed through informed environmental policies.

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2011-10-01

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Climate and Health Strategic Plan for Maricopa County, 2016-2021

Description

Maricopa County experiences extreme heat, which has adverse effects on community health and has been recognized as a serious public health issue. Therefore, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has conducted surveillance activities to assess morbidity and mortality

Maricopa County experiences extreme heat, which has adverse effects on community health and has been recognized as a serious public health issue. Therefore, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has conducted surveillance activities to assess morbidity and mortality due to extreme heat for the past 10 years. In 2016, MCDPH was interested in expanding their scope to include other climate-sensitive public health hazards. Subsequently, a network of stakeholders with an interest in the health effects of climate-sensitive hazards was established as the Bridging Climate Change and Public Health (BCCPH) stakeholder group. A smaller Strategic Planning Workgroup of key stakeholders from the BCCPH group was then convened over three sessions to work on a strategic plan for the group, which culminated in this document.

Practical Vision
The driving discussion question to identify the Strategic Planning Workgroup’s practical vision was, “What do we want to see in place in the next 3-5 years as a result of our actions?” The goal of this question was to help the group develop concrete outcomes that the BCCPH workgroup would like to achieve through activities included in the strategic plan. The following goals were identified:
 A healthy community infrastructure design
 Reframed messaging for multiple stakeholder needs
 A coordinated multi-scale education effort
 Improved health strategies and outcomes
 A diverse network of partnerships for climate change adaptation and mitigation planning and development
 New funding opportunities
 Policy and research strategies, and private sector engagement.

Underlying Contradictions
The driving discussion question to identify underlying contradictions was, “What is blocking us from moving towards our practical vision?” The following challenges were identified:
 People act out of self-interest vs. common good
 Siloed effects lead to poor coordination
 Political partisanship delays unified action
 Conflicting information leads to biases
 Culture and convenience impacts action
 Vulnerable populations not represented, and normalization of climate change related negative effects

Strategic Directions
During the BCCPH Strategic Planning Workgroup meetings, participants identified five strategic directions for addressing environmental concerns affecting the health and well-being of the community. These strategic directions are in agreement with the climate and health adaptation strategies outlined in the Arizona Climate and Health Adaptation Plan. The strategic directions for Maricopa County are:
 Fostering Environmental Action for a Healthier Community
 Coordinating Research and Collaborative Efforts to Catalyze Change
 Developing a Strategic and Targeted Communication Plan
 Promoting Community Awareness and Public Education about Climate and Health
 Celebrating Success and Champions

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2018

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Neighborhood Microclimates and Vulnerability to Heat Stress

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Human exposure to excessively warm weather, especially in cities, is an increasingly important public health problem. This study examined heat-related health inequalities within one city in order to understand the relationships between the microclimates of urban neighborhoods, population characteristics, thermal

Human exposure to excessively warm weather, especially in cities, is an increasingly important public health problem. This study examined heat-related health inequalities within one city in order to understand the relationships between the microclimates of urban neighborhoods, population characteristics, thermal environments that regulate microclimates, and the resources people possess to cope with climatic conditions. A simulation model was used to estimate an outdoor human thermal comfort index (HTCI) as a function of local climate variables collected in 8 diverse city neighborhoods during the summer of 2003 in Phoenix, USA. HTCI is an indicator of heat stress, a condition that can cause illness and death. There were statistically significant differences in temperatures and HTCI between the neighborhoods during the entire summer, which increased during a heat wave period. Lower socioeconomic and ethnic minority groups were more likely to live in warmer neighborhoods with greater exposure to heat stress. High settlement density, sparse vegetation, and having no open space in the neighborhood were significantly correlated with higher temperatures and HTCI. People in warmer neighborhoods were more vulnerable to heat exposure because they had fewer social and material resources to cope with extreme heat. Urban heat island reduction policies should specifically target vulnerable residential areas and take into account equitable distribution and preservation of environmental resources.

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2006-09-25

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Using Watered Landscapes to Manipulate Urban Heat Island Effects: How Much Water Will It Take to Cool Phoenix?

Description

Problem: The prospect that urban heat island (UHI) effects and climate change may increase urban temperatures is a problem for cities that actively promote urban redevelopment and higher densities. One possible UHI mitigation strategy is to plant more trees and

Problem: The prospect that urban heat island (UHI) effects and climate change may increase urban temperatures is a problem for cities that actively promote urban redevelopment and higher densities. One possible UHI mitigation strategy is to plant more trees and other irrigated vegetation to prevent daytime heat storage and facilitate nighttime cooling, but this requires water resources that are limited in a desert city like Phoenix.

Purpose: We investigated the tradeoffs between water use and nighttime cooling inherent in urban form and land use choices.

Methods: We used a Local-Scale Urban Meteorological Parameterization Scheme (LUMPS) model to examine the variation in temperature and evaporation in 10 census tracts in Phoenix's urban core. After validating results with estimates of outdoor water use based on tract-level city water records and satellite imagery, we used the model to simulate the temperature and water use consequences of implementing three different scenarios.

Results and conclusions: We found that increasing irrigated landscaping lowers nighttime temperatures, but this relationship is not linear; the greatest reductions occur in the least vegetated neighborhoods. A ratio of the change in water use to temperature impact reached a threshold beyond which increased outdoor water use did little to ameliorate UHI effects.

Takeaway for practice: There is no one design and landscape plan capable of addressing increasing UHI and climate effects everywhere. Any one strategy will have inconsistent results if applied across all urban landscape features and may lead to an inefficient allocation of scarce water resources.

Research Support: This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant SES-0345945 (Decision Center for a Desert City) and by the City of Phoenix Water Services Department. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.

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2010-01-04

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Designing a Geospatial Information Infrastructure for Mitigation of Heat Wave Hazards in Urban Areas

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Extreme heat is a natural hazard that could rapidly increase in magnitude in the 21st century. The combination of increasingurbanization, growing numbers of vulnerable people, and the evidence of global warming indicate an urgent need for improved heat-wavemitigation and response

Extreme heat is a natural hazard that could rapidly increase in magnitude in the 21st century. The combination of increasingurbanization, growing numbers of vulnerable people, and the evidence of global warming indicate an urgent need for improved heat-wavemitigation and response systems. A review of the literature on heat-wave impacts in urban environments and on human health revealsopportunities for improved synthesis, integration, and sharing of information resources that relate to the spatial and temporal nature ofthreats posed by extreme heat. This paper illustrates how geospatial technologies can aid in the mitigation of urban heat waves.

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2004-07-15

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A Comparative Study of the Thermal and Radiative Impacts of Photovoltaic Canopies on Pavement Surface Temperatures

Description

Rapid urbanization of the planet is occurring at an unprecedented pace, primarily in arid and semi-arid hot climates [Golden, J.S., 2004. The built environment induced urban heat island effect in rapidly urbanizing arid regions – a sustainable urban engineering complexity.

Rapid urbanization of the planet is occurring at an unprecedented pace, primarily in arid and semi-arid hot climates [Golden, J.S., 2004. The built environment induced urban heat island effect in rapidly urbanizing arid regions – a sustainable urban engineering complexity. Environ. Sci. J. Integr. Environ. Res. 1 (4), 321–349]. This growth has manifested itself as a cause of various impacts including elevated urban temperatures in comparison to rural sites known as the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect [Oke, T.R., 1982. The energetic basis of the urban heat island. Q. J. R. Meteor. Soc. 108, 1–24]. Related are the increased demands for electric power as a result of population growth and increased need for mechanical cooling due to the UHI. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency has developed a three-prong approach of (1) cool pavements, (2) urban forestry and (3) cool roofs to mitigate the UHI. Researchers undertook an examination of micro scale benefits of the utilization of photovoltaic panels to reduce the thermal impacts to surface temperatures of pavements in comparison to urban forestry. The results of the research indicate that photovoltaic panels provide a greater thermal reduction benefit during the diurnal cycle in comparison to urban forestry while also providing the additional benefits of supporting peak energy demand, conserving water resources and utilizing a renewable energy source.

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2006-12-26