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Project Information

Project Information

Advancing Urban Sustainability in China and the United States: A Workshop

Project Scope:

An ad hoc committee, in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, will organize a one-day public workshop on urban sustainability in China and the United States, focused on the intersection of green infrastructure, urban human health, climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainable transportation, and urban flooding in both countries. Workshop participants will:

  • Review the current landscape for sustainable urban development policies and practices in China and the U.S.;
  • Highlight urban sustainability research activities at a university level in China and the U.S., including the most significant outcomes of research in an interdisciplinary context;
  • Identify research needs, data gaps, and possible priorities for urban sustainability research and a future collaboration between the two countries; and
  • Discuss effective mechanisms for strengthening the science-policy interface and adopting best practice to address current and future urban sustainability challenges in both countries.

Discussions will include those relevant to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 (good health and well-being); 6 (clean water and sanitation); 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure); 11 (sustainable cities and communities); 13 (climate action); and 17 (partnerships for the goals). A Proceedings of a Workshop will be prepared by a designated rapporteur in accordance with institutional guidelines.

Status: Current


RSO: Carrero-Martinez, Franklin


Energy and Energy Conservation
Engineering and Technology
Environment and Environmental Studies
Health and Medicine
Transportation and Infrastructure
Policy for Science and Technology

Geographic Focus:
East Asia
North America

Committee Membership

Karen C. Seto - (Chair)
KAREN SETO (NAS) (Chair) is the Frederick C. Hixon Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science at Yale University. An urban and land change scientist, she is one of the world’s leading experts on contemporary urbanization and global change. Her research focus is how urbanization will affect the planet. She has pioneered methods to reconstruct urban land use with satellite imagery and has developed novel methods to forecast urban expansion. She has conducted urbanization research in China for twenty years and in India for more than ten. Her research has generated insights on the links between urbanization and land use, food systems, biodiversity, and climate change. Dr. Seto has served on numerous national and international scientific bodies. She is co-leading the urban mitigation chapter for the IPCC 6th Assessment Report and co-lead the same chapter for the IPCC 5th Assessment Report. She is co-editor-in-chief of the journal, Global Environmental Change. From 2000 to 2008, she was faculty at Stanford, where she held joint appointments in the Woods Institute for the Environment and the School of Earth Sciences. She has received numerous awards for her scientific contributions, including the Outstanding Contributions to Remote Sensing Research Award from the American Association of Geographers. Dr. Seto is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She earned a Ph.D. in Geography from Boston University.
Robert B. Cervero
ROBERT CERVERO is Professor Emeritus of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where he chaired the department and directed the Institute of Urban and Regional Development and the University of California Transportation Center. His research focuses on sustainable transportation policy and the nexus between urban transportation and land-use systems. He has written numerous books and articles in these areas, including Beyond Mobility which won the 2019 National Urban Design Best Book Award. Currently, he is working with AECOM on a study of transit joint development for the US Transit Cooperative Research Program, is a faculty affiliate at NYU-Abu Dhabi and Tongji University in Shanghai, and serves on the international advisory panel for Dubai’s 2040 strategic master plan. He was a contributing author to the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) Fifth Assessment, UN-Habitat’s Global Report on Sustainable Mobility, and recently received the Athena Accolade from KTH University, the Distinguished Legacy Award from ITS at University of California, Berkeley, and was recognized by Planning magazine as one of the top planning academics in the U.S. based on Google Scholar h-index citations, naming him “the world’s top expert on transit-oriented development.” Dr. Cervero received his Ph.D. in urban planning from University of California, Los Angeles.
Frances A. Colon
FRANCES COLÓN is Chief Executive Officer of Jasperi Consulting and a 2019 recipient of the Leadership in Government Fellowship of Open Society Foundations, an initiative supporting seasoned public servants chosen from the senior ranks of federal, state, and local government who have advanced economic and social. Dr. Colón is the former Deputy Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State at the U.S. Department of State (2012-2017) where she promoted integration of science and technology into foreign policy priorities. In her role as science diplomat, Dr. Colón led reengagement of scientific collaboration with Cuba and coordinated climate change policy for the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas announced by President Obama. Dr. Colón is founding board member of Cenadores Puerto Rico, a non-profit that provides a platform for Puerto Rican diaspora and friends of Puerto Rico to strengthen civil society on the island. Dr. Colón is a graduate of the National Hispana Leadership Institute, fellow of the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and the Austria Leaders Program. In 2016, Dr. Colón was named one of the 20 most influential Latinos in technology by CNET. She is recipient of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Inspira Award and a 2015-2016 Google Science Fair judge. Dr. Colón earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2004 from Brandeis University and her B.S. in Biology in 1997 from the University of Puerto Rico.
Susan Hanson
SUSAN HANSON (NAS) is Distinguished University Professor Emerita and longtime professor of geography at Clark University. She is an urban geographer with interests in gender and economy, transportation, local labor markets, and sustainability. Her research has examined the relationship between the urban built environment and people’s everyday mobility within cities; within this context, questions of access to opportunity, and how gender affects access, have been paramount. Her books include Ten Geographic Ideas that Changed the World; Gender, Work, and Space (with Geraldine Pratt); and The Geography of Urban Transportation. Dr. Hanson has been the editor of several academic journals, including The Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Urban Geography, and Economic Geography and has been the geography editor of the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, first and second editions. She has led the School of Geography at Clark and is a past president of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a former Guggenheim Fellow, a former fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Social and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and a recipient of the Honors Award and of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the AAG and of the Van Cleef Medal from the American Geographic Society. In 2000 she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was recently Division Chair of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Research Council (NRC) and is on the TRB Executive Committee, is on the advisory board of the NRC’s Gulf Research Program, and is on the editorial board of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Her B.A. is from Middlebury College, and before earning her M.S. and Ph.D. at Northwestern University, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya.

Jiahua Pan
JIAHUA PAN is the Director of the Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). He is also a Professor of Economics at CASS Graduate School. Areas of interest include economics of sustainable development, energy and climate policy, urban transformation, world economy and environmental and natural resource economics. Dr. Pan worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Beijing Office as an Advisor on environment and development. He was also a lead author of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III 3rd, 4th and 5th Assessment Report on Mitigation. He has been a Member of China National Expert Panel on Climate Change, a Member of National Foreign Policy Advisory Group and an Advisor to the Ministry of Environment Protection. He was Vice president of Chinese Association of Urban Economy, the Chinese Society of Ecological Economists, and the Chinese Energy Association. Dr. Pan has been Editor-In-Chief of the Chinese Journal of Urban & Environmental Studies and Co-Editor of Climate Change 2001: mitigation. He has authored of over 300 papers, articles and books in both English (including Science, Nature, Oxford Review of Economic Policy) and Chinese (Including Journal of Economic Research and China Social Sciences). He has been awarded first and Second prize of best research works, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (2003, 2005, 2013), and was winner of Sun Yefang Economic Sciences Prize, 2011, and China Green Person of the Year 2010/2011. Dr. Pan received his Ph.D. at Cambridge University in 1992.
Yong-Guan Zhu
YONG-GUAN ZHU, Professor of Biogeochemistry and Environmental Biology, is the Director General of the Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). He has been working on the biogeochemistry of nutrients, metals and emerging pollutants (such as antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes). Dr. Zhu is a leader in taking multi-scale and multi-disciplinary approaches to soil and environmental problems. Before returning to China in 2002, he was working as a research fellow (Supported by the Royal Society London), the Queen's University of Belfast, UK (1994-1995); and a postdoctoral fellow in The University of Adelaide (1998-2002), Australia. He obtained his B.S.c. from Zhejiang Agricultural University in 1989, and M.S.c. from CAS in 1992, and then a Ph.D. in environmental biology from Imperial College, London in 1998. Dr. Zhu is currently the co-editor-in-chief of Environment International (Elsevier), and editorial members for a few other international journals. He is a scientific committee member for the ICSU program on Human Health and Wellbeing in Changing Urban Environment, and served for nine years as a member of Standing Advisory Group for Nuclear Application, International Atomic Energy Agency (2004-2012). Dr. Zhu is the recipient of many international and Chinese merit awards, among them including TWAS Science Award 2013, National Natural Science Award 2009; Dr. Zhu has published over 300 papers in international journals, and these publications have attracted over 20,000 citations (Web of Science) with an H-index of 79. He was selected as a Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher (2016, 2017 & 2018); an elected Fellow, American Associate for the Advancement of Science.



National Academy of Sciences Building
2101 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20418
Event Type :  

Description :   

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS) program, in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, will organize a one-day public workshop on urban sustainability in China and the United States, focused on the intersection of urban climate change mitigation and adaptation, urban health, and sustainable transportation, including green infrastructure and urban flooding in both countries. Experts will review the current landscape for sustainable urban development policies and practices; highlight urban sustainability research activities at a university level; and identify research needs and knowledge gaps toward sustainable urbanization in both countries. 

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