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Chinese Academy delegates discuss sustainability

October 23, 2007

A delegation from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) recently visited ASU to participate in the second Joint Workshop on Urban Sustainability. Members of the CAS delegation met with key players in ASU’s ongoing urban sustainability research.

The Joint Center on Urban Sustainability was created to promote ASU’s international profile in one of the most strategically important research areas. A major goal of the workshop was to discuss how academic institutions can connect with their communities, particularly in the area of urban sustainability.

The many similarities between Beijing and Phoenix created an opportunity for each group to share ideas and research strategies relevant to both cities.

“The highly collaborative nature of this workshop created a forum for us to discuss how urban sustainability research affects communities here and in China, and how this research can be moved into policy,” says Rick Shangraw, ASU’s vice president for research and economic affairs.
ASU and CAS each place a high priority on sustainability research. Experts on water, urban ecology and the translation of science into policy from both institutions spoke at the workshop to help fuel collaborative discussions on possible solutions and strategies.

“This workshop is a follow-up discussion from the first workshop we held in Beijing,” says Jonathan Fink, the Julie Ann Wrigley Director of the Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU, and convener of the two workshops. “At this second workshop, we were able to become more focused on substantive research projects such as urban-system modeling and ecosystem management.”

“The Global Institute of Sustainability is the hub of all of ASU’s sustainability initiatives in research, education, and business practices and the ASU-CAS Joint Center on Urban Sustainability is an important vehicle that brings together scientists from two major research institutions to work on some of the most important issues facing the rapid growth of both Chinese and U.S. cities,” adds Zhiyun Ouyang, director of the National Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology’s Eco-environmental Center at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The workshop also aimed to create global presence and support for ASU research, and to increase international research collaboration. Ideas such as creating joint research proposals and building an ASU Decision Theater at the CAS were discussed.

“The Joint Center is at a major turning point and will allow us to focus on some important urban sustainability issues and to generate important and high-impact work from comparisons on urban issues in Phoenix and Beijing,” says Jennie Si, director of China initiatives and special projects in ASU’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Affairs.

ASU has developed several programs and partnerships in China, including the W. P. Carey MBA program in Shanghai, a sister institution relationship with Sichuan University and the successful “Welcome to Mars!” exhibit in May 2005 at the annual Chinese Science and Technology Week.

Samantha Irwin,
Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Affairs