Center for Environmental Science Applications (CESA)

Finding solutions to sustainability challenges by linking ideas, people and resources

 The 100 Cities Project is a platform designed to bring policymakers and researchers together to apply urban remote sensing to the problems of urbanization, the environment, and sustainability.

We seek to create meaningful partnerships with cities internationally. As we build our partnerships, we can then develop a model of how to approach cities and address their problems with urban remote sensing. At the same time we develop relationships with academic researchers who produce urban remote sensing products and use them in their models.
We are growing our team of researchers and practitioners here at ASU and at other institutions around the world.
If you have questions or would like to participate in the 100 Cities Project please contact us.

Examples of our partnerships 

ASU-CAS Workshop on Urban Development and Sustainability – Partnering with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) to study urbanization in China.
Workshop on Applied Urban Remote Sensing at ASU - Representatives of the science and governmental communities attended the workshop from Delhi, India; Lima, Peru; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Cairo, Egypt; Berlin, Germany; and Mexico City, Mexico. 
Partnership with the City of Scottsdale, Arizona  - press links – 1 , 2 

Linking urban remote sensing to decision making

Urban remote sensing has been successfully used by governments for decision making in these areas:

  • Mapping environmental parameters( such as micro-climate, heat island, access to open space, amount of impervious surface, amount of vegetation) and assessing the geographic differences within a region and connections to social, economic, or ethnic divisions
  • Tracking urban area growth and change: speed, density, direction, structures, impervious surfaces, land use consumed
  • Determining spatial arrangement of green/open space within cities and at periphery: amount distribution, linkages
  • Monitoring changes on the urban fringe: farmland conversions, wetland infringement, biodiversity threats
  • Analyzing land cover/land use changes that influence urban climatology and atmospheric deposition 
  • Studying urban growth as it intersects areas of potential environmental hazards: earthquakes, subsidence, mudslides, floods, etc.

Related articles on applied remote sensing use in government

A 100 Cities book entitled Applied Remote Sensing for Urban Planning, Governance, and Sustainability (M. Netzband, W.L. Stefanov, and C.L. Redman, editors), with chapters contributed by collaborating scientists on the grant, is currently in final revision for publication by Springer.


Using Remote Sensing in State and Local Government: Information for Management and Decision Making: Steering Committee on Space Applications and Commercialization, National Research Council (2003).
Remote Sensing Applications at the State and Local Level, Socioeconomic Data and Application Center (SEDAC),  Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), Columbia University (2001).