Center for Environmental Science Applications (CESA)

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

The world’s urban centers are sustainability laboratories, experimenting with policies and practices to satisfy their citizens’ current and future needs. In order to maximize the benefits of such innovation, cities need to be able to learn lessons from each other’s experience. Yet, most municipal governments tend to think of themselves as unique. As a result, few cities track the same parameters in the same ways. In order to help overcome this inherent parochialism and to let cities compare their progress toward meeting common goals for sustaianbility and governance, the World Bank (WB) initiated in 2008 the Global City Indicators Facility (GCIF). This program, based at University of Toronto, encourages cities to identically measure nearly 100 variables, selected to be relatively easy and inexpensive to track.

CESA is working with the WB and GCIF to provide remote sensing images to all participating cities, in exchange for data access, website linkage and partnering assistance. Several members of the Sustainable Cities Network in Phoenix are considering joining the GCIF. This alliance should help make future large urban research grants from ASU more competitive, while also connecting government officials from the Metro Phoenix region with their counterparts around the world.

CESA's primary contacts at the World Bank are Dan Hoornweg and Judy Baker in the Finance, Economics and Urban Department in Washington DC. We are also working with Patricia McCarney, Director of the GCIF at University of Toronto. Lead personnel for CESA are Jon Fink, Lela Prashad, Edward Burgess, Phil Christensen, and Doug Webster.