Researchers examine urban heat and human vulnerability

Sharon Harlan

A transdisciplinary team of scientists is using the hot and populous Phoenix metropolitan area to explore how different segments of the region are being affected by increasingly oppressive heat.

ASU sociologist and Sustainability Scientist Sharon Harlan is a leading investigator on the project, which is designed to look at patterns in the past and present and apply them to potential climate scenarios of the future. The project is featured in the January issue of International Innovation.

“Our research in this desert metropolis examines how climate, plants and people create a dynamic and complex social-ecological system that requires careful stewardship in order to sustain vital natural resources and human health,” said Harlan.

An associate professor in ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Harlan emphasizes that outreach and education are built into the project in an effort to help policymakers, as well as residents, deal with the rising challenges of urban heat.

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