The Future of Phoenix: Crafting Sustainable Development Strategies
This use-inspired, action research project was embedded in the City of Phoenix while simultaneously directed towards developing theory and methods relevant to the research programs and educational goals of CNS-ASU and the School of Sustainability. It was thus interdisciplinary research project that established a platform of collaboration between urban-focused research at ASU and the decision makers who have a stake in crafting better futures. While an ongoing effort, particularly for the Sustainability Transition and Intervention Research Lab at ASU, in Spring of 2010, Arnim Wiek and I designed a sustainability studio geared towards helping the City develop scenarios and strategies toward sustainability. The highly coordinated, intensive, real-world educational program supported student learning of urban dynamics, sustainability principles in practice, foresight and contemporary modes of planning. We structured the course to enable students to learn theory and methods in a dynamic and integrated fashion and supported their skills development through concentrations on facilitation, engagement, team work, project management and communication. Guided by the framework for Sustainable Anticipatory Governance, the students presented their work at the end of the semester to our partners in the City, community stakeholders and members of the public. This effort was awarded the Arizona State University's President's Award for Sustainability in 2011.