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Message from the Directors

Thank you for visiting the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning website. There is information here on the degree programs we offer, the kind of research we do, and our involvement in the community. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, we offer an array of programs and career building events that we hope you will find valuable.

The value of a geography and urban planning degrees is important, more now than ever before, in addressing society’s most pressing issues. This could not be clearer as communities navigate the intersection of the global pandemic, race relations, and political divisiveness in the context of other complex issues, such as social inequities, housing affordability, transportation investments, as well as urban heat, climate change, water security and biodiversity losses. At ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, our faculty and staff guide students through thinking critically and communicating effectively—with compassion and empathy—to address complex human and environmental issues across diverse places, cultures and ecosystems. Our courses and degree programs provide students with computational and analytical tools to build spatial awareness of the problems and to help create solutions. These tools–including geographic information systems, remote sensing, spatial analysis, and systems analysis–can be developed and applied to a range of problems and careers. These widely applicable skills also allow students to pursue whatever personal or professional path they wish to follow.

Students in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning learn from and work with the leading scholars in the fields of geography and planning. We host three research centers and have eight research themes within the school. The research we conduct has led to an enhanced understanding of climate and other physical earth processes, people’s interactions with and impacts on the environment, how cities function physically and socially, and the ways in which place matters. Our faculty and students have made exciting and important contributions to science and society, such as the creation of land science architecture, innovations in transportation systems, advances in geospatial analyses, and solutions to urban heating and global climate change.

Beyond our scholarship, our school aligns with the ASU Charter by embracing inclusivity and serving our community in various ways. Particularly now, our students and faculty are contemplating how do we rebuild the community for the future – being mindful that we need to rethink our underlying assumptions on our social and physical interaction, commuting patterns and social justice. Through classroom projects and internship programs, the faculty provide students with the opportunities to put classroom lectures and exercises into practical experiences. Visiting scholars also share cutting edge insights into how to be a part of local to global solutions to vital problems of today.

We believe in our students – they have been instrumental in navigating the world and planning the future. Please spend some time with our website and please feel free to contact us with questions or comments.

Elizabeth A. Wentz          Kelli Larson
Interim Director                  Deputy Director