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Message from the Director

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning (SGSUP), which I joined as director July 2016. The school is home to outstanding and transdisciplinary research and learning that is addressing complex issues facing people and their environments. Our exceptional faculty, staff, nearly 700 students, and community partners are working together to generate unique knowledge that is helping society face a growing number of complex issues.

I chose to move to ASU and join SGSUP because I believe society needs solutions that an integrated geographical sciences and urban planning school can provide. Societal challenges are increasingly complex, as they include interactions between physical environments, built environments, and people. With 54% of the world’s population living in cities, health and sustainability require urban planning that is informed by knowledge of earth processes and human interactions with space and place.

Location, the heart of geography, provides a mechanism to integrate transdisciplinary knowledge and supports development of nuanced solutions. With strength in areas such as urban climatology and Geographical Information Science (GIS), the school is uniquely poised to address issues such as the impact of climate change on urban sustainability and population health, how to best use novel geographic or map data for smart urban design, how active transportation is a mechanism for sustainability, and the impacts of human disturbance on earth systems, plants, and wildlife.

It is a great time to consider a degree in geographical sciences or urban planning. Growth in geographical data (from cell phones, satellites, and GoogleMaps) has increased job market demand for people trained with spatial skills and job growth is expected to continue. Read more

Students interested in planning will find that enthusiasm for innovation at an all-time high. Popular culture is making the link between smart design, health, and happiness and with a degree in planning you can transform cities and lives.

We are excited to continue to build opportunities for collaboration within ASU, throughout Arizona, and across the globe. I look forward to getting to know many members of our community this year and invite you to get to know us by exploring our website.


Trisalyn Nelson
Director and Foundation Professor