Lead Author Timon McPhearson, Professor of Urban Ecology and Director of the Urban Systems Lab, Available for Interviews

Timon McPhearson, Professor of Urban Ecology and Director of the Urban Systems Lab

New York, February 28, 2022 -- Researchers at the Urban Systems Lab contributed to a historic report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) based on the contributions from Working Group II. The report, “AR6 Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”, assesses the vulnerability of social-economic and natural systems to climate change, negative and positive consequences of climate change, and options for adapting to it. The report features a chapter on climate adaptation for urban areas. It considers the vulnerabilities and capacity of natural and human systems to adapt to climate change as well as options for creating a sustainable future through an equitable and integrated approach to both mitigation and adaptation.

Dr. Timon McPhearson, Professor of Urban Ecology and Director of the Urban Systems Lab is a Lead Author for the IPCC. Dr. McPhearson is working especially with IPCC WGII for AR6 assessing climate adaptation pathways as well as contributing to WGI and WGIII through collaborations that examine future climate risks and solutions in cities and urban regions.

“It's clear that cities can be drivers of climate solutions. Our report shows that more and more cities are developing adaptation plans. But many of these have yet to be implemented. Underlining the importance of acting now to bring climate resilience squarely into urban development plans and actions,” said McPhearson.

Visiting Scholar Dr. Luis Ortiz worked closely with Dr. McPhearson and members of the IPCC WGII to develop new heat risk assessment models used to evaluate the multiple impacts on health, well-being, as well as the economic burden of air conditioning adoption in urban areas.

Members of the Lab (Zbigniew Grabowski, Pablo Herreros-Cantis, Christopher Kennedy, Ahmed Mustafa, Veronica Olivotto, Luis Ortiz, Jennifer Ventrella) also contributed to developing a synthesis table in Chapter 6, “Urban Climate Resilient Development”. The table presents results from a literature review and synthesis of key research on the ways nature-based solutions can contribute to climate resilient development by addressing a range of social-ecological and technological challenges from temperature, air quality, and stormwater regulation, to mitigating the impacts of coastal and riverine flooding, to enhancing water provisioning, food production and productivity.

USL colleagues Dr. Tischa A. Muñoz-Erickson, research scientist at USDA Forest Service and Dr. Pablo Méndez Lázaro, Professor at University of Puerto Rico, developed a special case study focused on the impacts of climate change on San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as adaptation pathways to improve resiliency.

The Urban Systems Lab is an interdisciplinary research, design and practice space at The New School that provides new insight into developing more equitable, resilient, and sustainable cities. The Lab’s work advances cutting edge science, data visualization, and computation to develop systemic solutions to social and environmental challenges driving inequity and injustice in urban areas. We bring together designers, urban ecologists, scientists, researchers and policymakers with the goal to improve the lives of those most vulnerable, and to enhance decision making and science communication from local to global scales.

Founded in 1919, The New School was established to advance academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. A century later, The New School remains at the forefront of innovation in higher education, inspiring approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students to challenge the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The university welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and public programs that encourage open discourse and social engagement. Through our online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.


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Media Contacts:

The New School
Merrie Snead
[email protected]

Urban Systems Lab
Chris Kennedy
[email protected]


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