Global Urban Sustainability on a Metacoupled Planet

09:00-11:00, May 31 2022, CST

Video for the presentation.

A human-environment scientist and sustainability scholar, Prof. Jianguo "Jack" Liu holds the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability, is University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University and serves as director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability. Prof. Liu takes a holistic approach to addressing complex human-environmental challenges through systems integration, such as the integration of ecology with social sciences, policy and advanced technologies. He is particularly keen to connect seemingly unconnected issues, for example, telecoupling, divorce and environmental sustainability. His work has been published in journals such as Nature and Science and has been widely covered by the international news media. He also has received many awards, such as being elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He was first named in the Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers List in 2018.


Urban sustainability is largely shaped by external resource input because urban areas are hotspots of global resource use and often with limited internal resources. There is a strong need to systematically understand the importance of external resources near and far from urban areas. This talk will apply the integrated framework of metacoupling (human-nature interactions within as well as between adjacent and distant systems) to analyze the complexity of a key resource (freshwater) for urban sustainability. The analyses at the global level provide big-picture insights and those at the individual city level offer detailed information for sustainability.