North America Sustainability hub

The STEPS North American hub is carrying out transdisciplinary research focused on improving the management of water resources and water resource-related risks (such as flooding and scarcity) in urbanized areas. The hub is hosted by Arizona State University (ASU) working in partnership with the National Laboratory for Sustainability Sciences (LANCIS), housed at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). It is part of the STEPS Pathways to Sustainability Global Consortium.





This is a NSF-Coupled Natural Human Systems project (Grant No. 1414052; PI H. Eakin), implemented in collaboration between ASU, LANCIS- National Autonomous University of Mexico City (UNAM) and local stakeholders in Mexico City.

The MEGADAPT project will address the challenge of reducing vulnerability under climate change to increased flooding, chronic water scarcity, and associated health outcomes in Mexico City, one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas.

Residents, businesses and public agencies in megacities respond to the impact of flooding, scarcity and health outcomes in different and often uncoordinated ways, which can further affect the hydro-climatic system. The project produces an integrated dynamic model – MEGADAPT – for use in Mexico City, with the potential to be applied elsewhere.

Find out more (A.R.T. website)

‘Pathways’ Network: Transformations to Sustainability

Hallie Eakin (ASU) and Fiona Marshall (STEPS) at the inception workshop in Argentina

This is the first project conducted as collaboration between ASU/UNAM and the STEPS Centre.

The primary goal of the project is to use “Transformation Labs” (T-Labs) to open up debate and encourage social transformations in Xochimilco, a wetland in Mexico City.  The wetland provides ecosystem services, including that of flood regulation, as well as has important cultural value as a home to one of the most diverse and productive agricultural systems – the chinampas.

During the 20th century, rapid urbanization of the city affected the water resources of, and livelihoods within, the wetlands. Yet despite decades of public policy and international recognition regarding the issues in Xochimilco, there is still no effective strategy for addressing the urbanization of the wetland.  The T-Labs are intended to create a space for dialogue, encourage new collaborations and develop a shared decision platform for the community to address urbanization.

This project involves Arizona State University (ASU), the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Laboratorio Nacional de Ciencias de la Sostenibilidad (LANCIS) and Instituto de Investigaciones en Matemáticas Aplicadas y en Sistemas (IIMAS).

It is part of the ‘Pathways’ Network involving all the hubs in the STEPS Global Consortium.

Find out more about the ‘Pathways’ Network.

Key contacts

Hallie Eakin (ASU), STEPS hub co-ordinator

Lakshmi Charli-Joseph (LANCIS-UNAM), Mexico

David Manuel-Navarrete (ASU)

Mario Siqueiros-García (IIMAS-UNAM)

Rebecca Shelton (ASU)