C6: Urban Heat Islands: A Systems Approach to Boundary Spanning

As we move into a future of increased extreme weather and greater uncertainty about environmental change variability, science will need to more effectively support policy and government decision-making. Ultimately, the system of boundary spanning between science and policy must change. However, by its very nature, systems change is complex, non-linear and very difficult to accomplish. Using Steve Waddell’s four archetypes of societal change strategies, we will look specifically at how the issues of Urban Heat Islands inspire action by these complimentary, yet unique systems players. The different approaches by these archetypes—innovators, activists, institutions, and organizers—are all important and engage the broader system in unique ways. Engaging with each other, we hope to learn how to more deliberately design effective boundary spanning that serves the needs of citizens.



  • Jason Kessler, Director, Global Knowledge Initiative

  • Marc Imhoff, Visiting Research Scientist, University of Maryland's Earth System Science
    Interdisciplinary Center 

  • James Favors, Earth Science Division Partnerships Director, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Kurt Schickman, Executive Director, Global Cool Cities Alliance 
  • Stephen Burrington, Executive Director, Groundwork USA