GEAT Seminar Spring 2018: Dr. Karen Seto January 19

The GEAT department welcomes Dr. Karen Seto from Yale University as our next seminar speaker.

Title: Future urban expansion and implications for building energy demand and global croplands

When: Friday, January 19 @ 4:10 pm
Where: 152 Science Hall

Abstract: This talk will draw on recent research that examines the implications of future urban expansion on global croplands and energy demand by buildings. Using both top-down and bottom-up approaches and scenarios, we examine operational building energy use, specifically, for heating and cooling. Globally, the energy use for heating and cooling by mid-century will increase between 5% to 40% over the 2010 estimate. Most of this variability is due to the uncertainty in future urban densities of rapidly growing cities in Asia and, particularly, in China.

Our results also show that urban expansion will result in significant cropland loss in Asia and Africa, where much of the cropland that will be lost is more than twice as productive as national averages. Asia will experience the highest absolute loss in cropland while African countries will experience the highest percentage loss of cropland. Globally, the croplands that are likely to be lost were responsible for 3-4% of worldwide crop production in 2000. Urban expansion is expected to take place on cropland that is 1.77 times more productive than the global average.

Bio: Karen Seto is the Frederick C. Hixon Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science, Senior Associate Dean for Research and Director of Doctoral Studies at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. An urban and land change scientist, the overarching objective of her research is to understand how urbanization will affect the planet. Her research uses a combination of satellite remote sensing, socioeconomic and biophysical data, field research, and modeling methods in order to characterize urban land-use; understand the drivers of urban land-use change; forecast urban expansion; and assess the large-scale environmental consequences of urban expansion. She has pioneered methods to reconstruct land-use dynamics with satellite data and to forecast the expansion of urban areas.

Professor Seto was one of two Coordinating Lead Authors for the urban chapter of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, and has served on many U.S. National Research Council Committees, including the NRC Committee on Pathways to Urban Sustainability. From 2000 to 2008, she was on the faculty at Stanford University, where she held joint appointments in the Woods Institute for the Environment and the School of Earth Sciences. She is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. She has a PhD in Geography from Boston University.