Metabolism of Cities Living Lab


Urban metabolism is a reference to the city as a living organism. It is often used in climate adaptation planning to develop decision-support models for environmental policy recommendations, and sustainable design approaches to tackle climate vulnerabilities. 

Metabolism of Cities Living Lab will apply unique participatory planning tools to generate knowledge from communities consistently overlooked in traditional development planning scenarios. The aim is to build scalable solutions, create and share knowledge between the cities of San Diego County, Imperial County, Mexicali and Tecate, and co-develop technologies for underrepresented communities. 

Metabolism of Cities Living Lab

The diverse team of geographers, economists, psychologists, public health and public affairs experts, in partnership with city and county officials, will work with community leaders to determine how local assets can be utilized to catalyze economic, social and environmental justice. 

Underrepresented communities possess critical experience, insights, and knowledge for addressing systems failures and driving innovation.  The team seeks to leverage community assets and knowledge to advance equitable engagement, urban sustainability and shared wealth creation in cities while helping them localize the United Nations’ sustainable development goals by 2030. 

Learn more about Metabolism of Cities Living Lab

Big Ideas Champion

  • Gabriela Fernandez, Ph.D., Geography
  • Ming Hsiang-Tsou, Ph.D., Geography
  • Carol Maione, Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering
  • Carlos R. Herrera, Ph.D., History, Borderlands Institute
  • Araceli Saucedo, Ph.D., Economics
  • Estralita Martin, Ph.D., Student Affairs, Assistant Deans
  • Eric Young, City Mayor’s Office, Community Engagement
  • Sharon Gill, Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities, UNEP, Paris
  • Penelope Quintana, Ph.D., Public Health
  • Bruce Appleyard, Ph.D., Public Affairs 
  • Heather Corliss, Ph.D., Public Health
  • Sheryl Walker, Southern California Association of Governments

Team Members

  • Shirley Bonillas, City of Brawley
  • Alexis Brown, City of Imperial
  • Abdelhamid Hamed , Graduate Student
  • Kamran Monadi, Graduate Student
  • Christian Mejia, Graduate Student
  • Harmit Chima, Graduate Student
  • Dustin Harrison, Graduate Student
  • Karenina Zaballa, Graduate Student
  • Harrison Yang, Graduate Student
  • Carl McNair, Director, Ronald McNair Scholars Program Partnership
  • Marciela Pierda, City Manager of El Centro
  • Keely Bamberg, University Development
  • Coleen Celmentson, San Diego Planning and Land Use
  • Jane Clough, San Diego Association of Governments
  • Alma Beatriz Navarro, Ph.D., Economics and International Relations, Baja CA
  • Frank Arzate Barajas, Ph.D., Secretary General of the Tijuana Center Delegation 
  • Julio César Lopez Gaeta, Ph.D., Social and Political Sciences, Baja CA
  • Antonio Amézaga, Tecate City Council
  • Lennor Johnson, Student Services
  • Victor Nava, Development, SDSU Imperial Valley
  • Maria Ferreiro, University Development
  • Lidda Tereshenko, Ph.D., Academy of Sciences, Ukraine
  • Eun jeong Ko, Ph.D., Social Work