Santa Fe Institute


July 25- August 5, 2016 - Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Artwork by Joerael Elliott 

The GSSS provides an intensive two-week program on urban sustainability. This school is available for postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, scientists, policy makers, and business professionals. The school is for participants who seek background and hands-on experience to help them prepare to conduct interdisciplinary research in areas related to urban sustainability.

Economic growth and human development are properties of urbanizing human societies. But cities also concentrate most of the world’s human population and the strongest challenges to local and global sustainability, related to increased resource consumption, pollution, wastes, and many forms of impact on biodiversity, both within and beyond urban areas. Thus, it is often said that the battle for sustainable development will be won or lost in cities.

The Global Sustainability Summer School 2016 will be focused on cities, urbanization and their connection to problems of global sustainability.

The school is organized around a set of interdisciplinary, cutting-edge lectures and discussions that will focus on many interdependent aspects of cities, starting with the nature of their social and economic networks and their role in economic growth and human development, their demands on resource consumption and the characteristics of new technologies that may shift the balance between the benefits and impacts of development. The school will provide an empirically-based assessment of the challenges to sustainability connected to cities and create an integrated view of what it would take for emerging scientific perspectives and new technologies to solve the issue of sustainable development of human societies.

All activities will be conducted in English. Participants are expected to attend the entire session.

Additional information regarding logistics, faculty, and program schedule can be found on the GSSS wiki.

Applicants are welcome from all countries. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Enrollment is limited.


Luis Bettencourt, GSSS Director
Santa Fe Institute Resident Faculty

Christa Brelsford, Water and Socioeconomics
Santa Fe Institute Postdoctoral Fellow

Kathleen Cagney, Health and Sociology
Professor of Sociology, The University of Chicago

Jennifer Dunne, Ecological Networks in the Arctic
Professor, Vice President for Science, Santa Fe Institute

Sean Green, Technology and Social Dynamics
Interim CEO of the Waste to Resource Fund

Edward Mazria, The Energy Transformation Necessary for Buildings
Founder/CEO, Architecture 2030

Audrey de Nazelle, Air Pollution in Cities and Impacts on Health
Lecturer, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London

Peter Newman, Urban Sustainability
Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University

Dan O’Brien, Sociology and Big Data
Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Criminology and Criminal Justice, Northeastern University

Matt Petersen, Reducing the environmental footprint of cities
Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Los Angeles

Hans Joachim (John) Schellnhuber
SFI External Professor, Santa Fe Institute 
Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Jessika Trancik, Evolution of technology and its impact on climate change
External Professor, Science Steering Committee, Santa Fe Institute
Assistant Professor in Energy Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Engineering Systems Division


 Tuition for the program is $2,000 and is inclusive of participation and course materials. Participants are responsible for their housing and travel costs.

SFI will provide daily shuttles from three local and affordable hotels in town. Students are also encouraged to share rooms. 

Limited partial tuition waivers are available and will be given after acceptance based on merit and need.


Applications are accepted from postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, scientists, policy makers, and business professionals. Proficiency in English is required.

Application Requirements
In addition to completing an online application:

- A current CV. Include a clear description of your current educational or professional status, and a list of publications, if any.

- A statement of your current research interests and comments about why you wish to attend the school (suggested length: one page).

- One letter of recommendation. The letter should be sent independently of your application. Please inform your recommender that an email from "" will be sent to them with their password and instructions for uploading their letter of reference into your application file. IT IS THE APPLICANT'S RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THAT THE LETTERS HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED BY THE MARCH 1 DEADLINE.

To Apply

The online application site will be open from November 15, 2015 through March 15, 2016. The deadline for letters of recommendation is March 15, 2016. No late applications will be accepted. Applicants will be notified by e-mail regarding the status of their applications in mid March, 2016.

For further information, please contact or Juniper Lovato at (505) 946-2726.