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Session 4 – 10.4.2010 The human-environment system: A conceptual framework (Speaker: B.L. Turner II)

The concept of coupled human-environment systems (also termed social-ecological systems, coupled human and natural systems, and coupled human-biophysical systems) recognizes that the social, economic, and cultural well-being of people depends not only on their relations with other people, but with the physical and biological environment as well.

Speaker Bio: Billie Turner
- B. L. (Bill) Turner II took his B.A. and M.A. degrees in geography from the University of Texas at Austin in 1968 and 1969 respectively, and his Ph.D. in geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1974. At ASU he is the Gilbert F. White Professor of Environment and Society. Turner came to ASU after 28 years in the Graduate School of Geography, Clark University, where he was Higgins Professor of Environment and Society, served as Director of that School for more than decade, and helped to create and administer the George Perkins Marsh Institute, which engages a range of human-environment problems. He previously held appointments at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Professor Turner is currently engaged in land change science focused especially on deforestation and sustainability in the southern Yucatán. Turner is a recipient of Distinguished Research Honors from the Association of American Geographers (1995) and the Centenary Medal, Royal Scottish Geographical Society (1996), among other honors. He is former Guggenheim Fellow (1981) and Fellow of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences (1994). He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1995, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998, and the inaugural class of the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences in 2008. Professor Turner continues to engage in large range of research activities focused on the theme of human-environment relationships. See
Required reading from the Sustainability Science book
Chapter 1.3 The Human-Environment System
Supplemental readings from the Reader
1) Lüdeke, M. K. B., G. Petschel-Held, and H. J. Schellnhuber. 2004. Syndromes of global change: The first panoramic view. GAIA 13(1):42-49. 2) Schaldach, R, and J. A. Priess. 2008. Integrated models of the land system: A review of modeling approaches on the regional to global scale. Living Reviews in Landscape Research 2, 1.
Supplemental Readings from moderator/discussant Elizabeth King, Princeton Univ
Supplemental Readings from Cambridge students
Speaker Presentations
Billie Turner speaker, Elizabeth King moderator, Cambridge student commentary
Video Recording: The human environment system: A conceptual framework
Summary of Session 4 - Coupled Human and Environmental Systems
Summary of comments and reflections on Session 4 prepared by: Cambridge Student Group (Harvard University / MIT) (Matthew Aruch, Alicia Harley, David Parker, Amar Patnaik, Todd Schenk, Berit Ullrich, Liz Walker)