'Discover Phoenix' invites students to engage with their community


August 21, 2012

Arizona State University is offering the “Discover Phoenix” series on the Downtown Phoenix campus to help students engage with the thriving community that surrounds them.     

The program exposes students to a wide range of cultural, sports and entertainment options near campus. This year’s lineup features events ranging from a community bike ride to a comedy showcase to arts and cultural festivals. Download Full Image

“This year, we strove to make the series eclectic, offering something for the variety of tastes and interests we know students have,” said Liz Smith, outreach director for the university vice provost’s office on the Downtown Phoenix campus. “The season kicks off with a local favorite, the First Friday Art Walk, and ends with ice skating in the desert at CityScape – and stops at numerous iconic local landmarks along the way.”

The series begins as ASU launches the Urban Devil smartphone app, designed by students in the New Media Innovation Lab at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to help students find things to do on campus and in the surrounding area.

The Downtown Phoenix campus is home to close to 10,000 full-time students pursuing academic programs in the College of Health Solutions, the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, the College of Public Programs, the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, the School of Letters and Sciences and the Cronkite School.

Information on each event can be found on the Urban Devil app or at urbandevil.asu.edu. All events are open to ASU students, faculty and staff.

The Discover Phoenix series starts Sept. 7 with the monthly First Friday Art Walk. Subsequent events will take place throughout the semester.

The full schedule:

First Friday Art Walk
7 p.m., Sept. 7
Arizona Science Center, 600 E. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85004

Start at the Arizona Science Center and make your way to Roosevelt Row to experience the best of downtown Phoenix’s cutting-edge arts scene.

Critical Mass Bike Outing
7 p.m., Sept. 28
Steele Indian School Park, 300 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85012

Meet bicyclists from around the Valley at this event to spread awareness about bicycles and cars sharing the road. Relax after the ride with free food in Civic Space Park.

Herberger Art Festival
noon, Oct. 6
Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix, AZ 85004

The third annual Festival of the Arts in downtown Phoenix features performances by local theater groups as well as live music, dance, film shorts and food.

Grand Avenue Festival
noon, Oct. 20
Oasis on Grand, 1501 NW Grand Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85007

Experience the revitalized Lower Grand Avenue Arts and Small Business District as participating businesses celebrate art, culture and adaptive re-use.

Healthful Cooking Demo
7 p.m., Oct. 30
Fair Trade Café, 424 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004

Ingrid Hirtz, your “community cook,” shares recipes you can prepare right in your residence hall with fresh, local ingredients.

Comedy Showcase: Jill Bryan
8 p.m., Nov. 28, 8 p.m.
Stand Up Live, 50 W. Jefferson St. #200, Phoenix, AZ 85003

Check out comedy headliner Jill Bryan, the brains and voice behind the weekly segment “What a Mouth” on the nationally syndicated “Lu Valentino Show.”

Ice Skating in the Desert
7 p.m., Dec. 8
CityScape, 1 E. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85004

Lace up and enjoy seasonal ice skating at CityScape. Follow that with holiday shopping and dining to make it a triple axel.

Reporter , ASU Now

480-727-5176

Multiple factors, including climate change, led to ancient Maya collapse


August 21, 2012

A new analysis of complex interactions between humans and the environment preceding the 9th century collapse and abandonment of the Central Maya Lowlands in the Yucatán Peninsula points to a series of events – some natural, like climate change; some human-made, including large-scale landscape alterations and shifts in trade routes – that have lessons for contemporary decision-makers and sustainability scientists.

In their revised model of the collapse of the ancient Maya, social scientists B.L. “Billie” Turner and Jeremy “Jerry” A. Sabloff provide an up-to-date, human-environment systems theory in which they put together the degree of environmental and economic stress in the area that served as a trigger or tipping point for the Central Maya Lowlands. Photo of the ancient site of Becan in the Central Maya Lowlands Download Full Image

The co-authors described the Classic Period of the Lowland Maya (CE 300-800) as a “highly complex civilization organized into networks of city-states,” in their perspective article published Aug. 21 in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The ancient Maya in this hilly and riverless region confronted long-term climatic aridification, and experienced decadal to century-level or longer droughts, amplified by the landscape changes that they made including large-scale deforestation indicated in the paleoecological record.

Previous to the collapse, the Maya occupied the area for more than 2,000 years, noted the authors, “a time in which they developed a sophisticated understanding of their environment, built and sustained intensive production [and water] systems, and withstood at least two long-term episodes of aridity.”

They document the human-environment interactions that were severely stressed during the 9th century arid phase.

“This environmental stress was complemented by a shift in commercial trade from across the peninsula to around it, which reduced the economy of the ruling elite to keep up the livelihood infrastructure to prevent the tipping point,” said Turner, a Distinguished Sustainability Scientist with the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University.

“The decision was made to vacate the central lowlands rather than maintain the investment. This theory is not only consistent with the data on collapse but on the failure of the central lowlands to be reoccupied subsequently,” said Turner.

“It acknowledges the role of climate change and anthropogenic environmental change, while also recognizing the role of commerce and choice,” he said.

Co-author Sabloff noted that rather than a monolithic period of collapse, there were many variable patterns, which is consistent with the thesis Turner and he advance.

“The only way to explain the variability is to take a complex systems view,” said Sabloff, president of the Santa Fe Institute.

“The Maya case lends insights for the use of paleo- and historical analogs to inform contemporary global environment change and sustainability,” wrote the authors. “Balance between the extremes of generalization and context is required.

“Climate change, specifically aridity, was an important exogenous forcing on human-environment conditions throughout the Maya Lowlands,” they concluded. “Complex system interactions generated the collapse and depopulation of the (Central Maya Lowlands) and fostered its long-term abandonment. This lesson – increasingly voiced in the literature – should be heeded in the use of analogs for sustainability science.”

In addition to his role as a Distinguished Sustainability Scientist with ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, B. L. “Billie” Turner is the Gilbert F. White Professor of Environment and Society in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, an academic unit in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and teaches in ASU’s School of Sustainability. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Archeologist Jeremy “Jerry” A. Sabloff heads up the Santa Fe Institute, a nonprofit research center that seeks improved scientific understanding of complex adaptive systems in nature and human society. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. 

ASU media contact:
Carol Hughes, carol.hughes@asu.edu
480-965-6375 direct line | 480-254-3753 cell

SFI media contact:
John German, jdg@santafe.edu
505-946-2798