Grand Challenges

Old Main at the University of Arizona

Arizona faculty in cross-campus workshops have defined four overarching grand challenges aligned with existing university research strengths. These grand challenges are not intended to exist in silos and are, by their nature, integrated and transdisciplinary:

Redress Inequality/Injustice in re-envisioning the Built Environment

  1. Redressing inequality and injustice through the built environment
  2. Guaranteeing equality and justice in human-environ interactions in the built environment
  3. Provide equitable interior urban spaces to meet the basic human conditions e.g. housing, water, etc.
  4. Accessibility and connectedness

Create Resilient and Efficient Urban and Rural Systems

  1. Redesigning systems for a more resilient future (with fewer resources)
  2. Design the built environment to adapt to and mitigate climate change, optimize livability, and movement
  3. Create efficient urban food systems
  4. Achieve net-zero resource consumption in the built environment
  5. Integrate water management on multiple scales
  6. Decarbonization, dematerialization, and circular metabolisms

Design for Optimal Heath

  1. Link health, wellness & social interactions to built environment design & operations to address major health needs across age, SES, disabilities, & occupations
  2. Design human-machine interfacing to optimize both work efficiency & human health
  3. Aging with human dignity and independence through built-environments that promote connected community (connect to Health)
  4. Design for health in increasingly extreme environments

Enable Innovation Through Better Decision-Making & Data Analysis

  1. Create decision support systems that effectively integrate public values & scientific information
  2. Interdisciplinary, mixed-method, data-driven evaluation to foster innovation in the Built Environment
  3. Promote evidence-based governance 
  4. Leverage big data analytics for decision-making