Building capacity around green infrastructure for cities in the Sonoran Desert

March 31, 2022
Binational team of faculty and students from the UArizona and UNISON at UNISON facilities.

Binational team of faculty and students from the UArizona and UNISON at UNISON facilities.

A team of researchers and students from the University of Arizona (UArizona) is visiting Hermosillo, Mexico this week to help design an urban park for the city. Dr. Adriana Zuniga-Teran, Assistant Professor with the Udall Center and the School of Geography, Development & Environment, is leading the UArizona team, along with Dr. Sandra Bernal, Lecturer at the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning and in partnership with Joaquin Murrieta, of Tucson’s Watershed Management Group.

The visit is part of a larger student exchange project in partnership with the University of Sonora (UNISON) to build capacity around green infrastructure. The overall project is led by Dr. Jose Manuel Ochoa from UNISON. The main goal is to train future built -environment professionals in best practices for green infrastructure to help cities located in hot and arid climates adapt to climate change. This project is funded by the 100K Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund

The President of the UNISON inaugurated their working days at this institution. For this event, Zuniga’s opening remarks were captured in a local press release, as well as the UNISON media. “Building capacity of future built environment professionals around green infrastructure is critical for achieving livable cities and adapting to climate change,” said Zuniga. Addressing the students, she added “think of nature as your ally for building more livable cities… take this knowledge with you and use it in your careers.”

In March 2022, 20 UNISON students and 7 faculty members visited the University of Arizona to attend lectures and tours of green infrastructure sites at different scales (city, neighborhood, and household). Tucson Water staff including Fernando Molina and Max Alvarez, along with Robert Villa from the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill and Brad Lancaster offered tours to different green infrastructure sites across the city.

A group of French interns from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) joined the activities, enriching the student exchange experience. The Udall Center, along with the UArizona Global and the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture sponsored events planned for the visit, including a reception dinner hosted by the university.