Elizabeth M. Cook

Elizabeth M. Cook

Assistant Professor in Environmental Science


Environmental Science


404C Altschul Hall


Assistant Professor Elizabeth Cook is an urban ecosystem scientist with interdisciplinary expertise in social and natural sciences, including ecology, cultural geography, and sustainability sciences. Her research focuses on future urban sustainability and human-environment feedbacks. She seeks to advance a broader understanding of cities through the integration of trans-disciplinary frameworks, mixed methods, and a comparative approach with examples from cities in Latin and North America.

Elizabeth earned her PhD at Arizona State University where she was an NSF-funded Fellow in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program. She was previously awarded a Chilean National Commission on Science and Technology (CONICYT) Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia and served as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Urban Ecology in the Environmental Studies Department and the Urban Systems Lab at The New School where she taught Climate Justice and Urban Ecology.

  • PhD - Plant Biology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
  • BA - Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

  • Urban ecosystem ecology
  • Sustainability and resilience of urban social-ecological-technological systems
  • Transdisciplinary methods
  • Participatory future visioning and scenario development in urban climate governance and planning
  • Urban ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem responses to urban pollutants and urban forest restoration
  • Climate justice in urban communities
  • Cross-city comparisons in North and Latin America and Caribbean cities

  • Visiting Scientist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook New York
  • Urban Systems Lab, The New School, New York, New York

Cook, E.M. and T. McPhearson. In Press. A Transdisciplinary Urban Ecology Approach to Complex Urban Systems. In Anderson. P., Douglas, I., Goode, D., Houck, M., Maddox, D., Nagendra, H., Puay Yok, T. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Urban Ecology, 2nd Edition. Taylor and Francis Press

Hale, R.L., E.M. Cook, B.J. Beltrán. 2019. Cultural ecosystem services identified from social media data across diverse social-ecological landscapes. Ecological Indicators. 107 (105580) doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.105580

Iwaniec, D.M.**, E.M. Cook**, O. Barbosa, N.B. Grimm. 2019. Framing urban sustainability transformations: More than just big change. Sustainability. 11(573): 1-10. doi:10.3390/su11030573
**Contributed equally

Corman, J.R., S.L. Collins, E.M. Cook, X. Dong, L.A. Gherardi, N.B. Grimm, R.L. Hale, T. Lin, O. Sala, J. Ramos, L.G. Reichmann. 2018. Foundations of ecosystem science: Legacy of a classic paper (Odum 1969). Ecosystems. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-018-0316-3

Cook, E.M., R. Sponseller, N.B. Grimm, S.J. Hall. 2018. Mixed method approach to assess atmospheric nitrogen deposition in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. Environmental Pollution. 239: 617-630.

Grimm, N.B., E.M. Cook, R.L. Hale, D.M. Iwaniec. 2016. A broader framing of ecosystem services in cities: benefits and challenges of built, natural, or hybrid system function. In K.C. Seto, W.D. Solecki, C. Griffith (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Urbanization and Global Environmental Change. Routledge Press. 203-212.

Cook, E.M., S.J. Hall, and K.L. Larson. 2012. Residential landscapes as social-ecological systems: A synthesis of multi-scalar interactions between people and their home environment. Urban Ecosystems. 15: 19-52.

Cook, E.M., M. Berbés-Blázquez, R. Carrero, N.B. Grimm, D.M. Iwaniec, T. McPherason, P. Mendez-LazaroT. Muñoz-Erickson, A. Mustafa, L. Ortiz, J. Santos-Hernandez. 2019. The future of San Juan, Puerto Rico: Modeling bottom-up land use futures scenarios with diverse stakeholders. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY, USA. Oral Presentation.

Cook, E.M., P.E. Padgett, S.J. Hall. 2019. Long-term community composition shift of desert annual vegetation correlated to co-occurring pollutants in urban ecological airshed. CAP LTER All Scientists Meeting and Poster Symposium.

Cook, E.M., M. Berbés-Blázquez, M. Davidson, N.B. Grimm, D.M. Iwaniec, T. McPhearson, T. Muñoz-Erickson. 2018. Co-development of positive visions for future urban sustainability and resilience. 10-12 December. Reframing Urban Resilience Implementation: Aligning Sustainability and Resilience Conference. Barcelona Spain. Oral presentation.

Muñoz-Erickson, T.A., E.M. Cook^, R. Hobbins, M. Johnson, D.M. Iwaniec, L. Campbell. 2018. Knowledge systems for Urban Stewardship: Exploring the role of civic knowledge systems in environmental and sustainability governance. 10-14 April. American Association of Geographers (AAG). New Orleans, LA. Oral presentation. ^Presenter at AAG

Cook, E.M., D.M. Iwaniec, N.B. Grimm, O. Barbosa. 2018. Research-practice criteria for urban sustainability transformations. 10-14 April. American Association of Geographers. New Orleans, LA. Oral presentation.

Cook, E.M., O. Barbosa, M. Berbés-Blázquez, C. Cheng, M. Davidson, N.B. Grimm, D.M. Iwaniec, T. McPhearson. 2017 November 7-11. A social-ecological-technological systems (SETS) approach to urban ecosystem services. Future Earth. PECS II Place-based Transdisciplinary Research for Global Sustainability on Ecosystem Change and Society. Oaxaca City, Mexico. Oral Presentation.

Cook, E.M., D.M. Iwaniec, N.B. Grimm, O. Barbosa. 2017 August 21-23. Framing sustainability transformational change as more than just big change. Stockholm Resilience Conference. Stockholm, Sweden. Oral Presentation.

Cook, E.M., D.M. Iwaniec, J Sauer, NB Grimm, O Barbosa. 2017 August 6-11. Future urban sustainability in Valdivia, Chile: Assessing social-ecological-technological scenarios with ecosystem services. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, USA. Oral presentation.

  • Sustainability Research Network: Urban Resilience to Extreme Weather Events (UREx SRN), National Science Foundation, Scenarios Working Group co-lead, Latin American and Caribbean Cities co-lead
  • Sustainable Future Scenarios (SFS) Project and Carbon-Nitrogen Deposition Project (CNDep) of Central Arizona-Phoenix Long Term Ecological Research program, National Science Foundation, Senior Personnel
  • Framing urban resilience and sustainability governance in North and Latin American Cities
  • Urban ecosystem services and wetland ecosystem functioning in Valdivia, Chile
  • International Research Experience for Students, Research on Urban Resilience in Latin America, National Science Foundation funded project, co-PI
  • Million Trees NYC project with NYC Department of Parks and Recreation – Ecosystem responses to urban forest restoration
  • NYC Stormwater Resiliency Project – Town and Gown Project in collaboration with Department of Environmental Protection and Mayor’s Office of Resiliency, Brooklyn College, The New School, Stony Brook University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Jupitar, Colorado State University

  • Association of American Geographers (AAG)
  • Association of Women in Science (AWIS)
  • Ecological Society of America (ESA)
  • Sociedad Ecológia de Chile (SOCECOL)

  • Civic Liberal Arts Program Teaching Award, The Mellon Foundation, The New School (2018)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), National postdoctoral grant competition, Urban Sustainability and Global Change Lab, Instituto de Ciencias Ambientales y Evolutivas, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia (2014-2017)
  • Fellow in Urban Ecology, National Science Foundation (NSF) Interdisciplinary Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program, Arizona State University (2007-2014)
  • Best poster award, Central Arizona Phoenix Long Term Ecological Research All Scientists Meeting, Arizona State University (2012, 2013, 2014)
  • Lisa Dent Memorial Fellowship, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University (2012)