MultiSector Dynamics

About Us

Fundamental Science needs to inform pathways to more resilient Communities in a changing climate

2021 Urban Systems Workshop Report!

Workshop Report: Multi-Sectoral Urban Interactions

Urban areas and the supply networks that support their resource use are inherently multisectoral systems composed of infrastructural, environmental, and socio-institutional components. These systems are vulnerable to accelerating and interacting stresses from climate change, population growth, resource scarcity, and land-use pressure at the same time as they have a major…

About us

We are a multi-disciplinary collective of researchers based at universities and national labs across the United States. Our community of practice is made up of junior and senior natural and social scientists, engineers, economists, and other researchers working at the interface of human and natural systems.

The following mission statement, themes and science questions, and community development process are meant as starting points for the MultiSector Dynamics (MSD) community and will continuously evolve and be formally developed into an upcoming white paper.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to help establish a community of practice of MultiSector Dynamics (MSD) researchers in the United States and internationally.

The MSD community aims to improve our understanding of the co-evolution of human and natural systems over time, and build the next generation of tools that bridge across sectors (energy, water, land, economy) and scales (spatial, temporal), and offer a holistic view of systems-of-systems.

Using these tools we aim to identify and illuminate how key processes act across the multiple scales that shape the complex interactions and multidirectional feedbacks among human and Earth systems.

Themes and science questions

The following themes and questions are focal points of the science in our community:

MSD Insights for Adaptive Human Actions
What representation (resolution, included processes, and entities) is necessary for representing adaptive actions? Are there unique insights that only be achieved through an MSD perspective? Can they be leveraged to improve our understanding of a particular sector? How can MSD insights inform the management of interdependent actions across sectors?

Coupling & MSD Model Evaluation
How do cross-sectoral integration and coupling affect the uncertainty of projections? What are some best practices for coupling and model evaluation? How are key concepts (e.g., transformation, resilience, vulnerability) defined consistently across scales and sectors?

Dependencies & Interactions
How do different sectors interact across scales? What are the key processes controlling these interactions? How should the synergies or tradeoffs for sector interactions be identified? How do they evolve?

Stressors & Uncertainties
What determines key drivers, stressors, and uncertainties when considering a MSD perspective? How do these propagate through the system-of-systems? Can the path-dependencies of “failure” or “transformation” be identified, as well as any tipping points?

Community Development Process

The MSD community’s mission and focus is coalescing rapidly from insights generated by the participating members of the research community. In the coming year, members of the Community will have opportunities to work together to continue evolving our mission, themes, science questions, and synergistic activities. 

Recent MSD publications