Welcome to the MSD Working Group on Urban systems


Our vision is to integrate individual and aggregate human activity with earth system processes at different scales.

Cities are a key focal point for addressing questions related to system dependencies, tipping points, and uncertainties. Cities are also a fruitful context to explore model coupling across sectors and scales. However, efforts to combine multi-sector urban tools and insights to examine key uncertainties, interactions, and tradeoffs are still nascent. The urban working group will facilitate the development of these tools and ideas. We will explore questions like: What are the risks faced by the world’s urban areas as they seek to increase resilience and balance multiple objectives such as human health, economic development, and sustainable use of resources? How does urban change influence larger-scale infrastructure, economic, and Earth system processes, and how is urban evolution constrained by these larger systems? Which processes and couplings must be represented to understand multi-sector dynamics within cities?


Workshop Report: Multi-Sectoral Urban Interactions

Developing fundamental scientific understanding of urban heterogeneity and system interactions across sectors and scales is critical for mapping the resilience, sustainability, and equity implications of alternative future pathways. On July 2021 the MSD Urban Systems Working Group organized this workshop to provide a venue for coordination and identification of shared objectives, research themes, and major knowledge gaps, as well as developing a shared strategy for addressing these gaps. This report summarizes the outcomes of this workshop.

Check back for news on upcoming webinars.

Get Involved

The Urban Systems Working Group actively seeks new members from both within and outside the current MSD Community of Practice. The opportunity exists to join a growing team that will help shape the MSD CoP over the next years, enabling it to fill a key ‘translational gap’ identified in MSD Vision Report 2030. 

If you are a Multi Sector Dynamics researcher (or are interested in engaging more with the MSD community going forward) and are passionate about achieving societal impact through science and learning from practitioners/decisionmakers to further improve your science, then please feel free to reach out to us via the following form. Similarly, if you are a practitioner or decisionmaker (e.g. from a US federal, state, or local agency; an international organization; or an expert from an NGO, think-tank, or implementing institution) who may be interested in learning more about MSD research, please also feel free to connect with us.