Actionable Science for Urban Sustainability (AScUS-2020)

An (Un)conference on Urban Sustainability to Generate Actionable Solutions

June 3-5, 2020
IE University
Segovia, Spain

The 2020 Actionable Science for Urban Sustainability (AScUS) —pronounced ‘ask us'—(un)conference emphasizes the urgent need for the production of actionable and multidisciplinary knowledge to tackle urban sustainability challenges across the globe. It will serve as a convergence platform for researchers and practitioners of all backgrounds (from political science and psychology to architecture and engineering) focused on the development of actionable and scalable solutions and their transfer to implementers.

Image credit: Carlos Delgado, CC BY-SA 3.0

AScUS-2020 is a participants-driven (un)conference with the mission to engage attendees to stimulate in-depth discussions. The in-person event will not feature any individual presentations; instead, all contributions from participants will have to be submitted online ahead of time. Discussion topics will also be selected by the participants ahead of the event.

The (un)conference will start with a virtual component several weeks before the conference, when the participants will be expected to submit their contribution, to start generating discussions and sharing knowledge among participants. See below for details. The (un)conference will then culminate with a two and a half day event at IE University in Segovia that can be attended physically or remotely.

Interested participants are invited to submit abstracts (300 words) for their contribution by March 2nd. Discussion topics (50-200 words) will be invited to be submitted by April 15 Note that we require all participants to register for the (un)conference by May 1 since the event officially starts with the virtual activities.

Please submit your abstract here by March 2nd, 2020

Important Dates

Abstract submission deadline: March 2
Author notification: March 15
Discussion topic submission: April 15
Contribution submission: April 15
Final registration deadline: May 1
Pre-conference survey: May 1
Start pre-conference virtual activities: May 15
Conference: June 3-5

Registration fees (includes 75 EUR AScUS annual membership fee):

Full: 250 EUR
Virtual only: 150 EUR
Discounted full: 150 EUR *
Discounted remote: 75 EUR *

* Discounted fees apply to students and participants residing in middle-income countries. Special considerations will be given to participants from low-income countries. We use the World Bank's Atlas method to classify countries.

A limited number of scholarships are available to cover some of the registration costs for discounted participants. Please contact us on a needs basis:

(Un)conference In-Person and Remote Format

If your abstract is accepted, you will be asked to submit a final contribution by April 15 based on this abstract. Your final contribution could be in the form of a paper, a video, a poster, or any other format you prefer. This contribution will be shared digitally amongst all conference participants as part of the pre-conference program. Unlike a traditional conference, there will be NO individual presentations at the conference but instead a space for discussion and activities which will (partly) be based on the contributions.

By April 15, participants will also be given the chance to submit discussion topics that all participants will vote on. Note that the final registration deadline is set to May 1 since the conference includes many pre-conference activities and we need to know the final number of participants by that date.

A pre-conference survey will then be sent to group people based on common interest (e.g., an engineer seeks to discuss with a political scientist). All participants will also be given access to the contributions from all participants that were submitted by April 15. Two weeks before the conference, the groups will be asked to meet virtually.

At the conference, all participants (in-person and remote) will join in together the first morning. For the next two half-days, discussion sessions will occur, both in-person and remotely, on the topics selected by the participants ahead of time and run by a session moderator. Every discussion session will lead to a Path to Action document that will be posted on the conference website at the end of the conference. In the last half-day, all participants will gather again together for a final discussion.

Details on the format will be posted / updated before the conference.

General (Un)conference Topics

The (un)conference is not limited to any one discipline or any particular topics, but we are listing a few topics of potential interest:

Sustainability and Resilience Metrics
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Infrastructure Modeling and Design
Policy and Governance towards Urban Sustainability
Urban Ecology
Human Behavior and Psychology related to Urban Sustainability
Urban Geography
Environmental Justice
Circular Economy at the Urban-Scale
Rebound Effects
Life Cycle Design in the Built Environment
Sustainable Cities: Open Source Data, Big Data, and Data Mining
Data-Driven Urban Design
Urban and Hinterland Relationships
Education in Urban Sustainability Science


Image credits: Carlos Delgado and others, CC BY-SA 4.0

The conference will be held at IE University's campus in Segovia, a 25 minute train ride from Madrid (45 minutes from the airport). The old city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring among other attractions, one of the world's largest Roman aqueducts and the castle that inspired Disney's Snow White. For more information see:

Typical costs

Transportation from the airport (by train) - 20 EUR
Transportation from the airport (by taxi) - 120 EUR
3 Star hotel - 70 EUR / night
5 Star hotel - 100 EUR / night

Organizing Committee

The conference is organized by a group of researchers based in Asia, North America, Europe and Africa, who met as part of the Sustainable Urban Systems (SUS) section of the International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE). While it is an independent event, the (un)conference is organized in close collaboration with Metabolism of Cities. Feel free to contact any of them for questions related to the (un)conference. The organizing committee is composed of:

  • Matan Mayer (host) | IE University | mmayer at:
  • Shauhrat Chopra | City University of Hong Kong | sschopra at:
  • Sybil Derrible | University of Illinois at Chicago | derrible at:
  • Paul Hoekman | Metabolism of Cities | paul at:
  • Carolin Bellstedt | Metabolism of Cities | carolin at:
  • Aristide Athanassiadis | Metabolism of Cities | aristide at:
  • Eugene Mohareb | University of Reading | e.mohareb at:
  • Kangkang Tong | Princeton University | kangkang.tong at:
  • Anne Ventura | University Gustave Eiffel | anne.ventura at: