Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Seto, Karen C.
Location Yale University
Primary Field Human Environmental Sciences
Secondary Field Environmental Sciences and Ecology
 Election Citation
Seto is an international leader in demonstrating the impacts of urbanization on global environmental change. She has developed spatially explicit techniques for quantifying urbanization and its impacts on prime agricultural lands, biodiversity, and carbon emissions with special attention to the large-scale, rapid urbanization in contemporary China.
 Research Interests
The overarching objective of Karen Seto's research is to understand the links among urbanization, global change, and sustainability. Using a combination of satellite remote sensing, socioeconomic and biophysical data, field research, and modeling methods, her work focuses on four themes: 1) measuring and characterizing urban land-use and its spatial structure; 2) modeling and understanding the drivers of urban land-use change; 3) forecasting urban expansion; and 4) assessing the environmental consequences of urban expansion. Her work is notable for its systematic use of big data and a scientific lens to study urbanization as a process and to understand the aggregate global impacts of urbanization. Seto's research has generated new insights on the interaction between urbanization and food systems, the effects of urban expansion on biodiversity and cropland loss, urban energy use and emissions, and urban mitigation of climate change.

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