The complex human-environment systems (CHES) group is now an official institute at San Diego State University (SDSU) named the Center for Complex Human-Environment Systems. The CHES Center aims to achieve better CHES understanding, envisioning, planning, and sustainability. We view human-environment systems as complex systems, which are often characterized by a variety of complexity features such as high dimensionality, hierarchical structure, heterogeneity, nonlinearity, feedback, path dependence, emergence, and multi-finality. Complexity theory, landscape ecology, geographic information science, cyberinfrastructure theory and technology, data science, artificial intelligence, and other relevant disciplinary or domain knowledge leverage theoretical and methodological support toward our CHES research. We also aim to advance the theory, methodology, and applications in these disciplines. Our CHES research is currently applied to the following exemplar areas:

  • Revealing space-time dynamics & mechanisms of complex human-environment systems, including applications in wildlife habitat, biodiversity, ecosystem services, human health, hazard-disaster analysis, climate change, and urban development
  • Developing and advancing geospatial analytics, especially space-time analysis methods and techniques
  • Modeling human decisions, behaviors, and their consequences on CHES with a focus on integration of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and agent-based modeling
  • Establishing and maintaining various CHES research, education, and outreach networks that seek to achieve CHES sustainability

To handle CHES with such complexity features, we are developing a high performance enabled, big data friendly, and 4-D holographic methodology for landscape representation, interdisciplinary and inter-scale integration, and systems modeling. Our CHES methodology focuses on digital representation, geovisualization and animation, space-time analysis, micro-level modeling, and 4-dimensional (x, y, z, time) simulation of various landscape and human processes.

Below are a few exemplar models, demos, or movies (note: for test purpose only; the final versions will come up soon): Web-Based Model and Street Pedestrian Demo

Current Research Projects

  • NSF Project in China

    This project seeks to advance the understanding of the impact of payments for ecosystem services (PES), a global conservation approach that incentivizes users of essential natural resources to protect the related ecosystems.

  • NIH R01 Project in New York

    The goal of this project, is to compare the effects of food policies and programs on cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related outcomes and health care costs for adults.

  • NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship

    This project will evaluate the interactions and feedbacks in coupled human and natural systems, and how these interactions and feedbacks affect the invasion of an exotic plant species in the community forests.





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