Lily House-Peters

About Lily House-Peters

Assistant Professor of Sustainability Science, Department of Geography
Resilience Commitment Coordinator, Office of Sustainability and Planning
California State University, Long Beach

I am a broadly trained human-environment geographer interested in qualitative and quantitative approaches to water resources research and the human dimensions of environmental change. My research interests draw into conversation current debates on natural resource conservation policy, the politics and everyday practices of water allocation, distribution, and consumption in dryland environments, and the translation of the management logics of resilience and adaptive capacity into policies for the governance of water resources.

My dissertation titled, Desert Forests and Riparian Flows: Tracing Social-Ecological Transformations in the Transboundary San Pedro River, examined the impacts of climate change, economic policy, geopolitics, and drought on water use and land use decisions in drought-prone ejidos in the Sonoran borderlands. Through research and teaching, I seek to improve ties between academic research and activist efforts to improve social and environmental justice in communities experiencing conflict over water resources. My research draws from theoretical, conceptual, and methodological insights from scholarship in: political ecology, resilience and complex social-ecological systems, sustainability science, political geography/state theory, hydrology, remote sensing and spatial analysis, and GIS.

More information about my research and teaching interests can be found on my website:


2013-2016: Dissertation: "Desert Forests and Riparian Flows: Tracing Social-Ecological Transformations in the Transboundary San Pedro River"

Funding for dissertation research and writing generously provided by:

  • U.S. Fulbright Fellowship -  Mexico
  • University of Arizona Water Sustainability Program (WSP) Graduate Student Fellowship
  • P.E.O. Scholar Award
  • Louise Foucar Marshall Dissertation Fellowship
  • University of Arizona SBSRI Dissertation Research Grant
  • Tinker Summer Field Research Grant

Awards based on dissertation research:

  • 2015 Central Arizona Project (CAP) Award for Water Research, 2nd Place, Graduate Student Paper Competition, Developing a 2010 landcover classification for the Upper San Pedro River Watershed: A Classification and Regression Tree (CART) model approach, ($500),

  • Student Poster Contest Winner, University of Arizona Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs Community Meeting, ($100)

2014-2015: "Strengthening Teamwork to Confront Social-Ecological Challenges: Generating New Knowledge for Effective Action in the Americas", Principal Investigator (PI), Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) Training Institute Seed Grant, $20,000.

For information on the Transdisciplinary Teamwork for Effective Research Action in the Americas (TERAA) project:

2011-2012: Carson Scholar/Biosphere 2 Science and Society Fellow: “Land Use Change, Climate Variability, and Riparian Resilience.

2010-2013:Strengthening resilience of arid region riparian corridors: Ecohydrology and decisionmaking in the Sonora and San Pedro Watersheds”, Graduate Research Associate, National Science Foundation (NSF) Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) project.

2010: Examining Barriers to Realizing Water Sensitive Urban Design: Household Landscaping Perceptions and Choices in spite of Long-Term Drought and Conservation Education.” (Monash University, Melbourne, Australia), Principal Investigator (PI), National Science Foundation (NSF) East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute (EAPSI) Summer Program ($8,000).

2008-2010: Integrated water and land planning as a climate adaptation strategy: Comparisons of Portland, Oregon and Phoenix, Arizona”, Graduate Research Assistant, NOAA SARP Water Research.

Selected Publications

Peer-Review Journals:

Gober, P., Middel, A., Brazel, A., Myint, S., Chang, H., Duh, J.D., and House-Peters, L. 2012. Tradeoffs between water conservation and temperature amelioration in Phoenix and Portland: Implications for urban sustainability. Urban Geography 33 (7): 1030–1054.

House-Peters, L. and Chang, H. 2011. Urban water demand modeling: review of concepts, methods, and organizing principles. Water Resources Research 47, W05401.

House-Peters, L. and Chang, H. 2011. Modeling the impact of land use and climate change on neighborhood-scale evaporation and nighttime cooling: A surface energy balance approach. Landscape and Urban Planning 103(2): 139-155.

House-Peters, L., B. Pratt, and H. Chang. 2010. Effects of urban spatial structure, sociodemographics, and climate on residential water consumption in Hillsboro, Oregon. Journal of American Water Resources Association 46(2): 1-12.

Chang, H. and House-Peters, L. 2010. Cities as place for climate mitigation and adaptation: A case study of Portland, Oregon, USA. Journal of the Korean Geographical Society 45(1): 49-74.

Book Chapters:

Varady, R.G., van Weert, F., Megdal, S.B., Gerlak, A., Iskandar, C.A., and House-Peters, L.. 2012. Groundwater policy and governance, in Groundwater Governance: A Global Framework for Country Action. Commissioned by UNESCO IHP. (in press)

Chang, H. and House-Peters, L. 2012. A roadmap for expanding U.S.-Korea Alliance Cooperation: Cooperation on functional issues, climate change. In: Snyder, S. (Ed.) The US-South Korea Alliance: Meeting New Security Challenges. Lynne Rienner Publishers: London.

Chang, H., Jones, J., Gannett, M., Tullos, D., Moradkhani, H., Vache, K., Parandvash, H., Shandas, V., Nolin, A., Fountain, A., Johnson, S., Jung, I.-W., House-Peters, L., Steele, M., and Copeland, B., 2010. Chapter 3: Climate change and freshwater resources in Oregon, in Oregon Climate Impact Assessment. Dello, K.D. and Mote, P.W. (Eds.) College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. pp. 69-150.

Conference Proceedings:

House-Peters, L. and C.A. Scott. 2011. Assessing the impacts of land use change on water availability, management, and resilience in arid region riparian Corridors: A case study of the San Pedro and Rio Sonora watersheds in southwestern USA and northern Mexico.” Proceedings from the XIVth World Water Congress, Porto de Galinhas, Brazil.

Lily House-Peters's picture


The George Washington University (B.A., 2005)

Portland State University (M.S., 2010), Thesis Advisor: Dr. Heejun Chang

University of Arizona (Ph.D. 2016), Dissertation Advisor: Dr. Christopher Scott

Dissertation Title

Desert Forests and Riparian Flows: Tracing Social-Ecological Transformations in the Transboundary San Pedro River

Courses Taught

GEOG 170A: Introduction to Physical Geography (Online)

GEOG 251: World Regions (Online)

GEOG 330: Introduction to Remote Sensing 

GEOG 416C: Urban Geographic Information Systems (GIS)