Adriana Zuniga-Teran

Assistant Research Scientist | curriculum vitae

Adriana Zuniga-Teran is an Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Arizona’s Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning. With a background in architecture and expertise in neighborhood design, Dr. Zuniga combines knowledge-building with problem-solving of real-world challenges in her research projects. Adriana works with stakeholders and community partners to answer questions related to water security, urban resilience, and environmental justice, by focusing on greenspace/green infrastructure across the urban-rural continuum.

Adriana is originally from Monterrey, Mexico. She did her undergraduate studies on architecture at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) in Monterrey. She worked as an architectural designer in Mexico for several years. She holds two advanced degrees from the University of Arizona: a master of architecture degree with a concentration in design and energy conservation, and a doctoral degree in arid lands resource sciences with a minor in global change.

Areas of expertise and research interests:

  • Water security in the built environment
  • Water policy and governance
  • Arid lands
  • Environmental justice
  • Green infrastructure and urban resilience
  • Walkability, physical activity and wellbeing
  • Sustainable built environments
  • Latin American cities

Current research projects:

International Water Security Network. This is a project funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation and led by scientists from the University of the West of England and in collaboration with Monash South Africa University. The UA team studies transboundary water security in the arid Americas.

AQUASEC Center of Excellence for Water Security. Under the AQUASEC umbrella, the Aguascapes project brings together scientists from the arid Americas to work together in water security challenges. Partners include scientists from Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina.

State of the Health of the Cienega watershed. This is a participatory effort to measure the state of the health of the Cienega Watershed, in which a set of 20 cross-jurisdictional indicators were selected. Her role in this project is to meet with stakeholders and collect readably-available data, analyze it when necessary, and present it in a way that communicates well to the general public. This is a baseline effort that is intended to continue over time in order to do long-term monitoring and manage the watershed in an adaptive way.

Tucson Verde para Todos. This project is funded by the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environmental and Social Justice. This study is aimed to engage low-income communities in Tucson in the design and development of green infrastructure. Seeking the active participation of the community in a pilot project is expected to serve as a model for other neighborhoods to adopt green infrastructure, and this way, reduce temperatures and floods while improving wellness, neighborhood aesthetics, and sense of community.

List of current courses:

  • SBE-221 History of the Built Environment I (fall)
  • SBE-222 History of the Built Environment II (spring)
  • SBE-195A Introduction to Sustainability I (fall)
  • SBE-195B Introduction to Sustainability II (spring)

Selected peer-reviewed publications:

2021 Zuniga-Teran, A.A., Tortajada, C. (Accepted). Water demand management policies and their effects on water usage: The case of Tucson, Arizona. Water Utility Journal.

2021 De Vito, L., Staddon, C., Ward, S., Zuniga-Teran, A.A.,Gerlak, A. Aligning green infrastructure to sustainable development: Geographical contributions to an ongoing debate. Area.

2021 Zuniga-Teran, A.A., Gerlak, A.K., Elder, A., Tam, A. The unjust distribution of urban green infrastructure is just the tip of the iceberg: A systematic review of place-based studies. Environmental Science and Policy, Vol. 126. Pp. 234-245.

2021 Gerlak, A.K., Elder, A., Sanderford, A., Zuniga-Teran, A.A., Pavao-Zuckerman, M. Agency and Governance in Green Infrastructure Policy Adoption and Change. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning.

2021 Gerlak, A.K., Elder, A., Thomure, T., Shipek, C.,Zuniga-Teran, A., Pavao-Zuckerman, M., Gupta, N., Mastler, M., Berger, L., Henry, A.D., Yang, B., Murrieta-Saldivar, J., Meixner, T. Green infrastructure: Lessons in governance and collaboration from Tucson. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, Vol. 63, issue 3.

2020 Crosson, C.; Achilli, A.; Zuniga-Teran, A.; Mack, E.; Albrecht, T.; Shrestha, P.; Boccelli, D.; Cath, T.; Daigger, G.; Duan, J.; Lansey, K.; Meixner, T.; Pincetl, S.; Scott, C. A. Net Zero Urban Water from Concept to Applications: Integrating Natural, Built and Social Systems for Responsive and Adaptive Solutions. ACS Environmental Science & Technology, Water.

2020 Scott, C.A., Zilio, M.I., Perillo, G.M.E., Zuniga-Teran, A.A., Harmon, T. Escobar Jaramillo, J., Diaz Caravantes, R., Meza, F., Martin, F., Ribero Neto, A., Piccolo, M.C., Rusak, J., Varady, R.G., Pineda, N., Hoyos, N., Mussetta, P., Velez, M.I., Montenegro, S., Reid, B. Do ecosystem insecurity and social inequity lead to failure of water security? A synthesis of CRNH projects funded by the Inter American Institute for Global Change Research. Special issue in Environmental Development. .

2020 Zuniga-Teran, A.A., Mussetta, P. Lutz-Ley, A.N., Diaz-Caravantes, R.E., Gerlak, A.K. Analyzing water policy impacts on vulnerability: Cases across the rural-urban continuum in the arid Americas. Environmental Development. Special issue organized by the Inter American Institute for Global Change Research.

2020 Gerlak, A.K., and Zuniga-Teran, A.A. Addressing injustice in green infrastructure through socio-ecological practice: What is the role of university-community partnerships? Socio-Ecological Practice Research, 2: 149-159.

2020 Varady, R.G., Gerlak, A.K., Mayer, B.M., Albrecht, T., Lemos, M.C., Zuniga-Teran, A.A., Wilder, M.O., Mukherjee, A., Ernst, K.C. The exigencies of transboundary water security: Insights on community resilience. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Vol. 44. Pp.74-84. Special Issue: Resilience and Complexity: Frameworks and Models to Capture Social-Ecological Interactions.

2020 Wilder, M., Varady, R.G., Gerlak, A.K., Mumme, S., Flessa, K., Zuniga-Teran, A.A., Scott, C., Pineda Pablos, N., Megdal, S. Hydrodiplomacy and adaptive governance at the U.S.-Mexico border: 75 years of tradition innovation in transboundary water management. Environmental Science and Policy, 112: 189-202.

2020 Zuniga-Teran, A. A., Gerlak, A.K., Mayer, B., Evans, T.P. and Lansey, K.E. Urban resilience and green infrastructure systems: Towards a multidimensional evaluation. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability – Resilience and Complexity: Frameworks and Models to Capture Social-Ecological Interactions,. Vol. 4. Pp. 42-47.

2019 Zuniga-Teran, A.A.; Stoker, P.; Gimblett, R.H.; Orr, B.J.; Marsh, S.E.; Guertin, D.P.; Chalfoun, N.V. Exploring the influence of neighborhood walkability on the frequency of use of greenspace. Landscape and Urban Planning, 190.

2019 Zuniga-Teran, A.A. and Gerlak, A.K. A multidisciplinary approach to analyzing questions of justice issues in urban greenspace. Sustainability, 11, 3055.

2019 Zuniga-Teran, A.A., Staddon C., De Vito, L. Gerlak, A.K., Ward, S., Schoeman, Y., Hart, A., Booth, G.Challenges for mainstreaming green infrastructure in built environment professions. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.

Zuniga-Teran, A.A., Staddon C., De Vito, L. Gerlak, A.K., Ward, S., Schoeman, Y., Hart, A., Booth, G. (forthcoming). Challenges for mainstreaming green infrastructure in built environment professions. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.

Scott, C.A., Albrecht, T., Routson de Grenade, R., Zuniga-Teran, A.A., Varady, R.G., Thapa, B. (2018). Water security and the pursuit of food, energy, and earth system resilience. Water International.

Albrecht, T., Varady, R.G., Zuniga-Teran, A.A., De Grenade R., Lutz-Ley A., Martin, F., Megdal, S.B., Meza, F., Ocampo-Melgar, D., Pineda, N., Rojas, F., Taboada, R., Willems, B. (2018). Unraveling transboundary water security in the arid Americas. Water International.

Staddon, C., Ward, S., De Vito, L., Zuniga-Teran, A., Gerlak, A., Schoeman, Y., Hart, A., Booth, G. (2018). Contributions of green infrastructure to enhancing urban resilience. Environment, Systems and Decisions.

Gerlak, A.K.; House-Peters, L.; Varady. R.G.; Albrecht, T.; Zuniga-Teran, A.A.; Cook, C.; Routson de Grenade, R.; Scott, C.A. (2018). Water security: A critical review of place-based studies. Environmental Science and Policy, 82. 79-89.

Petersen-Perlman, J.D., Megdal, S.B., Gerlak, A.K. Wireman, M., Zuniga-Teran, A.A., Varady, R.G. (2018). Issues impacting groundwater quality governance and management in the United States. Water 10(6), 735;

Albrecht, T., Varady, R.G., Zuniga-Teran, A.A., Gerlak, A.K., Staddon, C. (2017). Governing a shared hidden resource: A review of governance mechanisms for transboundary groundwater security. Water Security, Vol. 2 Pp. 43-56.

Zuniga-Teran, A.A. ; Orr, B.J.; Gimblett, R.H.; Chalfoun, N.V.; Guertin, D.P.; Marsh, S.E. (2017). Neighborhood design, physical activity, and wellbeing: Applying the Walkability Model. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14,76: doi:10.3390/ijerph14010076.

Zuniga-Teran, A.A. ; Orr, B.J.; Gimblett, R.H.; Chalfoun, N.V.; Marsh, S.E.; Guertin, D.P.; Going, S.B. (2017). Designing healthy communities: Testing the walkability model. Frontiers of Architectural Research. Vol. 6, No. 1. Pp. 63-73.

Varady R.G., Zuniga-Teran, A.A.; Garfin, G.M.; Martin, F.; Vicuña, S. (2016). Adaptive management and water security in global context: Definitions, concepts, and examples. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability special issue “Environmental Change and Assessment” edited by M. Wilder, G. Garfin, and R. Merideth. Vol. 21. Pp. 70-71.

Zuniga-Teran, A.A; Orr, B.J.; Gimblett, R.H.; Going, S.B.; Chalfoun, N.V.; Guertin, D.P.; Marsh, S.E. (2016). Designing healthy communities: A walkability analysis on LEED-ND. Frontiers in Architectural Research.

Varady, R.G.; Zuniga-Teran, A.A.; Gerlak, A.K.; Megdal, S.B. (2016). Modes and approaches of groundwater governance: A survey of lessons learned from selected cases across the globe. In special issue “Water Governance, Stakeholder Engagement, and Sustainable Water Resources management,” ed. By S. Megdal, S. Eden, and E. Shamir. Water, 417 (24pp), DOI: 10.3390/w8100417. Online:

Wilder, M., Aguilar Barajas, I., Pineda Pablos, N., Varady, R., Megdal, S., McEvoy, J., Merideth, R., Zuniga-Teran, A., Scott, C. (2016). Desalination and water security in the US-Mexico border region: Assessing the social, environmental, and political impacts. Water International, 41:5, 756-775, DOI: 10.1080/02508060.2016.1166416.