Sustainability research invokes questions across a multitude of spatial scales and is deeply interrelated with the department's social justice, globalization, and geographic methods themes. Our work focuses on local quality-of-life and justice issues within larger political, social, and economic contexts. Current research foci include urban food systems, sprawled development patterns, land use/land cover analysis, urban ecology, environmental justice, public health outcomes, and comparative dimensions of environmental sustainability at the national and global scales.
Physical and Spatial Manifestations of Neoliberalism (Ben Kohl)
This project looks at sustainability of cities under neoliberal regimes and begins with the understanding that there are social, political and economic dimensions to sustainability. In collaboration with Juan Arbona, I am looking at the physical and spatial manifestations of neoliberalism, and its impact on the (re)production or urban life and structure. This project aims not only to identify the physical manifestations of neoliberal cities but also to look at how ideology is mobilized through everyday practices to shape both urban form and daily life.
Evaluating Collaborative Land Use Projects (Rob Mason)
Rob Mason's book, Collaborative Land Use Management: The Quieter Revolution in Place-Based Planning, proposed a broad framework for understanding and evaluating specific land use programs. Among the measures included in the model were ecosystem health, landscape integrity, cost effectiveness, social justice, carbon impacts, and vulnerability management. Following on the book's discussion of these evaluative dimensions -- and their relevance to case studies ranging over multiple and overlapping spatial scales -- will be refinement of the model and application to specific programs.
Relationships between Community Planning, Environmental Management, and Information Technology (Michele Masucci)
Previous research by Michele Masucci examined the relationships between community planning, environmental management and information uses and technologies in non-governmental organizations in the Atlantic Rainforest Region of Brazil , in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin region, and in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania . Professor Masucci developed an appropriate technology GIS that analyzed drought and flood data for the ACF River Basin that permitted an analysis of the relationship between information resources and drought contingency planning during a period of extreme fluctuation in drought and flood conditions during the 1980s and 1990s in the southeastern US. The outcomes of this study were the focus of a book (co-authored with Richard Perritt) entitled Human Environmental Interchange: Managing the Effects of Recent Droughts in the Southeastern U.S.
Environmental Justice of Urban Air Pollution (Jeremy Mennis)
Environmental justice is the principle that all people have equal protection under environmental laws and the right to participate in environmental decision-making in their community. I am interested in the quantitative analysis of race, class, and other socioeconomic characteristics as they relate to indicators of environmental risk, particularly toxins produced from industrial and commercial activity. Recent research has focused on the distribution of air toxic releases in New Jersey , as well as on racial equity in actions taken by agencies responsible for enforcing environmental policies.
Mason, R. 2007. Collaborative Land Use Management: The Quieter Revolution in Place-Based Planning . Lanham , MD : Rowman & Littlefield.
Solecki, W., R. Mason, and S. Martin. 2004. The Geography of Support for Open Space Initiatives: A Case Study of New Jersey's 1998 Ballot Measure. Social Science Quarterly 85(3): 624-639.
Mason, R. 2004. The Pinelands. In Mark B. Lapping and Owen Furseth, eds., Big Places, Big Plans . Aldershot , Eng: Ashgate Pub, pp. 27-51.
L Farthing, J Arbona and B Kohl (2006) “The Cities that Neoliberalism Built: Exploring Urbanization in La Paz-El Alto,” Harvard International Review, web edition, available at http://hir.harvard.edu/articles/1433/, May 2006.
J Arbona and B Kohl (2004) “ La Paz - El Alto,” 21(8), 255-265, Cities.
Mennis, J. 2006. Socioeconomic-vegetation relationships in urban, residential land: the case of Denver , Colorado . Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 72(8): 911-921.
Mennis, J., 2005. Socioeconomic inequity in hazardous facility location and enforcement in New Jersey . The Professional Geographer , 57(3): 411-422.
Mennis, J. and Jordan, L., 2005. The distribution of environmental equity: exploring spatial nonstationarity in multivariate models of air toxic releases . Annals of the Association of American Geographers , 95(2): 249-268.
Mennis, J., 2002. Using geographic information systems to create and analyze statistical surfaces of population and risk for environmental justice analysis . Social Science Quarterly , 83(1): 281-297.