See the updated program here.

Register here.  The event will be in Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall, 195 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT

Watch via Livestream on Feb 5-6, 2015 here:

Some of the speakers have given permission to share their presentations.  The presentations are linked here:

Kris Ebi

Jason Vargo


Watch the 2014 symposium on urban ecosystem services via Livesteam here.

Check out this one-pager from the EPA: Resources on Green Stormwater Infrastructure Implementation

Please note two agenda updates: Carter Strickland, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is the keynote speaker. Robert Mendelsohn will be the first speaker following the keynote, not Edward Barbier.

See the updated program here.

Registration to attend this event in person has closed.  Registration for the main room closed at 1 pm on Jan 13th. Registration for the overflow room closed at 11pm on Jan 16th, but now we will have room in the overflow.  To register for the overflow on the day of, come to Kroon's 3rd floor.  The webcast link is:

Early registrants, please arrive on time to ensure that you get a seat in Kroon.

See the updated program here.

Call for Posters


The Urban Ecosystem Services Symposium:

New Tools for Understanding Ecosystem Management in an Urbanizing World


A Yale/Hixon Center, NYC Parks and USFS NYC Field Station Partnership

 January 24, 2014

The Urban Ecosystem Services Symposium will explore the application and utility of urban ecosystem services scholarship by bringing together academics on the cutting edge of this science and city managers using the approach for urban planning. The event will assess the major questions and merits of urban ecosystem services across global, regional, city, and community scales.   

Keynote Speaker Carter Strickland, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Morning Talks:  Approaches to Understanding and Quantifying Urban Ecosystem Services  

Speakers will showcase diverse ecosystem services models sharing how they canquantify, monitor, and describe the urban ecosystem services in cities.  They will explore how these tools have been applied, current limitations and what they accomplish that other models cannot.

  • Edward Barbier, University of Wyoming, Valuing Urban Ecosystem Services
  • Erika Svendsen, USDA Forest Service, “Visualizing our social infrastructure: Understanding and mapping urban environmental stewardship”
  • David Nowak, USDA Forest Service, “i-Tree: Assessing ecosystem services and values from trees”
  • Leslie Shoemaker, Tetra Tech,  SUSTAIN (System for Urban Stormwater Treatment and Analysis INtegration-  a stormwater BMP modeling and planning tool)
  • Rob McDonald, Senior Scientist for Sustainable Land-use, The Nature Conservancy, “Quantifying the value of natural habitats in minimizing flooding risk”

Afternoon Panels

Panel 1: The Urban Micro-Climate

The panel includes a mix of researchers, urban planners and municipal policy-makers to connect science and research to on-the-ground projects.  What urban microclimate management strategies are being practiced and what goals (comfort, health, energy reduction) do we hope to achieve with them? Is the effectiveness of these management strategies quantifiable? How do we combine positive and negative effects into a common set of matrices?  How should we improve current ways of measuring urban heat island to better represent human exposure?

  • Moderator: Professor Xuhui Lee, Yale University
  • Winston Chow, Arizona State University
  • Aaron Durnbaugh, Sustainability Director at Loyola University
  • Stuart Gaffin, Columbia University
  • Dr. Tom Matte, Assistant Commissioner, NYC Dept. of Health and Human Hygiene

Panel 2: Green Infrastructure and Stormwater

The panel includes a mix of researchers, regulators, community-based program managers and municipal policy-makers. The goal is to encourage a conversation that connects the most recent green stormwater infrastructure research, development and regulation to on-the-ground projects.The moderated discussion following short presentations from each panelist will focus on questions like:  Within the world of sustainable stormwater management, what do we need to care about next?  What questions for research are the most pressing? Where are the gaps in knowledge?  What’s are the barriers to widespread implementation?

  • Moderator: Jennifer Hoyle, Yale University
  • Franco Montalto, Drexel University
  • Ellen Gilinsky, Director for Office of Water on Ecosystem Services, EPA
  • Mike Houck, Executive Directorof the Urban Green Space Institute at Portland State University 
  • Aaron Koch, Deputy Commissioner for Sustainability, City of Chicago Department of Water Management  

Panel 3: Coastal Protection, Sea Level Rise, and Hurricanes in NYC and NOLA

How are coastal cities working with natural capital to attenuate sea level rise and coastal flooding in extreme events?  This panel will build on experience and case studies to elaborate on ES related to coastal adaptation. Building on the discussions on models in the morning, we will explore the relevance and shortfalls of the models used to assess coastal risks for FEMA, NOAA, NWA and ACOE. What is the role of FEMA, the Federal Flood Insurance Program, community disaster recovery funds and block grants, and scientists analyzing trade-offs between gray (levees) and green (marshes)? What lessons does New Orleans have for New York? What lessons are valuable across urban to rural gradients?

  • Moderator: Alexander Felson, Assistant Professor, Yale University
  • Denise Reed, Chief Scientist, Water Institute of the Gulf
  • Dan Zarrilli, Director of Resiliency for the City of New York 
  • Roselle Henn, Chief, USACE North Atlantic Division
  • Gavin Smith,Associate Research Professor; Executive Director, UNC Center for the Study of Natural Hazards and Disasters; Executive Director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence

Panel 4: Social and Cultural Processes of Urban Ecosystem Services

This panel advances the notion that social and cultural processes are critical to the health and resilience of urban ecosystems; that these processes are complex; and that they require inquiry. The question remains: how do we understand the role of social and cultural processes and infrastructure in urban ecosystems; and how do we factor this understanding into ecological assessments that so often rely on quantitative data and biophysical indicators? The conversation will explore the dynamics of social and cultural values and their bearing on urban ecosystem services, natural resource management, and human well-being.

  • Moderator: Erika Svendsen, U.S. Forest Service, Research Social Scientist, Northern Research Station
  • Morgan GroveU.S. Forest Service, Research Social Scientist, Northern Research Station
  • Hans Hesselein, Director of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy
  • Keith Tidball, Cornell, Associate Director of the Civic Ecology Lab and Program Leader for the Nature & Human Security Program
  • Lindsay Campbell, U.S. Forest Service, Research Social Scientist, Northern Research Station

________Schedule _______

Thursday January 23, 2014:

7:00-9:00         Dinner for conference guests, faculty members and selected students.  

Friday January 24, 2014:

8:00-9:00         Breakfast

9:00-9:15         Symposium Introduction Dean Peter Crane

9:15-9:45        Keynote: How can ecosystem services help build sustainable, resilient cities? 

9:45 to 12:00   Approaches to understanding and quantifying urban ecosystem services  

12:00-12:45    Lunch              

Afternoon Panels on Selected Bundles of Ecosystem Services

12:45-1:45       Urban Micro-Climate

1:45-2:45         Green Infrastructure and Stormwater

3:00-4:00         Coastal Protection, Sea Level Rise, and Hurricanes

4:00-5:00         Social and Cultural Processes of Urban Ecosystem Services

5:00-5:15         Closing Remarks Gaboury Benoit

Biographical Sketches of Speakers

Dr. Edward B. Barbier is the John S Bugas Professor of Economics, Department of Economics and Finance, University of Wyoming. His main expertise is natural resource and development economics as well as the interface between economics and ecology. He has served as a consultant and policy analyst for a variety of national, international and non-governmental agencies, including many UN organizations, the OECD and the World Bank. Professor Barbier is on the editorial boards of several leading economics and natural science journals, and heappears in the 4th edition of Who’s Who in Economics.  He has authored over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, written or edited 21 books, and published in popular journals. His books include Blueprint for a Green Economy (with David Pearce and Anil Markandya, 1989), Natural Resources and Economic Development (2005),A Global Green New Deal (2010), Scarcity and Frontiers: How Economies Have Developed Through Natural Resource Exploitation (2011), Capitalizing on Nature: Ecosystems as Natural Assets (2011) and A New Blueprint for a Green Economy (with Anil Markandya, 2012).

Dr. Lindsay K. Campbell is a research social scientist with the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station. She is based at the New York City Urban Field Station, which is a partnership between the Forest Service and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation. The NYC Urban Field Station is dedicated to improving the quality of life in urban areas by conducting and supporting research about social-ecological systems and natural resource management.  Her current research explores the dynamics of urban politics, natural resource stewardship, and sustainability policymaking.  She is co-PI on several long term, interdisciplinary research projects.  These include the Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (STEW-MAP), which maps the social networks and spatial turf of civic, government, and private actors working on environmental stewardship in New York City—and is now being replicated in Chicago, Baltimore, Seattle, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and San Juan.  As well, she helped lead the research of the Living Memorials Project, which examines the use and stewardship of open space post-September 11, and received the 2007 EDRA/Places Award for Research.  She is a co-PI of the TKF-foundation funded “Landscapes of Resilience” team examining open spaces and sacred spaces in Joplin, MO and New York City.  She is a member of the NSF-funded ULTRA-EX team examining changes in land cover, ecosystem services, and stewardship in New York City’s urban forest.    She is also a member of the MillionTreesNYC Advisory Committee and Research and Evaluation Subcommittees.  Dr. Campbell holds a BA in Public Policy from Princeton University, a Masters in City Planning from MIT, and a PhD in Geography from Rutgers University.

Roselle Henn is Deputy Director for the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), National Planning Center of Expertise for Coastal Storm Risk Management (PCX-CSRM), leading the Hurricane Sandy North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study (NACCS), from Jan 2013 to present. While compiling the study, scientists and engineers will consider future sea-level rise scenarios and integrate economic, climatological, engineering, environmental and societal data from Virginia to Maine to develop a comprehensive framework to reduce coastal flood risk and promote resiliency. Ms. Henn is the Environmental Team Leader for the USACE North Atlantic Division (NAD) with primary responsibility for ecosystem restoration throughout the region which extends from Maine to Virginia.  In this capacity she is the Senior Subject Matter Expert on environmental policy and compliance, leading environmental teams located in NAD’s five Districts (New England, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Norfolk) working on watershed planning and estuarine restoration. She is the regional environmental interface with other Federal Agencies including EPA, NOAA, and DOI, Regional Partners, and NGOs and represents NAD in collaborative efforts which transcend District/political boundaries, such as the restoration and protection of Chesapeake Bay, the Susquehanna and Delaware River Basin Commissions, and the Interstate Commission for the Potomac River Basin and in Climate Change initiatives, Coastal America, the Mid-Atlantic Federal Partners on the Ocean, and the Corps Invasive Species Leaders Team.

Hans Hesselein, Executive Director of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, grew up on a family-owned nursery in central New Jersey, cultivating a passion for plants at a young age. Hans graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from North Carolina State University in 2004. He has spent time working internationally in Germany as well as at several domestic landscape architecture firms, including a position as Associate at Dirtworks, PC in Manhattan. Hans joined the Gowanus Canal Conservancy as the Director of Special Projects in December, 2010 and was asked to serve as Executive Director in 2013. Throughout his time at the Conservancy, Hans has been responsible for developing and managing green infrastructure projects, watershed planning initiatives and volunteer stewardship programs. Hans comes to the Conservancy with a strong background in horticulture, construction technology, community engagement and landscape architecture.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appointed Cas Holloway Deputy Mayor for Operations on August 4, 2011.  As Deputy Mayor, Cas oversees 11 mayoral agencies and offices and assists the Mayor in overseeing the Police Department, Fire Department, Office of Emergency Management, Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Labor Relations.  After Hurricane Sandy Cas oversaw Rapid Repairs, the City’s first-of-its-kind program to restore power, heat, and hot water to thousands of New Yorkers in their homes; and the creation of A Stronger, More Resilient New York, the City’s plan for long-term resiliency. From January 1, 2010 until his appointment as Deputy Mayor, Cas served as the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Cas appointed DEP’s first Deputy Commissioner for Sustainability; created an energy team to develop a new generation of natural gas and renewable energy investments; initiated Water for the Future, a $2 billion package of investments that will repair leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct; and developed the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan to improve water quality in the City's waterways. From 2006 until his appointment at DEP, Cas served as Chief of Staff and Counsel to Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler and as Special Advisor to Mayor Bloomberg. He graduated cum laude from Harvard College and with honors from the University of Chicago Law School.

Mike Houck, Executive Director of the Urban Greenspaces Institute, has worked on local, regional, and national urban park and greenspace issues since 1980 when he founded the Urban Naturalist Program at the Audubon Society of Portland. Houck’s work over the past twenty years has focused on integration of the built and natural environments in the Portland-Vancouver region and incorporating green infrastructure for the city of Portland’s watershed and stormwater planning efforts.  He is co-founder of The Intertwine Alliance a new nonprofit dedicated to creating a world class park, trail, and natural area system for the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region.  The Alliance is also a member of the national Metropolitan Greenspaces Alliance whose members represent Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Cleveland, Milwaukee, San Francisco Bay Area, and Portland metropolitan greenspace initiatives. 

Aaron Koch is the Deputy Commissioner for Sustainability in Chicago’s Department of Water Management. He is responsible for implementing the water initiatives in Sustainable Chicago 2015, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s roadmap for environmental stewardship and economic development. Aaron previously served as a Senior Policy Advisor in the New York City Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. He was an author of the water chapters of PlaNYC, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s sustainability plan, as well as the New York City Wetlands Strategy and the Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan. As part of this work, he was a creator of New York City’s strategy to improve stormwater management through a $1.5 billion public investment in green infrastructure. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a faculty member in Columbia University’s Master of Sustainability Management program.

Dr. Robert McDonald is the Senior Scientist for Urban Sustainability at The Nature Conservancy.  He researches the impact and dependences of cities on the natural world, and is the lead scientist for much of the Conservancy’s urban conservation work.  Currently Dr. McDonald is leading a global team of scientists mapping where the cities of the world get their water, and evaluating their dependence on ecosystem services and their vulnerability to climate change.  He is also working on a book, entitled “Conservation for Cities”, which documents the role green infrastructure can play to the well-being of urban residents. Another major research interest is the effect of U.S. energy policy on natural habitat and water use.  Prior to joining the Conservancy, Dr. McDonald was a Smith Conservation Biology Fellow at Harvard University, studying the impact global urban growth will have on biodiversity and conservation.  He also taught landscape ecology at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, helping architects and planners incorporate ecological principles into their projects. He holds a B.S. degree in biology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Ph.D in ecology from Duke University.

Dr. Franco Montalto, PE is a licensed civil/environmental engineer and hydrologist with 20 years of experience working in urban and urbanizing ecosystems as both a designer and researcher. His experience includes planning, design, implementation, and analysis of various natural area restoration and green infrastructure projects. As an Associate Professor in Drexel University’s Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, he currently directs the Sustainable Water Resource Engineering Laboratory. He also heads up the Green Infrastructure Sector of the NOAA-funded Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast (CCRUN), a five-year research initiative. Dr. Montalto is also the founder of eDesign Dynamics LLC, a consulting firm based In New York City that specializes in green infrastructure and ecological restoration. Previously, Dr. Montalto served as the Wetlands Engineer at the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, where he was responsible for the engineering design of the 139-acre Mill Creek Marsh in Secaucus, NJ among other large urban wetland restoration projects. He has worked overseas in various capacities in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America and is the author of numerous publications in the water resources and environmental fields. He was also formerly a Fellow at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, a Fulbright Scholar, and an Adjunct Professor at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, where he received his first degree. His graduate degrees are from Cornell University.

Dr. David J. Nowak is a Project Leader with the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station in Syracuse, NY.  He has authored over 225 publications and is a recipient of the:  National Arbor Day Foundation’s J. Sterling Morton Award; R.W. Harris Author’s CitaDavid J. Nowak is a Project Leader with the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station in Syracuse, NY.  He has authored over 225 publications and is a recipient of the:  National Arbor Day Foundation’s J. Sterling Morton Award; R.W. Harris Author’s Citation from the International Society of Arboriculture; American Forests’ Urban Forest Medal; Distinguished Science Award of the Northeastern Research Station; Forest Service Chief’s Honor Award for Engaging Urban America and the New York State Arborists-ISA Chapter Research Award.  Dr. Nowak was also contributing member of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. His research investigates urban forest structure, health, and change, and its effect on air quality, water quality and greenhouse gases. He also leads teams developing software tools to quantify ecosystem services from urban vegetation (e.g., UFORE and i-Tree programs). Dr. Nowak received a B.S. and M.S. from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Dr. Leslie Shoemaker joined TetraTech in 1991, and she is currently responsible for our strategic planning, business development, sustainability, and corporate communications functions. Dr. Shoemaker coordinates our Strategic Initiatives Program, which supports company-wide collaboration on key services in our major growth markets. Dr. Shoemaker is our Chief Sustainability Officer. She also leads the water resources modelling and systems development team and consults on the development of policy and programs for watershed management and sustainable communities. Dr. Shoemaker has more than 25 years of industry experience and has previously served in various technical and management capacities including project engineer, project manager, vice president, and technical practice leader. Dr. Shoemaker holds a B.A. degree in Mathematics from Hamilton College, a Master of Engineering from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Erika Svendsen is a research social scientist with the U.S. Forest Service in New York City.  Her primary area of expertise is urban natural resource stewardship with a specific focus on civic engagement, human well-being and governance. Her work is dedicated to cultivating diverse communities of knowledge and practice in order to improve the lives of people, strengthen communities and sustain our environment. Dr. Svendsen is part of the NYC Urban Field Station, a unique partnership between the U.S. Forest Service, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation and other community, academic and government partners. The Urban Field Station was created to improve quality of life in urban areas by conducting, supporting and fostering collaborative research about social-ecological systems and natural resource management.  Dr. Svendsen is a recipient of 2007 EDRA/Places Award for Living Memorials National Research: 9-11 and the Public Landscape.  She received the US Forest Service Chief's Award for her work in cities and the Early Career Scientist Research Station Award in recognition of STEW-MAP, a tool for mapping civic environmental action and managing ecosystem services in New York City.  STEW-MAP teams have developed in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Juan.  Recently, Dr. Svendsen has served as an advisor on MillionTreesNYC , Vibrant Cities Urban Forests, the US Forest Service Urban Field Station Network and DOI’s Strategic Sciences Group.   She is also a graduate of Yale FES ’93. 


URBAN Dialogue of Critical Environmental Issues

Friday January 18, 2013 Kroon Hall, Burke Auditorium

Agenda, registration, and speaker biographies below

8:30 – 8:40

Welcome and Introduction - Professor Gaboury Benoit, Yale F&ES

8:40 - 12:00





Human Dimensions of Urban Ecology and Urbanization
Panel Discussion moderated by Professor Karen Seto, Yale F&ES

Morgan Grove, U.S. Forest Service: "Urban Residential Landowners: The Social Dilemma of the New and Dominant Forest Landowner"
Christopher Boone, Arizona State University: "Environmental Justice of Green Infrastructure: An Urban Sustainability Imperative"
Deborah Balk, City University of New York: "Growth, Urban Populations-at-Risk, and Climate Change Hazards"

Coffee Break (10:15 - 10:30)

Paty Romero-Lankao, National Center for Atmospheric Research: "Imagining Urban Futures: Some Reflections"
Frances Ming Kuo, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: "Urban Ecology and Healthy Habitat for a Key Species: Homo sapiens"

12:45 – 3:30     






Urban Infrastructure and Metabolism
Panel Discussion moderated by Professors Julie Zimmerman  and Alex Felson, Yale F&ES

Arpad Horvath, University of California, Berkeley: "What is Next for Urban Infrastructure Design and Operation?"
Austin Troy, University of Vermont: "The Urban Transportation Energy Appetite:Why Some Cities Are Hungrier Than Others"

Coffee Break (1:50 - 2:00)

Emily Zechman, North Carolina State University: "Cities and Water: Sociotechnical Simulation for Managing Urban Water Resources and Infrastructure"
Kevin Krizek, University of Colorado: "Urbanization and the Prospects for the Planning and Use of Sustainable Transport Infrastructure"

 3:30  – 3:45      Closing Remarks – Professor Thomas Graedel, Yale F&ES


Guest Speaker Biographies

Dr. J. Morgan Grove is a Social Ecologist and Team Leader for the USDA Forest Service's Baltimore Field Station. He is a Co-Principal Investigator in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) LTER. Grove was a dual major in Architecture and Studies in the Environment from Yale College (B.A.), a M.F.S. in Community Forestry from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and a M. Phil. and Ph.D. in Social Ecology from Yale University.

Grove has worked in Baltimore since 1989 and was a founding member of the BES LTER. Grove leads the social science team for BES, where his research focuses on long term dynamics of property regimes, land management, and watersheds. Grove is the science lead for the Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) software tools. In 2001, for his work in Baltimore, Grove was the first social scientist in the U.S. Forest Service to every receive the President’s award for early career scientists.

Dr. Christopher Boone is Professor and Associate Dean in the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. He is presently a visiting professor at Georgetown University.

For more than a dozen years, he has participated in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study examining the long term social and environmental drivers and consequences of urbanization. His research contributes to ongoing debates in sustainable urbanization, environmental justice, vulnerability, and global environmental change. He is a co-PI for the Central Arizona Phoenix LTER, Baltimore Ecosystem LTER, two Urban Long Term Research Area projects (DC, Los Angeles) and the PI for a comparative ULTRA award (Phoenix, Albuquerque, Las Cruces) all supported by the National Science Foundation. For the past three years he has sat on the scientific steering committee for the Urbanization and Global Environmental Change project, a core initiative of the International Human Dimensions program, and also participated in the US Global Change Research Program's US National
Climate Assessment for Cities. He received his PhD in Geography from the University of Toronto in 1994.

Dr. Deborah Balk is Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY)’s Baruch School of Public Affairs and the CUNY Graduate Center (in the Sociology and Economics Programs) and Associate Director of the CUNY Institute for Demographic Research. Her expertise lies in spatial demography and the integration of earth and social science data and methods to address interdisciplinary policy questions. Her current research focus is on urbanization, population, poverty, and environmental interactions (such as climate change). Prior to joining CUNY in 2006, she was a research scientist Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network where she was also lead Project Scientist for the NASA-funded Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center. She received her Ph.D. in Demography from the University of California at Berkeley, and her Master’s Degree in Public Policy, and A.B. in International Relations, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has recently completed service on an National Research Council panel on Himalayan Glaciers, Hydrology, Climate Change, and Implications for Water Security and co-authored a paper on city population forecasts and water scarcity in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Paty Romero-Lankao is a "multidisciplinary sociologist" by training leading the Urban Futures Initiative at NCAR (, US where she is a research scientist since 2006. Her work has focused on crucial intersections between urban development and the environment. In particular, she has studied key issues of (a) how particular cities attempt to meet the challenges of reducing emissions while improving their capacity to respond to environmental impacts; (b) how urban development impacts the environment; and (c) what societal factors explain cities' vulnerability/resilience to environmental hazards. In addition to research supported by academic awards, she has participated in global and local endeavors promoted by IPCC, UNDP and UN-HABITAT. She was co-leading author to Working Group II of the Nobel prize-winning IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report and is currently convening author of the AR5 North American chapter.

Dr. Frances E. “Ming” Kuo is a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she directs the multidisciplinary Landscape and Human Health Laboratory. She holds appointments in both the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and in the Department of Psychology.  Her background is in cognitive psychology and environmental psychology, with degrees from the University of California, Berkeley (M.A.) and the University of Michigan (Ph.D.).

Ming Kuo is a nationally and internationally recognized scientist examining the impacts of urban landscapes on human health. Her research focuses on how the presence of trees, grass, and other natural elements within the settings of daily life supports healthy human functioning in both individuals and communities. Starting in 1993, she led a series of studies on the impacts of green residential spaces on human functioning in inner city Chicago, for which she and her collaborators received the Environmental Design Research Association’s Achievement Award. Subsequently, she and her former student Dr. Andrea Faber Taylor began examining the impacts of green spaces on Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD); that line of investigation has yielded both rigorously controlled evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between physical environments and AD/HD symptoms, as well as a large, national study documenting the generalizability of this relationship.  Currently, in addition to her AD/HD work, Dr. Kuo is investigating positive impacts of schoolyard environments on students’ academic achievement (as measured by standardized test scores), and the impacts of green space on physical health.  Dr. Kuo’s work has convincingly linked healthy urban ecosystems to stronger, safer neighborhoods, lower crime, reduced AD/HD symptoms, reduced aggression, and an array of mental health indicators.  

Dr. Arpad Horvath is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, head of the Energy, Civil Infrastructure and Climate Graduate Program, Director of the Consortium on Green Design and Manufacturing, and Director of the Engineering and Business for Sustainability certificate program ( His research focuses on life-cycle environmental and economic assessment of products, processes, and services, particularly of civil infrastructure systems and the built environment. He was Conference Chair of the 6th International Conference on Industrial Ecology in 2011. Professor Horvath is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Infrastructure Systems. He is a member of the, Environmental Engineering Committee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board.

Dr. Austin Troy is Associate Professor at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and Director of UVM's Transportation Research Center. He has a secondary academic appointment in Computer Science. He addresses issues at the intersection of urban and regional planning and environmental sustainability using tools such as Geographic Information Systems, spatial econometrics, and dynamic modeling. He is author of the book The Very Hungry City (Yale University Press, 2012), which is about how cities consume energy, what rising global energy prices will mean for cities in the future, and what cities can do today reduce their energy footprint without compromising their quality of life. He also lead-edited and co-authored the book Living on the Edge: Economic, Institutional and Management Perspectives on Wildfire Hazard in the Urban Interface (Elsevier Press, 2007), and has authored dozens of journal articles and book chapters. His work has been covered in numerous media venues, including public radio stations across the country, The Boston Globe, Vancouver Sun, Grist, Baltimore Sun, Atlantic Monthly’s Atlantic Cities magazine, Slate, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, and many others. He is Principal and Co-founder of Spatial Informatics Group, LLC, a California-based environmental consulting firm in operation since 1998. He is a fellow of the Gund Institute of Ecological Economics and co-principal investigator of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, one of the National Science Foundation’s two urban Long-Term Ecological Research projects. In addition, he served for four years as a planning commissioner for the city of Burlington VT. Educated at Yale College (B.A.), Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (M.F.), and University of California Berkeley (Ph.D.), he is originally from Los Angeles, CA.

Dr. Emily Zechman graduated with her B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering at the University of Kentucky, and she completed her Ph.D. at North Carolina State University, where her doctorate research developed new systems analysis methodologies to address planning and management for management water resources systems.  Upon completion of her Ph.D. in 2005, she worked at North Carolina State University (NCSU) as a post-doctorate research associate and a research assistant professor. In 2007, Dr. Zechman moved to Texas A&M University as an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering.  In 2011, she returned to the NCSU Department of Civil, Construction, & Environmental Engineering as an assistant professor.

Dr. Zechman leads the Sociotechnical Systems Analysis Laboratory at NCSU.  The research addresses the question, “How do human behaviors and choices impact the performance of engineered infrastructure systems?”  New simulation and optimization methodologies are developed to study and understand the interconnections among water resources, society, energy resources, and infrastructure. This research program seeks to provide new understanding of urban sociotechnical systems by developing modeling techniques that couple engineering and environmental models with complex adaptive models, including agent-based, cellular automata, and system dynamics simulation tools. New evolutionary computation-based algorithms are coupled with sociotechnical models to develop public policy for managing the sustainability, security, and resilience of water resources.  Dr. Zechman teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in water resources engineering, hydrology, and systems analysis for civil engineering.  Dr. Zechman received Best Research-Oriented Paper Awards in 2010 and 2011 for her publications in the ASCE Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management.

Dr. Kevin J. Krizek is Professor of Environmental Design and Transport at the University of Colorado (CU) where he also serves as Outreach and Education Coordinator for Sustainability efforts. Krizek heads the Active Communities / Transportation (ACT) Research Group--researchers studying how land use-transportation policies influence household residential location decisions and travel behavior. He is appointed to the bicycle transportation committee of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies and is the Senior Transportation Fellow for the Environmental Center at CU.

From 2007-2012, Krizek was Director of the PhD Program in Design and Planning in the College of Architecture and Planning. He is founding co-editor of theJournal of Transport and Land Use, chaired the inaugural World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research(2011), and from 2006-2012, he was Chair of the Transportation Research Board Committee on Telecommunications and Travel (a division of the National Research Council). Krizek earned a Ph.D. in Urban Design and Planning and M.S.C.E. from the University of Washington. His master's degree in planning is from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hilland his undergraduate degree is from Northwestern University. Professor Krizek maintains a blog at www.vehicleforasmallplanet.comon active communities, active transportation, and bicycle planning.

Environmental Education

Open Spaces as Learning Places

The Open Spaces as Learning Places curriculum was developed to teach New Haven students about environmental stewardship through exploration of open space sites in their communities. The curriculum targets 6th grade and aligns with state-mandated science standards. These students are old enough to understand and appreciate the complex nature of local ecological systems and young enough to retain their sense of wonder that comes from investigating the world around them.  Yale F&ES students taught the curriculum in dozens of classrooms over 8 years.  The positive response by principals, teachers and their students led the New Haven Board of Education to adopt the Open Spaces curriculum as the required instruction in 2009.  Thirty New Haven teachers attended Yale F&ES for a week-long training to prepare for the transition and to lead the instruction.

Open Spaces as Learning Places: River Unit


Yale Courses

As part of the Master of Environmental Management degree program, the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies offers a Specialization in Urban Ecology

This specialization applies the concepts of traditional ecology to urban ecosystems and seeks to understand how they compare to undeveloped environments.  Most of the world’s inhabitants live in cities, and that proportion is growing daily.  Thus, urban ecosystems are the ones people interact with directly most of the time.  Urban ecosystems encompass all of the elements of rural areas, but include large human populations and their associated built environments.  As a result, urban ecology must integrate classical ecology with other fields, including engineering, architecture, anthropology, economics, and law.

Details and courses for this MEM Specialization


Research Partnerships

NYC Urban Field Station

This fellowship is sponsored jointly by URI and the Hixon Center and the NYC Urban Field Station. It is a partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and The NYC Department of Parks & Recreation.  Applications due March 2, 2015.  See the Call for Fellows for more information.

Morton Arboretum’s Center for Tree Science (Chicago)

The Center for Tree Science at The Morton Arboretum brings together scientists and experts to participate in collaborative research that addresses key challenges facing trees in urban areas and in the wild. Follow the Hixon Fellowship application guidelines to apply for this opportunity.  Read more about the Morton Fellowship here.








































































































































Apply for Grant

Grant Awards in Urban Ecology: Call for Proposals

Five grant awards ranging from $5,000 - $7,000 are available to Yale FES students interested in conducting natural and social science research, education & outreach projects for the following topic areas:  

  • Urban ecosystem restoration
  • Urban forestry and forestry across an urban-rural gradient
  • Projects related to pollution of air, water and soil in cities
  • Funding preference will be given for one student to conduct research with the Morton Arboretum as this a Hixon Center priority (see further details here of this research fellowship sponsored jointly by The Morton Arboretum and the Hixon Center)

In the fall 2015 term, students must take a 3-credit project course to complete their research/project manuscript.  Projects must be completed by mid-December 2015. The award will be provided in 3 installments: 50% upon acceptance of the proposal; 25% upon enrollment in the project course in September; and the final 25% upon completion of the project course, and receipt of an abstract and of a minimum 10-page final report (which will be published on the Hixon website).  

Submission Guidelines: Proposals should include maximum 3-page narrative, budget and identify a faculty advisor.  Please direct proposals to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) preferably by March 6, 2015.  Successful applicants will be notified by March 25, 2015.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the 2014 Hixon Fellow presentations on February 27 from 9:00 -10:30 a.m. in Sage room 41C.

Gaboury Benoit                        Colleen Murphy-Dunning 
Faculty Director                      Center Director


Advancing fundamental knowledge and understanding of urban ecosystems

Advancing the practice of sustainable environmental design for the urban landscape

Fostering the positive experience of natural systems among urban residents

Examining the relationships, impacts and demands of urban watersheds

Initiating community based land stewardship and resource management

Teaching interdisciplinary urban science and policy nationally and internationally



Information Resources

These pages provide links to bibliographic information and organizational websites that are related to various issues associated with the mission of the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology. The information contained on these pages has been gathered through student projects and by Hixon Center student assistants. It is not meant to be an all inclusive list of sources on each topic, nor has every source been evaluated for quality. More information resources within the field of urban ecology will be added to this Website in the near future. In addition, these pages will be updated regularly; please visit this site again for new information.

· Environmental Education
· Community and Urban Forestry
· Land Recovery
· Environmental Design
· Transporation and Technology
· Sustainable Economic Development

Environmental Education


Biology is Outdoors: A Comprehensive Resource for Studying School Environments; J.M. Hancock, Weston Walch, 1991.

Bottle Biology; M. Ingram, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co.; 1993. The Carnegie Academy for Science Education; C.C. James, 1995.

Creepy Crawlies and the Scientific Method; S.S. Kneidal, Fulcrum Publishing; 1993.

Critters; M.M. Allen, Aims Education Foundation; 1989.

Earth Child; Sheehan & Waidner, Council Oak Press; 1991.

Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment and the Human Prospect; David Reid, Earthscan Publications, Ltd.; London, 1995.

Ecological Literacy: Education and the Transition to a Postmodern World; David Orr, State University of New York Press; 1992.

Education Goes Outdoors; F.A. Johns, K.A. Liske, A.L. Evans, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.; 1986.

Environmental Education in the Schools: Creating a Program That Works!; J.A. Braus and D. Wood, North American Association for Environmental Education; 1993.

Environmental Literacy: Education and the Transition to a Postmodern World; David Orr, Island Press; 1994.

Golden Guide Pond Life; G.K. Reid, Golden Press; 1987.

Habitats: Making Homes for Animals and Plants; P.M. Hickman; Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. 1993.

Hands-on Nature: Information and Activities for Exploring the Environment with Children; J. Lingelbach, Vermont Institute of Science; 1986.

The Nature Book. M. Dekkers, MacMillan Publishing Co. 1988.

Nature with Children of All Ages; E.A. Sisson, Prentice Hall Press; 1982.

Ponds and Streams; J. Sidworthy, Troll Associates; 1990.

Pond and Brook: A Guide to Nature in Freshwater Environments; M. Caduto, Hanover and London; 1985.

Practical Botanist; R.Imes, Simon & Schuster, Inc.; 1990.

Science Arts; M.A. Kohl, J. Potter, Bright Ring Publishing; 1993.

Urban Forestry for Children; UC Cooperative Extension, University of California Press.

Water Science; D. Seed, Addison-Wesley Publishing; 1992.

WOW The Wonder of Wetlands: An Educator’s Guide; B.E. Slattery, Environmental Concern; 1991.

Curriculum Guides

Learning About Plants (LEAP), Grade 3 Curricula; Cornell Plantation, 1991.

Learning About Plants (LEAP), Grade 5 Curricula; Cornell Plantation, 1991.

Pond Water Tour: The Water Test Kit and Minicurriculum for Exploring Lakes, Streams and Ponds; LaMotte Co., 1994.

Project WILD, Western Regional Environmental Education Council, 1992.

Aquatic WILD, Western Regional Environmental Education Council, 1987.

NatureScope: Amazing Mammals Part I, National Wildlife Federation, 1986.

Journal Articles

Conservation Behavior as the Outcome of Environmental Education. Asch, J. and B.M. Shore; Journal of Environmental Education pp. 25-33, 1975.

Critical Review of Behavioral Interventions to Preserve the Environment: Research Since 1980. Dwyer, W.O., F.C. Leeming, M.K. Cobern, B.E. Porter, and J.M.Jackson; Environment and Behavior pp. 275-321; 1993.

Changing Learner Behavior Through Environmental Education. Hungerford, H.R. and T.L. Volk; Journal of Environmental Education; Aug 1990.

The Development and Retention of Environmental Attitudes in Elementary School Children. Jaus, H.H.; Journal of Environmental Education pp. 33-36; 1984.

Education for the Environment: Higher education's challenge of the next century. Orr, David, The Journal of Environmental Education, 27: 7-10; 1996.

Education's challenge: re-calibrating values. Orr, David, Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy, 9: 43-47; 1994.

The Effect of Environmental Education Instruction on Children's Attitudes Toward the Environment. Jaus, H.H.; Science Education pp. 689-692; 1983.

The Impact of Environmental Education Programs on Knowledge and Attitude. Armstrong, J.B. and J.C. Impara; Journal of Environmental Education pp.31-43, 1991.

Organizations and Websites

Community Treehouse
Promotes Portland, Oregon's urban open spaces through summer programming for children and community

Earth Systems
“We develop, compile, categorize, and deliver environmental education and information resources using leading electronic technologies”

Provide resources for environmental educators, with a special focus on South Central Wisconsin.

National Tree Trust
Educate and empower America's youth while planting trees.

Wisconsin Nature Center directory.

North American Association for Environmental Education

National Environmental Education Advancement Project


Community and Urban Forestry


Children’s Participation: The Theory and Practice of Involving Young Citizens in Community Development and Environmental Care. Hart, R.A., UNICEF, 1997.

Community Benefits from Urban Forestry: The Urban Resources Initiative Managing Urban and High Use Recreation Settings. Grove, M., K.E. Vatcha, M.H. McDonough, W.R. Burch, Jr. USDA Forestry, 1993.

Community Organizations: Studies in Resource Mobilization, Milofsky, C., Oxford University Press, 1988.

A Place to Grow: Voices and Images of Urban Gardeners, Hassler, D. and L. Gregor, Pilgrim Press, 1999.

Planning Neighborhood Space with People. Hester, Jr., Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1984.

Journal Articles

Measuring the Value of the Urban Forest. MacDonald, L., American Forests 102:26-29, 1996.

Participating in Urban Forestry Projects: How the Community Benefits. Westphal, L.M., American Forests, 1995.

Participatory Planning and Design of Recreational Spaces with Children. Iltus, S. and R. Hart, Architecture and Behavior pp. 361-370, 1995.

Participatory Rural Appraisal and Participatory Learning Methods. Mascarenhas, Forest Trees and People.

Social Forestry and GIS. Grove, J.M. and M. Hohmann, Journal of Forestry pp. 10-15, 1992.

Trees and Wind: A Bibliography for Tree Care Professionals. Cullen, S. Journal of Arboriculture 28(1). 2002.

Organizations and Websites

American Community Gardening Association

American Forests

Community Resources

Connecticut Forest and Park Association

The Evergreen Foundation

International Society of Arboriculture

National Gardening Association

Northeast Center for Urban and Community Forestry

Society of Municipal Arborists


Tree Link

Trees New York

University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension Service

USDA Forest Service

USDA's Plants home page

Washington DC, District Department of Transportation, Urban Forestry Administration

World Wide Web Virtual Library: Forestry


Land Recovery


Brownfields: A Practical Guide to the Cleanup, Transfer and Redevelopment of Contaminated Property. Moyer, C. and G. Trimarche. Argent Communications Group. 1997.

Brownfields Redevelopment: A Guidebook for Local Governments and Communities. Kirshenberg, S.; Fischer, W.; Bartsch, C. and E. Collaton. International City/County Management Association and Northeast-Midwest Institute, Washington, D.C. 1997.

Brownfield Redevelopment, Air Quality and Electricity Restructuring. Center for Clean Air Policy, Washington, D.C. 1998.

The Brownfields Report
A bi-weekly newsletter that provides the latest information on brownfields projects, policies, and events. It is available in hard copy, via e-mail or fax.
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: (202) 638-4260
Fax: (202) 662-9744

Brownfields State of the State Report: 50-State Program Roundup. Bartsch, C. Northeast-Midwest Institute, Washington, D.C. 1998.

Characteristics of Sustainable Brownfields Projects. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (EPA 500-R-98-001). 1998.

The Effects of Environmental Hazards and Regulation on Urban Redevelopment. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research, Washington, D.C. 1998.

Environmental Justice, Urban Revitalization, and Brownfields: The Search for Authentic Signs of Hope. National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. NEJAC, Waste and Facility Siting Committee, New York. 1996.

EPA Special Session on RCRA and Brownfields, Discussion Paper. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. November 18, 1998.

Financing Brownfield Reuse: Creative Use of Public Sector Programs. Bartsch, C. Northeast-Midwest Institute, Washington, D.C. 1997.

Innovations in Brownfield Finance: Issues, Opportunities, and Emerging Initiatives. Northeast-Midwest Institute, Washington, D.C. 1998.

Innovative Strategies, Practical Solutions: A Blueprint for Brownfield Redevelopment. Council of Great Lakes Governors, Chicago. 1998.

Lessons from the Field: Unlocking Economic Potential with an Environmental Key. Pepper, E. Northeast-Midwest Institute, Washington, D.C. 1997.

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Brownfields Legislation: Q&A. Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. March 13, 1997.

New Direction, A Report on Regulatory Reinvention: The Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative, Laying the Framework for Sustainability. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Reinvention (EPA 100-R-98-20). 1998.

Pennsylvania’s Land Recycling Program Annual Report, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. July 1998.

Recycling America’s Land: A National Report on Brownfields Redevelopment. U.S. Conference of Mayors, Washington, D.C. 1998.

Redeveloping Brownfields: How States and Localities Use CDBG Funds. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research, Washington, D.C. 1998.

Turning Brownfields Into Greenbacks: Developing and Financing Environmental Contaminated Urban Real Estate. Simons, R. 1998.

The Urban Land Institute, Washington, D.C.: Thinking Ecologically, The Next Generation of Environmental Law and Policy, Esty, D. and M. Chertow, Eds., Yale University Press, New Haven. 1997.

ULI on the Future: Smart Growth. Urban Land Institute, Washington, D.C. 1998.

Waste Programs Environmental Justice Accomplishments Report, Executive Summary. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (EPA 540-R-95-239). 1995.

Journal Articles

Brownfields Bear Fruit for Developers. Feldman, A. Crain’s New York Business, 12(46). 1996.

Brownfields, Environmental Federalism, and Institutional Determinism. Buzbee, W. William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, 21(1). 1997.

Brownfields in Bloom: Restoring Contaminated Properties. Brand, M. and J. Herman. Bench and Bar, May/June, 1997.

Brownfields National Partnership: The Federal Role in Brownfields Redevelopment. Kaiser, S. Public Works Management and Policy, 2(3). 1998.

Brownfields of Dreams: Can EPA, Developers, and Local Communities Transform Old Industrial Sites into New Economic Hopes? Lerner, S. The Amicus Journal, Winter 1996.

Brownfields Perspective from Dr. Suess to Government Initiatives. O’Conner, R. and L. Pasciak. The Weston Way, March 1996.

Brownfields Redevelopment: A State-led Reform of Superfund Liability. Andrew, A. Natural Resources and Environment, 10(3): 27-31. 1996.

Brownfields – Redevelopment Efforts Grow. Williams, C. Wall Street Journal. September 22, 1995.

Designing and Enforcing Institutional Controls for Contaminated Properties: A Primer for Local Governments. Schilling, J. Municipal Lawyer, 39(2). 1998.

Pay Dirt: Real Estate Investors Avoid Properties that May be Polluted: Ron Bruder Thrives on the Yucky Stuff. Geer, C. Forbes, April 20, 1998.

Public Health and Brownfields: Reviving the Past to Protect the Future. Greenberg, M.; Lee, C. and C. Powers. American Journal of Public Health (accepted for publication). 1998.

Reclaiming Our Lost Industrial Heritage: Trenton’s Experience. Mallach, Alan. New Jersey Municipalities, March 1998.

Technology; Composite; Finding Greenbacks in Brownfields. Merrion, P. Crain's Chicago Business, April 8, 1996.

Organizations and Websites

The Brownfields Center

Brownfield Central: Market place for Property Resources

The Brownfields Non-Profits Network

The Center for Brownfields Initiatives

Environmental Law Institute

EPA Brownfields News and Events

Great Lakes Environmental Finance Center

International City/County Management Association

Northeast-Midwest Institute, Center for Regional Policy

Northeast-Midwest Institute Publications

Resources for the Future

U.S. Conference of Mayors


American Redevelopment, L.L.C.
27525 Puenta Real, Suite 100-606
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Phone: 714-457-2176
Fax: 714-582-3042

Brownfield Development Corporation
3105-C North Wilke Road
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
Phone: 847-342-8830
Fax: 847-870-8331
E-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Cherokee Industries, L.L.C.
5445 DTC Parkway, Suite 900
Englewood, CO 80111
Phone: (303) 771-9200

Dames & Moore/Brookhill, L.L.C.
11 East 44th Street, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 986-6660
Fax: (212) 986-6662

Greenfield Development Corporation
13102 NE 20th Street
Bellevue, WA 98005
Phone: (206) 885-2897
Fax: (206) 869-6497
E-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Koll ENSR Realty Advisors
275 Battery Street, Suite 1300
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: (415) 772-0259
Fax: (415) 772-0459

National RE/Sources Corporation
485 West Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, CT 06830
Phone: (203) 661-0055
Fax: (203) 661-8071

Phoenix Land Recycling
3700 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: (717) 541-1980
Fax: (717) 541-1970


Environmental Design


Building and health: Indoor climate and effective energy use. Johnson, B.G., J. Kronvall, T. Lindvall, B. Pettersson, A, Wallin, and H. Weiss Lindencrona, Swedish Council for Building Research, 20 pages. 1991.

Building materials identified as major sources for indoor air pollution: a critical review of case studies. Gustafsson, Hans, Stockholm: Swedish Council for Building Research, 72 pages. 1992.

Building the Dream: A Social History of Housing in America. Wright, Gwendolyn. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1981.

Ceramic Houses & Earth Architecture: How to Build Your Own. Khalili, Nader. Los Angeles: Burning Gate Press, 1990.

Cities without Suburbs. Selman, Paul. St. Martin's Press, New York. 1996.

Cradle to Cradle - Remaking the Way We Make Things. McDonough, W. and M. Braungart. New York, North Point Press. 2002.

Doll Play as a Tool for Urban Designers. Brower, S., L. Gray, and R. Stough. Baltimore City Planning Commission 1977.

Ecological Design. Van der Ryn, Sim & Cowan, Stuart. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1996.

Eco-Pioneers: Practical Visionaries Solving Today's Environmental Problems. Lerner, Steve. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1997.

From Eco-Cities to Living Machines: Principles of Ecological Design. Todd, Nancy Jack & Todd, John. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1994.

Edge City: Life on the New Frontier. Garreau, J. Anchor. New York. 1992.

Energy and Problems of a Technical Society, Second Edition. Kraushaar, J. J. and R. A. Ristinen. New York, John Wiley & Sons. 1993.

Environmental Design: An Introduction for Architects and Engineers - Second Edition. Thomas, R., Ed. London, E & FN Spon. 1999.

Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use. Von Weizsacker, E., Lovins, A.B. and Lovins, L.H. Earthscan, London. 1997.

Getting Eco-Efficient. Chenery, Hollis. Johns Hopkins University Press Baltimore. 1979.

Green Development: Integrating Ecology and Real Estate. Wilson, Alex, Uncapher, Jenifer L., McManigal, Lisa, Lovins, L. Hunter, Cureton, Maureen, Browning, William D. New York: John Wiley & Sons,Inc, 1998.

A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations. Ponting, Clive. New York: Penguin Books, 1991.

A Green Vitruvius - Principles and Practice of Sustainable Architectural Design. Fitzgerald, E., A. McNichols, et al. London, James & James Ltd. 1999.

Guidelines for Sustainable Development. Gerace A. J., Flora, R.L., Kobet, R. J., Lieninger, C.L., & Whetzel, J. The Slippery Rock Foundation, 1993.

The HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design. Mendler, S. and W. Odell. New York: John Wiley and Sons. 2000.

Handbook of Sustainable Building: An Environmental Preference Method for Selection of Materials for Use in Construction and Refurbishment. Anink, D., C. Boonstra, et al. London, James & James Limited. 1996.

The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability. McDonough, William A. New York: William McDonough Architects, 1998.

Indoor and outdoor air pollution and human cancer. Tomatis, L. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 162 pages. 1993.

In The Ecology of Commerce: a declaration of sustainability. Hawken, Paul. New York: Harper Collins. 1994.

Local Environmental Resource Centers. Kean,J., E. Adams. The Newcastle Architecture Workshop. 1991.

Local Sustainability: Managing and Planning Ecologically Sound Places. Selman, Paul. Chapman, Paul Publishing, Limited. 1996.

Magic Carpet: How to make a profit by reusing waste. Hawken, Paul. Mother Jones. 1997.

Mega-Slums: the coming sanitary crisis. Black, Maggie, London: WaterAid Report, 30 pages. 1994.

Modern Architecture. Scully, Vincent Jr. New York: George Braziller, 1994
New Towns: The British Experience. Evans, H. New York: John Wiley. 1972.

Planning for a Sustainable Environment. Garreau, Joel. Doubleday Press New York. 1991.

Proceedings of the 21st Annual Conference of the Environmental Design Research Association. Selby, R., K. Anthony, J. Choi, and B. Orland. Environmental Design Research Association. 1990.

The Rammed Earth House. Easton, David. White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 1996.

Reshaping the Built Environment: Ecology, Ethics, and Economics. C. Kibert, ed. Washington, DC: Island Press. 1999.

The Road to Ecolonia: Evaluation and resident's survey. Novem. Amsterdam: drukkerij Rob Stolk bv, 1993.

Sick building syndrome: concepts, issues and practice. Roston, Jack, London: Spon, 186 pages. 1997.

Sick Building Syndrome: Sources, health effects, mitigation. Baechler, M.C., D.L. Hadley, T.J. Marseille, R.D. Stenner, M.R. Peterson, D.F. Naugle, and M.A. Berry. New Jersey: Noyes Data Corporation, 328 pages. 1991.

The Straw Bale House. Steen, A.S., Steen, B., & Bainbridge, D. White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 1994.

Streetwork: The Exploding School. Ward,C., A. Fyson. Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1976.

Sustainable Communities: A New Design for Cities, Suburbs, and Towns. Van der Ryn, Sim & Calthorpe, Peter. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1986.

Sustainable Development: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy. Lovins, A., Brylawski, M., Cramer, D. and Moore, T. Rocky Mountain Institute, Colorado. 1996.

Toward a Sustainable Future: Addressing the Long-Term Effects of Motor Vehicle Transportation on Climate and Ecology. Transportation Research Board (TRB). National Research Council: Washington, D.C. Special Report 251. 1997.

Urban Environmental Management: Environmental Change and Urban Design. White, R.W. John Wiley & Sons. 1994.

The Urban Wilderness: A History of the American City. Warner, Sam Bass Jr. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995.

Water and the City: The Next Century. Rosen, Howard and Ann Durkin Keating, Chicago: Public Works Historical Society, 385 pages. 1991.

Xerox: Design for the Environment. Harvard Business School. Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston. 1993.

Journal Articles

A home fit for ecowarriors. Berry, John, New Scientist, July 30: 40. 1994.

Architecture goes green: an array of new projects proves that buildings can be ecologically correct, cost-efficient and beautiful as well. Lemonick, Michael D., Time, April 5: 38. 1993.

Audubon building flies as energy-efficient wonder. Weiss, Lois, Real Estate Weekly, 39(29): 1A. 1993.

Audubon Society opens green headquarters; environmentally designed building. Crosbie, Michael J., Progressive Architecture, 74(3): 19. 1993.

The benefits of lean and clean. Romm, Joseph J., Technology Review, 98(Feb./Mar.): 70-71. 1995.

The Chickens Can Come Home to Roost: the anatomy of a local infrastructure crisis. Rosell, Ellen. Urban Affairs Quarterly. 30, December 1994.

Cities in the developing world: Agenda for action following HABITAT II. Annez, Patricia and Alfred Friendly. Finance & Development, 33(December): 12-14. 1996.

The concepts of sustainable development and environmentally sound technology. Brooks, H. ATAS Bulletin 1(7). 1992.

Current concepts: building related illnesses. Menzies, Dick and Jean Bourbeau, The New England Journal of Medicine, 337(November 20): 1524-1531. 1997.

Economic effects of poor IAQ: Just opening a window can disrupt production. Haymore, Curtis and Rosemarie Odom, EPA Journal, Fall 1993.

Effect of a new ventilation system on health and well being of office workers. Menzies, Dick, Joe Pasztor, Fatima Nunes, Jeff Leduc, Chun-Ho Chan, Archives of Environmental Health, 52(5): 360. 1997.

Effects of luminous environment on worker productivity in building spaces. Abdou, Ossama A. Journal of Architectural Engineering, 3(Sept.): 124-132. 1997.

Environmental chamber for investigation of building envelope performance. Fazio, Paul, Andreas K. Athienitis, and Cedric Marsh, Journal of Architectural Engineering, 3(June): 97-102. 1997.

Eurosprawl. Marshall, Alex. Metropolis. 1995.

Experimental investigation of solar chimney assisted bioclimatic architecture. Kumar, Sanjay, S. Sinha and N. Kumar, Energy Conversion and Management, 39(Mar./Apr.): 441-444. 1998.

Georgia Setting Up Tough Anti-Sprawl Agency. Firestone, D. The New York Times. March 24, 1999.

IAQ: Whose responsibility? Levin, Hal, EPA Journal, Fall 1993.

If You Build it, They will Come. Chen, D. Progress. March 1998.

Indicators of Urban Sprawl. Oregon's Department of Land Conservation and Development. 1992.

Indoor air pollution: acute adverse health effects and host susceptibility. Zummo, Susan M. and Meryl H. Karol, Journal of Environmental Health, 58(Jan./Feb.): 25-29. 1996.

Indoor air quality investigation protocols. Greene, Robert E. and Phillip L. Williams, Journal of Environmental Health, 59(October): 6-13. 1996.

The indoor air we breathe: a public health problem of the 90’s. Oliver, L. Christine and Bruce W. Shackleton, Public Health Reports, 113(5): 398. 1998.

Indoor dynamic climatology: investigations on the interactions between walls and indoor environment. Camuffo, Dario, Atmospheric Environment, 17(9): 1803-1809. 1983.

Interview: Rome, sustainable city. Sachs-Jeanet, Celine. International Social Science Journal, 48(March): 103-106. 1996.

Investigating sick buildings: No obvious sources of contaminants are found. Leaderer, Brian, EPA Journal, Fall 1993.

Metropolis Unbound - The Sprawling American City and the Search for Alternatives. Geddes, R. The American Prospect. Nov/Dec. 1997.

Modeling the indoor environment. Austin, Barbara S., Stanley M. Greenfield, and Bruce R. Weir. Environmental Science and Technology, 26(May): 850-858. 1992.

The Natural Step Takes a First Step in the US. Environmental Building News. 1996.

The Next Industrial Revolution McDonough, William & Braungart, M. The Atlantic Monthly, 282(4). 1998.

On the energy consumption and indoor air quality in office and hospital buildings in Athens. Argiriou, A, D. Asimakopoulos and C. Balaras. Energy Conservation and Management, 35(May): 385-394. 1994.

Organic emissions from consumer products and building materials to the indoor environment. Tichenor, Bruce A. and Mark A. Mason, JAPCA, 38(March):264-268. 1988.

Pedestrian paradise. Durning, Alan Thein, Sierra, 82(May/June): 36-39. 1997.

The Politics of Smart Growth. Orski, C. K. Innovation Briefs. 10(2). Mar/Apr 1999.

Prove It: The Costs and Benefits of Sprawl. Gordon, P. and H.W. Richardson. In Brookings Review. The New Metropolitan Agenda. 1998.

Restructuring the City: Thoughts on Urban Patterns in the Information Society. Friedman, Ken. 1996.

Revisiting urban habitats: The human face of the urban environment. Satterthwaite, David, Proceedings of the second annual world bank conference on environmentally sustainable development. Environment, 38(November): 25-28. 1996.

RITE: Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth. Kondo, Jiro, Endeavour, 18(4): 154-157. 1994.

Sick building litigation raises stakes for insurers. McGowan, Owen P., Best’s Review – Property-Casualty Insurance Edition, 97(6): 112. 1996.

Sick building syndrome. O’Connell, Linda Matys, E, 6(1): 20. 1995.

Suburban Sprawl-Can we do anything about it? Orski, C. K. Innovation Briefs. 10(1). Jan/Feb 1999.

Sustainable cities: oxymoron, utopia, or inevitability? Blassingame, Lurton, The Social Science Journal, 35(1): 1-13. 1998.

The sustainable city. Gangloff, Deborah, American Forests, 101(May/June): 30-34. 1995.

Textile wall materials and sick building syndrome. Jaakkola, Jouni J.K., Pekka Tuomaala, and Olli Seppanen, Archives of Environmental Health, 49(3): 175. 1994.

To Engineer the Metropolis: Sewers, Sanitation, and City Planning in Late-Nineteenth-Century America. Schultz, Stanley K. and Clay McShane. The Journal of American History, 65(2): 389-411. 1978.

The view from Congress: we can no longer overlook the indoors. Waxman, Henry A., EPA-Journal, 19(Oct./Dec.): 38-39. 1993.

Water management and urban development. Niemczynowicz, Janusz, Impact of science on society, 166: 131-147. 1992.

Who pays for sprawl? Hidden subsidies fuel the growth of the suburban fringe. Longman, Philip J. U.S. News & World Report. 1998.

Organizations and Websites

American Institute of Architects

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

Architecture & Building Links

Built Environment Center

The Centre for Sustainable Design

Civil Engineering Research Foundation (CERF/IIEC)

Community Eco-Design Network (CEN)

Design-Build Institute of America

East St. Louis Research Project
Urban planning, architecture and design schools all conduct research and outreach in East St. Louis in order to revitalize the neighborhoods, promote community-based development

Eco-Home Network: ecological housing & sustainable development

Ecological Design Center

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network, US Department of Energy

Environ Design Collaborative

Great Lakes Environmental Finance Center

Green Building Information Council

Institution of Civil Engineers

McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry

National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS)

Northwestern University Infrastructure Technology Institute (ITI)

Smart Communities Network

Sprawl Watch Clearinghouse

Sustainable Design, Green Building, Energy Efficiency & Healthy Homes Books

Sustainable Sources

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

Urban Ecology: Rebuilding our cities in balance with nature



Transportation and Technology


Driving Forces - The Automobile, Its Enemies, and the Politics of Mobility. Dunn, J.A. Brookings Institution Press. Washington, D.C. 1998.

Making the Connections: Integrating Land-Use and Transportation for Livable Cities. 1000 Friends of Oregon. Volume 7. 1997.

Technology and the Rise of the Networked City in Europe and America, Tarr, Joel A. and Dupuy, Gabriel. Temple University Press, Philadelphia. 1988.

Journal Articles

Applying the brakes: environmental movement and the automobile. Kay, Jane Holtz. The Nation, 251(8): 280. 1990.

Cars and their enemies. Wilson, James Q. Commentary, July 1997: 17-23.

Civil engineering information from ASCE: the civil engineering database. Poland, Jean, DATABASE, 15(5): 56. 1992.

Environmental Implications of Electric Cars. Lave, Lester, Chris Hendrickson, and Francis McMichael. Science 268 May. 1995.

Hypercars: Materials, Manufacturing, and Policy Implications. Moffatt, I. The Parthenon Publishing Group, New York. 1995.

Station Cars: Personal Mobility with Reduced Cost. Bernard, Martin. On the Ground 1(3), Summer. 1995.

Organizations and Websites

Car Free Cities

Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida

Highway Innovation Technology Evaluation Center (HITEC)

Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)

International Center for Technology Assessment

Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways (PATH), University of California, Berkeley

The Partnership for Advancing Technologies in Housing (PATH)



Sustainable Economic Development

Journal Articles

Housing finance and urban infrastructure finance. Kim, Kyung-Hwan. Urban Studies, Vol. 34. Edinburgh: October 1997, pp. 1597-1620.

Environment, economy in Garden State. Brekke, Rhea. Forum for Applied Research and Public-Policy. 11, Winter. 1996

Time is now for hoteliers to help shape U.S. tourism policy Gatty, Bob and Cecelia Blalock. Hotel & Motel Management. 1996.


Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation. Kozol, Jonathan. New York: Harper Perennial, 1995.

Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development. Daly, Herman E. Beacon Press Books. 1997.

Development Aid: The Poor Women’s Perspective: A Synopsis. Jhabvala, Renana. Ahmedabad, India: Self-Employed Women’s Association.

Development in Theory and Practice. Black, Jan Knippers. Boulder: Westview Press, 1991.

Dilemmas of Urban Economic Development: Issues in Theory and Practice. Bingham, Richard D., and Robert Mier (eds.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 1997.

Economics and Development. Ingham, Barbara. New York: McGraw Hill Book Company, 1995.

Economic Development in the Third World, 4th ed. Todaro, Michael P. New York: Longman Inc., 1989.

The Economics of Developing Countries, 2nd ed. Nafziger, E. Wayne. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1990.

Global Environmental Politics. Porter, Gareth and Janet Welsh Brown. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1991.

Industrialization in the Non-Western World, 2nd ed. Kemp, Tom. Essex, England: Longman Group Limited, 1989.

Local Economic Development: Analysis and Practice. Blair, John P. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 1995.

Microfinance for the Poor? Schneider, Hartmut. (ed.) Paris, France: Development Centre of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 1997.

Our Urban Future: New Paradigms for Equity and Sustainability. Badshah, Akhtar A. St. Martin's Press. 1996.

Preparing for the Twenty-first Century. Kennedy, Paul. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, Ltd., 428 pages. 1993.

Poverty Reduction Handbook. The World Bank. Washington, DC: 1993.

Progress for a Small Planet. Ward, Barbara. London: Earthscan Publications Ltd., 1987.

Promoting Environmentally Sound Economic Progress: What the North Can Do. Repetto, Robert C. World Resources Institute. January 1990.

Urban Land Economics and Public Policy, 5th ed. Balchin, Paul N., Gregory H. Bull, and Jeffrey L. Kieve. Great Britain: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1995.

Urban Land Economic Development: Issues in Theory and Practice. Bingham, Richard D. and Mier, Robert. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California. 1997.

Urban Policy and Economic Development: An Agenda for the 1990s. World Bank. 1995.

Vital Signs 1996: The Trends That Are Shaping Our Future. Brown, Lester R., Christopher Flavin, and Hal Kane. New York: Worldwatch Institute, 1996.

Organizations and Websites

Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA)

International Monetary Fund

Local Economic Development and Poverty Alleviation

The National Environmental Health Association

World Bank




2009 Urban Fellow Justin Freiberg's short film about the Urban Foodshed Collaborative.


2011 Hixon Fellow Posters

Student Research Fellows

Following are brief project descriptions and research paper links for the 2000 through 2013 fellows.


2013 Urban Fellows Research Papers

Caitlin Feehan: "A Survey of Green Infrastructure Maintenance Programs in the United States"

Green infrastructure (GI) refers to a set of stormwater management practices that collect, infiltrate, and reuse stormwater runoff as it is created when rain falls on the streets, roofs, and other impervious areas found in cities. Cities across the United States are making significant commitments to the implementation of GI as part of their regulatory requirements to reduce untreated stormwater from flowing into waterways. While the use of GI is growing, little has been written on the need for and the importance of maintenance to keep these GI projects performing over time.  As part of a summer 2013 internship, eight of the cities in the United States leading the trend of GI implementation were surveyed about the current state of each city’s GI maintenance program. Consistent questions were asked of each program and the information collected included: GI maintenance program roles and responsibilities; the maintenance program’s structure; specific maintenance activities and frequencies for those activities; the methods for tracking the completion and results of maintenance activities; and maintenance program costs. This paper documents the results of those conversations and provides a summary of GI maintenance programs based on the eight different maintenance program examples.

Zulimar Lucena: "Factors Controlling Biogeochemical Removal of Nitrogen in Constructed Wetlands"

The Long Island Sound (LIS) estuary is affected by summer hypoxia as a result of high nitrogen loads from New York and Connecticut watersheds. In order to mitigate hypoxia, managers have established a goal of reducing the nitrogen load from nonpoint sources by 10%. One strategy to reduce N loads from nonpoint sources is the use of constructed wetlands, which provide an ecosystem service by removing pollutants from stormwater runoff. This study examined the effectiveness of constructed wetlands in Hamden and Woodbridge, Connecticut in improving the quality of stormwater runoff. Our main objective was to determine the factors that contribute to N removal to provide design recommendations that optimize constructed wetlands performance. A total of 9 to 21 storms were monitored at four sites during the summer and fall of 2013. Weirs and water level loggers were installed at the inlet and outlet of the wetlands to measure water flow. Stormwater samples were collected using ISCO autosamplers at regular intervals over the duration of storm events. These were composited to obtain flow-weighted samples from the inlet and outlet of each wetland to determine nitrogen loads and mean concentrations per storm event. We also surveyed each site to determine plant diversity, sediment organic carbon concentration, and treatment ratios to determine their influence on N removal. Only two sites showed statistically significant biogeochemical removal of N. Our results indicate that wetland heterogeneity and interspersion between open water and vegetation, as well as high sediment carbon concentrations, promote N concentration reduction. Additionally, we examined the effects of input N concentrations, storm size and intensity, and water temperature using multiple linear regression. The models showed that only influent N concentration influences N concentration reduction. Based on our results we recommend designing interspersed wetlands that offer more opportunities for a variety of biogeochemical processes to occur and using sediments with high carbon concentrations to promote denitrification. Considering these variables might result in more effective N concentration reduction. This information contributes to the limited knowledge of constructed wetland design in Connecticut and can promote higher nitrogen removal rates from stormwater in the Long Island Sound watershed.



2012 Urban Fellows Research Papers

Lisa Weber: "Examining the Inter-Storm Variability in Nitrogen Removal Efficiency in a Connecticut Constructed Wetland"

Encroaching development on natural landscapes is making the challenge of high-quality surface water increasingly important. This is perhaps best exemplified in urban stormwater runoff, which carries large amounts of nitrogen and other pollutants from fertilized lawns, septic systems, and ambient air. In New England, this polluted runoff contributes to deadzones in the Long Island Sound. Wetlands, including those that are manmade, may provide a valuable but understudied service by removing nitrogen from this runoff. My research objective this past summer was to evaluate the effectiveness of this service in order to ultimately determine which variables are most important in wetland efficiency (e.g.water temperature or residence time of the water). Managers of Long Island Sound have set a goal of achieving a 10 percent reduction in nitrogen. If constructed wetlands are to play a role in this reduction, they must be better understood.


Molly Greene  "A Mountain by the Sea: Waste-Scapes, Life-Scapes and the Reinention of Fresh Kills"

The town of Travis in Staten Island sits at the foot of the Fresh Kills Landfill, a site that served as New York City’s dumping grounds for more than half a century during the apex of America’s throw-away era. Currently, even as the looming twenty-story mounds ooze leachate and hiss methane gas, operations are underway to convert the site into a 2,200-acre public park. The plan is touted as one of the world’s most ambitious reclamation projects to date – a complete conversion of a wasteland into a “park of the future.” But this present reinvention is just the latest in what has been a long series of transformations. A reexamination of the cultural, economic, and political history of Travis reveals the influence of industrial growth on the American rural landscape, as well as a story of resistance, resilience, and adaptation by local communities.


Max Lambert     "Suburban Neighborhoods and Endocrine Disruption in Developing Green Frogs"

In recent decades, research on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) has grown rapidly. EDCs alter hormonal regulation and can have effects like increases in breast cancer proliferation in humans or infertility in female livestock. New work has found that male frogs in suburban neighborhoods have higher frequencies of endocrine disruption than frogs from other landscapes. As of yet we have limited knowledge of which contaminants occur in suburban waterways or their effects on early development. This summer I assessed sex ratios and hormonal levels in metamorphosing green frogs. I used GIS software to locate suburban (treatment) and forested (control) ponds in southern Connecticut, measured sex ratios, and then quantified hormonal levels among the frogs. The work demonstrated that endocrine disruption is occurring early on in suburban frog development and that these abnormalities are associated with unusual concentrations of trace elements and organic chemicals.


Chris Shughrue    "A Model of Nonlinear Urbanization and Information Flows Across India"

Urbanization in the 21st century is increasingly shaped by distant flows of people, capital, and information across the landscape. In India, these flows are informed by the propagation of information across social networks, with rural-urban and urban-urban connections often underlying migration and investment patterns. These patterns shape and are shaped by the growth of city-regions. But how does the strength of these signals across social networks affect emergent patterns of urban land-use change? To examine this relationship, this summer I worked to develop a model for all of India that represents the decisionmaking dynamics between: land developers, families, state governments, corporations, and property management companies. Decisions made by family agents are based on information propagated across an adaptive social network. We varied the probability of data transmission across the network to simulate the effects of strong and weak social networks on spatial patterns of urbanization. 


2011 Urban Fellows Research Papers

 Amy K Coplen     "Cultivating Commnity: Bulding Cohesion and Forging Identities in New Haven's Community Gardens"

This research explores the ways in which community gardeners value their participation in New Haven’s community gardens and the processes through which they build community cohesion. Thought eight ethnographic interview and participant observation in six gardens I explore how gardeners value interaction with those from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The stories of these gardeners indicate that community gardens build community cohesion by facilitating cross-cultural exchange, creating networks for knowledge and resource sharing, and establishing new identities for immigrant and transplant populations. In some case, these processes cut across age groups, education backgrounds, and income levels. This research demonstrates that community gardens can serve as a vehicle for building community cohesion across cultural divides.


Troy D. Hill   " Sediment fluxes and exchange between an urban salt marsh and Long Island Sound"

Salt marshes provide a broad range of valuable ecological services. In urban settings these services are magnified in importance, as marshes are typically smaller, serve more concentrated human populations, and face more dramatic anthropogenic pressures. Unfortunately, our knowledge of material exchange between marshes and coastal waters is limited, particularly in urban areas. Tidal flux studies offer a means of understanding how marshes interact with coastal waters and how they affect water quality in the coastal zone.

The present study reports high resolution data on fluxes of water, salt, and sediment to and from an urban salt marsh in Norwalk, CT. This work focuses on shortterm sediment dynamics, and the role of storm events in sediment transport. Fieldbased measurements of precipitation, water velocity, salinity, and turbidity were collected continuously for two months. Uncertainties in the data are evaluated and compared with other flux studies. The feasibility of estimating particulate material fluxes based on these data benefits from low spatial variability of suspended sediment in the water column. A net influx of sediment was observed over the course of the study, but the system is characterized by large, short-term variations in sediment transport. Only a small fraction of the imported sediment appears to be deposited on the marsh surface.

Moving towards an assessment of minor constituent fluxes, this project began optimizing a method for measuring trace metals in sea water, to be deployed in 2012. Experiments using chelating resin columns have highlighted the challenges of analyzing trace metals in seawater. This preliminary work has clarified essential methodological details such as the volume of eluent required to displace metals sorbed to the resin, and the necessity of purifying reagents.


RanRan Wang      "Water-Energy Nexus: A Critical Review Paper"

The interdependency between the world’s two most critical resources: water and energy, is receiving more and more attention from the academia as well as the general public. A comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the water-energy nexus is essential to achieve sustainable resource management. Following the structure of hierarchy of knowledge, this paper reviewed the evolution and progress of information, methodology, knowledge, and wisdom that have grown out of this field throughout the past 40 years. By synthesizing previous work, the paper identified existing knowledge gaps, as well as directions and challenges for prospective research. System dynamics, featuring framing, understanding, simulating, and communicating dynamic behaviors within interrelated social, managerial, economic, and ecological systems over time, is proposed to be a promising research approach that could facilitate our understanding in the field of water-energy nexus in the future.


Chen Qian   LifeCycle Assessment of a Land Management: The PlaNYC Afforestation Initiative in the Kissena Corridor Park, New York


Bryan Yoon   "Control of Precipitation Events on Dynamics of Disinfection Byproduct Formation Potential"



2010 Urban Fellows Research Papers

Lauren Brooks: "Validation of genetic markers and application to detect fecal contamination at beaches in Coastal Connecticut"

Due to shortcomings in traditional methods for detecting and quantifying the presence of fecal waste in waters new methodologies are being explored, with special attention being given to the ability to identify sources of the contamination. In this study, an alternative methodology, which uses Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) to detect host specific genetic markers to distinguish between human and non-human sources of contamination, was applied to beaches in Connecticut that were experiencing various levels of contamination.  Despite some difficulties with this new approach, it was ultimately useful for identifying waste of human origin.  Though not quantitative, this study qualitatively provided important baseline information for further studies by indicating beaches to target for more in-depth tracking procedures to detect and correct these human sources impacting the contaminated waters.

Thomas Chase:  "Building Deconstruction in New Haven, Connecticut - A Systems Dynamics Analysis and Policy Tool"

This study is one of a growing number that seeks to address materials flows and management options from the scale of each building material type, up to the whole building, and further up to the range of buildings in an entire city – in this case, New Haven, Connecticut. Solid waste generated in the removal or renovation of buildings is a massive and often poorly described waste stream. Construction and demolition waste (C&D) is also largely unregulated in its quantity and composition, if not its disposal fate. Buildings are large, complex, and highly varied objects, and their component materials differ by building type, construction cohort, size, style, and many, many other factors. Reducing the solid waste generated in building removal and renovation, recouping building material for reuse or recycling, preventing some of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with C&D disposal, shifting jobs towards construction laborers, and reducing costs are all goals of deconstruction, a source separation building removal technique. A dynamic systems model was built using a bottom up approach to accounting for the building material flows in New Haven. Several scenarios for different waste management options were tested over a 25 year time horizon to evaluate the relative advantages and disadvantages in terms of waste diverted from landfill, greenhouse gas emissions, cost, and jobs created of each of the scenarios. The model was also provided to City of New Haven policy-makers to use as a building waste management tool.

David Henry: "The Social Cost of Trading: Measuring the Increased Damages from Sulfur Dioxide Trading in the United States"

The sulfur dioxide (SO2) cap and trade program established in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments is celebrated for reducing abatement costs ($0.7 to $2.1 billion per year) by allowing emissions allowances to be traded. Unfortunately, places with high marginal costs also tend to have high marginal damages. Ton for ton trading reduces emissions in low damage areas (rural) while increasing emissions in high damage areas (cities). From 2000 to 2007, conservative estimates of the value of mortality risk suggest that trades increased damages from $0.8 to $1.1 billion annually relative to the initial allowance allocation and from $1.5 to $1.9 billion annually relative to a uniform performance standard. With USEPA values, trades increased damages from $2.4 to $3.2 billion annually compared to the initial allowance allocation and from $4.4 to $5.4 billion compared to a uniform performance standard. It is not clear that the ton for ton SO2 cap and trade program is actually more efficient than comparable command and control programs. The trading program needs to be modified so that tons are weighted by their marginal damage.

Kristin Pene: "Maximizing environmental and socioeconomic benefits of green roofs in Washington, D.C."

My report, inspired by the work of a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C. that seeks to promote social revitalization through environmental restoration, offers recommendations for the development of green roof subsidy and promotional programs targeting Washington D.C.’s underserved communities. I used results from sewer system modeling, academic studies on green roof performance, and thermal satellite imaging to identify areas of the District that would benefit most from the stormwater and cooling benefits green roofs provide. Lessons learned from first-hand involvement in past green roof subsidy programs inform my recommendations on how future programs could more effectively serve underprivileged communities. While the recommendations are specifically intended to give rise to programs that will more strategically maximize the environmental and socioeconomic benefits of green roofs in Washington, D.C., many of the findings could have implications for organizations working towards similar goals in other urban areas.

Emily Stevenson: "Closing the Loop: Alternative Land Management at Yale"

Compost tea is a soil amendment often used as an organic alternative to synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. Compost tea is purported to increase soil microbial biomass and organic matter, creating a healthy and dynamic soil ecosystem that supports various ecosystem services. Healthy urban soils promote healthy vegetation, mitigate storm-water surges, improve nutrient cycling to minimize losses by leaching and run-off, and increase soil’s capacity for carbon storage. This research project established a pilot program on Yale University’s campus that assessed the above and below-ground responses to the use of compost tea versus the synthetic fertilizer and herbicide used under current management. Soil samples taken from twelve experimental plots located across the university’s campus were analyzed to assess microbial community response to the alternative land management program. Compost tea application took place over a twelve week period in Fall 2010; soil microbial biomass and catabolic evenness were measured across the treatment timeline to see how microbial communities differentiated under the different treatments. The tea applications effected microbial dynamics, but not as hypothesized. Compost tea treatments showed relative decreases in microbial biomass and catabolic evenness when compared to soils under current treatment. This study, after just 12 weeks of treatment, provides an early look into the dynamics of shifting soil communities under differing treatments.

2009 Urban Fellows Research Papers

Saalem Adera:  "An exploration in constructed wetlands and EAF steel slag filters"

Excess phosphorus inputs to Lake Champlain are causing unwanted algal growth resulting in decreased lake water transparency, odor, and reduced dissolved oxygen levels, while the presence of pathogen-indicating bacteria in the lake cause occasional beach closings.  This has implications for both recreational and drinking water uses of the lake.  It has been determined that non-point sources of phosphorus, mostly from surface runoff, are responsible for 80% of the phosphorus inputs to Lake Champlain, mostly from agricultural runoff.  Pathogenic bacteria are also associated with agricultural runoff – particularly from livestock operations.  Simple, low-cost technologies for phosphorus and pathogen removal from stormwater and agricultural wastewater are needed.  One such technology is an on-site, combined constructed wetland-EAF steel slag filter system.

Peter Christensen: “The Form of Change: Inter-Annual Analysis of Urban Expansion using Landscape Metrics”

The past few years have witnessed a proliferation of studies using spatial metrics to examine spatial structure of land cover change.  Urban analysts are no exception, applying landscape metrics to study and model patterns of urban growth.  While the majority of this research examines emerging urban structures by measuring changes in their aggregate forms, these spatial patterns are often dominated by stable regions at the urban core.  This study proposes the direct measurement of discrete changes across the urban landscape, testing the technique through a comparative assessment of aggregate and discrete land cover changes across seven classified Landsat images from China’s Pearl River Delta.  The study presents results on area and compactness metrics computed with Fragstats 3.3 software, which reveal distinct trends between two complimentary methods.  Analysis of this data suggests a potential role for discrete pattern analysis as a compliment to aggregate change analysis, particularly suited to detecting and characterizing process dynamics involved in urban expansion.

Emily Jack-Scott: "Survival and Growth Factors Affecting Community-Planted Urban Street Trees"

Urban street trees face adverse growing conditions: compacted soils, extreme heat, lack of nutrients, drought, car damage and vandalism. Limited funding, however, is cited by urban tree-planting organizations as their major obstacle. To maximize budgets, many organizations along the eastern United States have planted bare root trees as a less expensive alternative to balled-and-burlapped (B&B) trees. Existing research indicates equivalent survival rates between bare root and B&B trees; but no research has examined this in community group-planted urban street trees. Bare root trees are additionally advantageous in community-based plantings because they are much lighter and easier for volunteers to handle. This study evaluated the influence of stock and other site factors on street tree survival and growth measures (diameter at breast height, percent canopy cover, and percent live crown), while controlling for species and age. Site factors included street traffic intensity, site type (curbside, park, yard, or commercial corridor),wound presence, and sidewalk pit cut dimensions. 1159 trees (representing ten species) planted by Philadelphia community groups under the guidance of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society from 2006-2009 were sampled. Overall, trees showed a high survival rate of 95%, with no significant difference between B&B and bare root trees. Species with the highest survival rates were Prunus virginiana (chokecherry), Platanus x acerifolia (London plane tree), and Acerginnala (Amur maple). Heavily trafficked streets exhibited lower survival, percent canopy cover and percent live crown. Larger growth measures were expected and found in B&B trees, as they have historically been planted larger than their bare root counterparts. Findings support planting larger trees (such as B&B and/or larger bare root trees) along commercial corridors. Species in the Rosaceae family (Amelanchier spp., Malus spp, and Prunus virginiana) exhibited lower percents canopy cover. Wound presence and pit cut size were not major factors affecting the 1-5year old street trees sampled in this study. The major management implication of these findings is that bare root trees are a viable alternative to B&B trees in community-based urban forestry initiatives. Tree-planting campaigns with similar climactic conditions to Philadelphia can use this study to inform selection of stock and species.

Justin Freiberg: "The Urban Foodshed Collaborative"

The Urban Foodshed Collaborative (UFC) aims to provide a space and structure for New Haven youth and Yale FES students to connect to the potential of the land around them right in New Haven, and to realize the potential in local, collaborative solutions. It does so through the transformative act of growing food within an entrepreneurial model. I founded UFC in the spring of 2009 in response to a number of trends that I hoped would allow it to succeed: the desire of restaurants and markets to source locally-produced, community-enhancing produce, the many vacant lots that could be turned into productive space, and importantly, the continued need for urban youth to have valuable experiences that also pay a deserved wage. This paper examines the first summer of work of UFC, looking at some of the groups we partnered with, some of the lessons learned, and of course, the context in which it was founded. Alternative solutions to new challenges illuminated during this first summer of work will be evaluated. Further, I have developed a guidebook that will be used to welcome in the next generation of urban farmers to the Urban Foodshed Collaborative. Website:

2008 Urban Fellows Research Papers

Lauren Adams: "Perceived and Actual Urban Water Quality Risks"

Ubiquitous non-point source (NPS) pollution is a dominant cause of biogeophysical degradation in urban catchment systems, the residual effects of which damage community health, safety and property values. Remediation of water resources contaminated by NPS requires both political participation as well as scientific information, particularly for drinking water supply sources, where the human impacts of NPS pollution are more acutely realized. To better understand the relationship between the demand for clean water and the supply of scientific education and information, my research compared actual and perceived pollution risks within the urban Mill River watershed in New Haven, Connecticut to determine the magnitude and characteristics of the watershed’s manufactured risk. The preliminary results from this study found that people have a difficult time describing their local water supplies both at the source and from the tap and that a general lack of interest in and understanding of the mechanistic links between watershed, human and ecosystem health prevails, despite people’s intense preference for the trusted delivery of clean water supplies within their urban homes.

Meg Arenberg: "Motivating and Sustaining Urban Ecological Stewardship at the Neighborhood Scale: Case Studies in Three Baltimore Neighborhoods"

My research grant from the Hixon Center allowed me to spend the summer exploring the motivations and resources for sustaining neighborhood level urban ecological stewardship activities in the Madison/East-End, Southwest Baltimore and Pigtown communities of Baltimore City. Using the ethnographic methods of semi-structured interviews, oral history and participant observation, I gathered qualitative data from community members and institutional informants on past and present urban ecological stewardship projects in these three communities. I sought to supplement the on-going research findings of the larger-scale Baltimore Ecosystem Study and the Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project by contributing a richer understanding of what motivates urban stewards to initiate neighborhood-scale projects and what resources, both material and social, they depend upon to sustain them. My final paper includes both a typology of motivations for neighborhood-level stewardship and an analysis of the social and funding networks built around and depended upon by stewards in these neighborhoods.

Haley Gilbert: "East Rock Park: Inside and Out"

East Rock Park: Inside and Out is an interactive web based project empowering local communities to map how they use a local park – East Rock Park. The website was created to explore emerging community mapping technologies and uses like neogeography. Since the introduction of geobrowsers, like Google Maps, the layperson has been empowered to create and share spatial information over the internet with ease. This project examines community mapping trends, the technologies associated with neogeography, and details the process of creating the Inside and Out website. Can community groups or neighbors band together to apply these technologies to map their communities and local ecosystems? Experience from the website and research supports the position that the technologies are easier to use, the financial investments have been reduced, and people are actively engaging with these types of interactive mapping websites. In conclusion, community groups and neighbors can create, engage and utilize interactive mapping websites. However, more research still needs to be conducted to learn if groups are using these sites to improve, enhance, or protect their communities and/or local ecosystems.

Helen McMillan: "Urbanization of New England Wetlands: Evaluating the Effects on Pond-Breeding Amphibians"

Urbanization often causes wetland loss and alteration, which can have significant effects on amphibian populations that utilize wetlands for breeding and adult habitat. Reduced connectivity and density of ponds, alteration of the surrounding terrestrial habitat, and changes to the chemical, physical or biological characteristics of wetlands may all be possible contributors to decreases in amphibian populations. This study evaluated these potential causes of decline on two species of tree frogs in Connecticut: the gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor) and the spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer). I surveyed 30 ponds located along an urbanization gradient in the Salmon River watershed of eastern Connecticut during the spring/summer of 2008. Many pond characteristics, such as salinity and the presence of fish, showed clear differences with increased urbanization. In contrast to other studies, I found amphibian diversity to be highest in suburban areas, likely due to the combination of more permanent ponds that many species require and the relatively close proximity to forested areas. However the factors that best predicted amphibian density varied with each species, indicating that in order to effectively protect amphibians a variety of habitats need to be protected.

Norio Takaki: "Municipal Waste Management in Two Brazilian Cities"

The present work compares municipal waste management practices in two Brazilian cities in terms of their potential as mechanisms for the social inclusion of trash pickers. The Federal District, home to the Capital, is taking measures to implement an integrated waste management program that aims to improve recycling rates through curbside collection of separated recyclables and support the work of trash pickers through the creation of cooperatives. In contrast, the city of Porto Alegre has had such a program since 1990 and thereby constitutes a valuable reference framework for Brasília. The comparison focuses on the advances Brasilia’s cooperatives have achieved as well as the obstacles they face to establish themselves structurally and administratively. Some of the more important lessons learned from this investigation come from the recognition that Porto Alegre’s program, despite its near twenty-year experience, has not contributed significantly to the social inclusion of trash pickers, neither in terms of income nor in terms of effecting operational and financial self-sufficiency amongst cooperatives. Since the situation in Brasilia is still in a process of incubation, local stakeholders and institutions could use Porto Alegre’s case as a cautionary example of the potential political and economic pitfalls facing the emerging system of cooperatives.

2007 Urban Fellows Research Papers

Gerald Bright: "Modeling the Hydraulic Effects of Instream Habitat Restoration"

Gerald Bright analyzed how an instream habitat restoration application affects both instream flow variability and habitat quality for invertebrates, on the main stem of Pennypack Creek in Philadelphia, PA. Often, restoration applications are completed without a full understanding of process and violate the dimension, pattern and profile of a stable river. Using River2D, a two-dimensional (2D) hydrodynamic model, Gerald modeled natural and modified instream hydraulic conditions at a range of discharges to test for differences in hydraulic conditions and habitat suitability. Analysis of model outputs from River2D yields promising conclusions as to the utility of modeling the effects instream habitat restoration structures. The ability of 2D hydrodynamic models to resolve spatial variability in hydraulic conditions can provide opportunities for their use in making predictions about hydraulic conditions in systems with altered flow regimes. Conditions present in impacted urban systems could support the use of 2D models in the development of watershed management strategies given the influence of anthropogenic and land-use effects on flow regimes and habitat quality.

Steven P. Brady: "Wetlands in disturbed landscapes support higher avian biodiversity"

Steve Brady examined the distribution of wetland dependent birds across three types of land cover: urban/ suburban, agricultural, and forest. Many studies indicate the negative consequences of habitat conversion on native wildlife, however recent investigations suggest that some species may respond positively to human dominated landscapes. While the negative response of forest songbirds to land development is well documented, the response of wetland dependent birds is less known. Steve conducted this research in the CT River Valley and the Yale Forest in Union, CT. He used point count surveys to record bird abundance and diversity at each of 16 wetlands. His findings indicate that wetlands in human dominated landscapes support larger and more diverse communities of birds. These results suggest that the response of wildlife to land conversion is context dependent, and that human dominated landscapes may offer opportunities for conservation of wetland dependent birds.

Jennifer A. Lewis:  "Continuum of Tenure and Services: Fundamental consideration for MDG implementation in Mexican cities"

Jen Lewis conducted her research with support from The United Nations Human Settlements Programme in Mexico. She focused on land tenure legalization and service provision in peri-urban communities in Mexico. She worked in Xalapa, Veracruz developing criteria for future initiatives that link legalization and service provision processes. Key elements of this initiative included a comprehensive study of historical land use planning, environmental indicators, and political processes for property rights and services. Ultimately, the results of this research project offer an initial historical review of land rights and planning programs in Mexico. An additional outcome is an innovative proposal for sustainable development in peri-urban communities of growing cities as well as an academic analysis of current urban land use policy in Mexico.

Alicia Senauer: "Urban Habitat and Health: Understanding Children’s Exposure to their Outdoor Physical Environment in Urban Areas"

Ali Senauer evaluated and is currently testing a novel method, based on global positioning system (GPS) technology, to better understand children’s exposure to their outdoor physical environment in urban areas. Through numerous studies and the development and application of new tools and techniques over the past several decades, we have become acutely aware of the direct linkage between non-human organisms’ distribution, health, and survival and the quality, quantity, and spatial distribution of their habitat. Unfortunately, while there has been increasing emphasis on understanding non-human organisms and their habitat needs, there has been relatively little focus on understanding human habitat needs. Ali is interested in using GPS technology to advance our understanding in this area. Towards this end, she evaluated a number of commercially available GPS instruments and is currently developing a custom unit to meet her research needs. This work will directly inform and advance Ali’s dissertation research, which is focused on understanding how the structure of children’s physical environment impacts their experiences and health.

Brenna E. Vredevel: "Subjectivity of Land Cover Change Trajectories in Peri-urban Quito, Ecuador: Community characteristics, migration and participation in land use planning"

Brenna Vredeveld examined how specific economic, social, political and biophysical variables motivate or hinder urban growth in Quito, Ecuador’s second largest city. Specifically, she focused on understanding the influence of these variables in three peri-urban communities located in two important watersheds southeast of the city. The three communities represent a gradient of urban development defined by presence of formal infrastructure. In order to understand historical growth trends in these areas, Brenna conducted interviews with community leaders as well as with regional urban planning and environmental departments. She also used community surveys and an informal GIS analysis to observe changing demographies and associated land covers in order to gauge the importance of biophysical variables on urban growth. Overall, she found that the contribution of each variable to urban growth varies across the three communities. In addition, land cover changes are often influenced by the effectiveness of planning policies, the attraction of markets, opportunities for livelihoods and resource availability.

2006 Urban Fellows Research Papers

Manja P. Holland: "Echinostome infection in green frogs (Rana clamitans) is stage and age dependent"

The increasing threat of emerging infectious diseases in both wildlife and humans has spurred interest in the causes of disease emergence, including the role of anthropogenic change. A prior field study of infection patterns in amphibians suggests that echinostome infection may be an emerging disease of green frogs, Rana clamitans, living in urbanized environments. We examined the impact of echinostome infection on green frog tadpoles at a wide range of developmental stages (Gosner stage 25–39). Echinostome infection was associated with green frog mortality rates of up to 40% in an early developmental stage, and none in later developmental stages. Tadpoles exposed to higher echinostome doses exhibited higher edema rates, a potential sign of compromised renal function. Histopathological analysis further supported the hypothesis that echinostome-induced tadpole mortality resulted from compromised renal function. Given that the timing of highest cercarial shedding can coincide with the most vulnerable stages of green frog tadpole development, echinostomes could significantly impact green frog survival in nature.

Katrina Jessoe: "Does Public Information Disclosure Reduce Drinking Water Violations?"

James McConaghie: "Evaluation of the behavior of caffeine in fresh watersheds and as a tracer of sewage contamination"

It has been suggested that reductions in nitrogen loading to estuaries should be accomplished by implementing watershed specific programs that target the dominant nitrogen sources. The area surrounding Long Island Sound has been intensively developed and the watersheds contributing water and nutrients to the Sound are subject to a variety of density in urbanization. The loading of nutrients due to urban development to the Sound is influenced by urban infrastructure and the density of human populations and their associated activities. Efficient management of water quality in urban systems requires the identification of elements that contribute most to the loading of various pollutants. Caffeine is unique to sewage sources in the Northern Hemisphere, and could be used as a tracer for sewage contamination and evaluation of landscape elements which contribute to nitrogen loading via sewage effluent. I measured caffeine concentration in a fresh watershed along an urban-rural gradient which exhibited a variety in development intensity and infrastructure connection. Caffeine was detected and resolved a pattern that increased with urban density and correlated to other water quality parameters. The evaluation of caffeine as a tracer for sewage contamination as well as a tool for understanding how urban landscapes contribute nutrients to the environment is promising but requires further study.

Kate Neville: "Beyond Ideology: "Public or Private" is Not the Question"

Urban water management has specific institutional challenges that must be addressed in order to improve freshwater access in developing countries. This paper uses case studies from the Philippines to address the political and regulatory barriers that hinder improvements to water services. The central aim is to move past the typical public versus private debate that has dominated international discussions about investment and management of water utilities over the last two decades. The paper describes the scope of the water access problems, examines the need to move past ideology in water management decisions, provides case study examples to illustrate relevant issues, suggests context-specific factors that must be considered, and develops suggestions for policy approaches to reform. The main conclusions are that decision makers need to consult with a broader spectrum of stakeholders when undertaking water sector reform, better understand the local context and existing water provision systems before enacting new regulations and structures, draw on theories and experiences of institutional organization to find context-appropriate systems for water resources, and increase transparency, accountability, and flexibility in governance.

2005 Urban Fellows Research Papers

Mohamad A. Chakaki: "Can Tears and Blood Sprout Olive Trees?"

Mohamad A. Chakaki (MEM ’06) traveled to Syria where he worked in "Neirab Camp," a Palestinian refugee camp. Mohamad went to Neirab to help introduce sustainability to the camps, which were designed as temporary refuges but have evolved into more permanent homes. Mohamad worked for the UNRWA, the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees. He discovered that developing greenspaces in such a complex environment was a challenge. Questions of "home," ownership and identity are not clearly answered in Neirab, whose residents have always thought of themselves as visitors and yearn for their home in Palestine. Mohamad attempted to untangle how to speak with the refugees about environmental sustainability when there are so many other priorities.

Joel Creswell: "Mercury Concentrations in an Urbanized Watershed"

Joel Creswell (MESc ’06) analyzed water samples from four streams in the three main watersheds of the City of New Haven for mercury content. By analyzing streams in both forested and urbanized landscapes, Joel hoped to determine whether different land uses affected mercury concentrations in streams. Preliminary results show that mercury is inversely correlated with watershed urbanization under dry conditions. Joel expects storm data to show the opposite relationship. Joel’s research will help urban planners and stormwater managers understand the impacts of urban land use on the levels of mercury—a harmful pollutant—in streams.

Tomas Delgado: "Is a Sustainable Urbanism Possible In 21st Century America?"

Tomas Delgado (MEM ’06) focused his internship on improving the understanding of sustainable urban building. The low density "sprawling" neighborhoods that dominated building in the last decades of the 20th century are undesirable in terms of energy, land use, material use, and also in terms of less tangible factors like the lack of "sense of place" they promote among their inhabitants. By studying new designs, like that of downtown Mansfield, Connecticut, Tomas attempted to understand how rating systems like LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) can be used to evaluate the sustainability of urban design. By working on a new rating system, the "LAND code," being developed at Yale, Tomas worked to incorporate important aspects of land use not thoroughly considered using LEED®.

Rachel Gruzen: "Shrimp Aquaculture and Urban Growth in Madagascar: Sustaining Societies and Conserving Coasts?"

Rachel Gruzen (MEM’06) explored the complicated challenge of sustainable shrimp farming in Madagascar. Armed with a video camera, Rachel explored how the growing global demand for shrimp is affecting the diverse, pristine mangrove shorelines of the East African country. In her research, Rachel traced how the government and aquaculture companies are addressing the social wellbeing of their employees. She was especially interested in determining which factors—community development programming, town planning, partnership-building, and policy frameworks—are tending to encourage socially and environmentally sustainable shrimp farming in Madagascar. The result of Rachel’s work is a documentary.

Manja P. Holland: "Urbanization and the Impact of Emerging Disease on Amphibians"

Manja Holland (PhD Candidate) spent her summer investigating emerging disease in amphibians in Northeastern Connecticut. Emerging wildlife diseases are of concern both from conservation and human health perspectives, as many can be transferred between wildlife and people. Urbanization and other forms of anthropogenic change have been linked with increased emergence of wildlife disease, but the mechanisms underlying these patterns remain poorly understood. By understanding how echinostomes, a widespread amphibian macroparasite, impact green frogs (Rana clamitans), Manja hopes to contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms by which diseases, especially those that can be transferred to humans, can emerge as a result of urbanization.

Rita Lohani: "Institutionalizing Eco-Industrial Development Concepts for Philippine Economic Zones"

Robyn Meeks: "Water Governance Programme"

Robyn Meeks (MEM ’05) worked at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Headquarters in New York City with the Water Governance Sub-Practice. The Water Governance Sub-Practice promotes sound and effective governance of water resources. In this capacity, Robyn assisted in activities pertaining to transboundary waters and integrated water resources management (IWRM). Studying IWRM, she researched the outcomes, lessons learned, and achievements of UNDP’s transboundary rivers initiative. Robyn participated in the planning of community stakeholder dialogues to empower and involve historically marginalized groups in decision-making proriver basin organizations. Each year the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology sponsors summer internships designed to encourage students at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies to pursue projects that focus on increasing the understanding of urban ecosystems. During the summer of 2005, seven Hixon Fellows worked all over the world, from the streams of Connecticut to the refugee camps of Syria and the mangroves of Madagascar. Fellows studied topics as far ranging as amphibian disease, water governance and green building.

2004 Urban Fellows Research Papers

Amy Kimball: " If They Don’t Count, You Don’t Count"

Amy Kimball (MF ’05) worked with the Trust for Public Land in Washington, D.C. to conduct nationwide research on the user profile of urban park visitors. After speaking with park managers from around the country, she compiled a list of best practices for enumerating and understanding park users. Her findings concluded that surprisingly few urban park systems have a reliable and consistent method for assessing how many people frequent these public amenities. However, in the case of parks that count and communicate with their users, the data indicate the importance of these public spaces to cities. Amy’s findings will be incorporated into a larger Trust for Public Land project to assess the economic value of urban parks.

Emily Levin: "Water Wisdom"

Emily Levin (MEM '05) traveled to New Delhi, India to work with the Centre for Science and Environment.



Research Awards & Internships

The Hixon Center offers opportunities to students and faculty interested in research, internships, scholarships or career options in Urban Forestry or related fields. The following listings provide up-to-date information with regard to:

· Research Awards
· Internships

Research Awards

Grant Awards in Urban Ecology: Call for Proposals

Five grant awards ranging from $5,000 - $7,000 are available to Yale FES students interested in conducting natural and social science research, education & outreach projects for the following topic areas:  

  • Urban ecosystem restoration
  • Urban forestry and forestry across an urban-rural gradient
  • Projects related to pollution of air, water and soil in cities

In the fall term 2015, students must take a 3-credit project course to complete their research/project manuscript.  Projects must be completed by mid-December. The award will be provided in 3 installments: 50% upon acceptance of the proposal; 25% upon enrollment in the project course in September; and the final 25% upon completion of the project course, and receipt of an abstract and of a minimum 10-page final report (which will be published on the Hixon website).  

Submission Guidelines: Proposals should include maximum 3-page narrative, budget and identify a faculty advisor.  Please direct proposals to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) preferably by on Friday, March 6, 2015.  Successful applicants will be notified by March 25, 2015.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the 2014 Hixon Fellow presentations on February 27th. 


 URI Community Forester Internship Description

The Yale/Urban Resources Initiative (Yale/URI) is offering seven community forester internship opportunities with the New Haven/Urban Resources Initiative (New Haven/URI) for the summer of 2015.

New Haven/URI, in collaboration with the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (CFGNH), and with the Livable City Initiative (LCI), is implementing a city-wide Community Greenspace Program. URI's goal for this program is to foster community forestry stewardship through environmental restoration projects. URI seeks to work with community members to stabilize their neighborhoods through community driven environmental restoration projects, which provide an opportunity to unite neighborhoods socially while improving the biophysical environment.

New Haven's Community Forestry program is conducted in cooperation with a variety of city agencies – LCI (a housing based agency), the Department of Parks, Recreation and Trees, and the Department of Public Works. The Community Greenspace Program encourages neighborhood organizations to undertake community-based, public as well as private stewardship efforts. Depending upon community interests and applications to this program, projects will include street tree plantings, park improvement projects, conversion of abandoned lots to “pocket” parks, as well as planting activities on private properties.

New Haven/URI seeks to hire seven community foresters for the summer of 2015. The interns’ role in the Greenspace Program is to provide both technical and material support to communities. The exact nature of the work will depend upon the needs outlined in applications submitted by communities to the CFGNH. The community forestry interns will likely: train community members in conducting a neighborhood inventory, species choices, site selection, site preparation (including soil testing, erosion control measures, and enrichment through addition of compost), design for desired function/outcomes, tree maintenance (insect control, watering, mulching, pruning, etc), and planting methods. Training sessions will be conducted in small community workshops, as well as individual or small group activities.

During the spring semester, interns will participate in training events provided by faculty, staff and outside professionals to gain skills needed for working effectively in the community. Training events will include topics such as community forestry methods, soil remediation, landscape design, and habitat plantings. With this skill base interns will begin working with community groups and test techniques (key informant interviews, observational studies) in order to gain familiarity with the community they will work in for the duration of the summer.

Qualifications: Skills in community organizing, participatory forestry, and restoration ecology are highly desired. However, most important is a willingness to engage citizens, work hard alongside them, and maintain a positive spirit in difficult conditions. Because community forestry requires input from representatives of many different organizations, an ability to work with varied organizations and individuals is essential. As documentation is an integral component of this project, excellent communication and writing skills are required.

URI Community Forester Internship Details

Stipend: $8,450

Transportation: All URI interns will share the use of URI vehicles. If it is necessary to drive personal vehicles for business purposes, interns will be reimbursed for business miles.

Other Requirements: Interns must have a valid driver's license. Interns also must have current permission to drive Yale vehicles.  Interns must have the ability to work Tues-Sat for the full summer schedule.  See below.

Length of Employment: May 13 - August 16 (13 weeks full time)

Deadline for Application:  March 21, 2015  Optional 90-minute Friday trainings begin on April 4.

Send a letter of intent and resume to: Colleen Murphy-Dunning, Director, Urban Resources Initiative or Chris Ozyck, URI Associate Director (Students may email applications or hand deliver their applications to the URI office at 301 Prospect Street, 1st floor).

For Further Information: If you require further information, please contact Chris Ozyck at (203) 432-6189 or Colleen Murphy-Dunning at (203) 432-6570.




Working with Yale faculty and Facilities staff, two Hixon Center interns will support the development of a plan for the ecological restoration of the Yale wetland also known as the “Yale Swale” located on campus. The plan will detail strategies (including timeline and stages of work) for the comprehensive restoration of the Yale Swale site. Goals include enhancing habitat, improving capacity to capture stormwater, enhancing water quality, and serving as an educational resource and demonstration site for the Universities education undergraduate and master’s professional programs and the surrounding community. In addition to addressing ecological restoration, concerns of security, aesthetics, social constraints, and ease of management must be considered.


The swale will reflect Yale’s vision to create a living laboratory on campus by providing opportunities for education, research, and experimentation. The site can be used for course instruction and real world experimentation and can be used to educate and train incoming FES students during MODs.


Development of the plan will require interns to gather data on vegetation, animals, and hydrology to characterize the site. Students will also collect information from city agencies to evaluate existing hydrologic infrastructure (e.g., stormwater conveyances). Students may also interact with the few private property owners with inholdings in the swale. It is expected that interns will also help plan a tentative vision and to begin the first phase of site restoration. Site work might include invasive species removal, trail development, installation of hydrologic measurement systems, and the potential creation of educational signage.


QUALIFICATIONS: Ideal candidates will be Yale students with broad knowledge of environmental sciences including plants, animals, hydrology, soils, and chemistry. They will be able to work on multiple tasks, have good people skills, and be willing to perform some hard physical labor.


Details: Timeframe is Summer 2014. Hourly rate is $15.00




Hixon Center Director, Colleen Murphy-Dunning via email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)



The Hixon Center for Urban Ecology was established in 1998 with a generous gift from Alec (’38) and Adelaide Hixon. The work of the Center reflects the Hixon’s interest in encouraging local Yale-New Haven environmental initiatives, as well as global public-private partnerships for a better urban environment.

Noted philanthropists and environmentalists, Mrs. Hixon and her late husband have been generous benefactors of the University for decades, and active in the University’s affairs. In addition to establishing the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology, the Hixons endowed the Lex Hixon ’63 Professorship of World Religion in memory of their son. A tremendously dedicated alumnus, Mr. Hixon received the Yale Medal in 1984, and was a founding member of the Sterling Fellows. Graciously continuing a tradition of involvement, Mrs. Hixon has joined the Leadership Council of the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.



For more information regarding the Hixon Center, related programs, activities and events, or if you are interested in applying for an internship, please contact us.

Office Address:
Hixon Center for Urban Ecology
301 Prospect Street, First Floor
New Haven, CT 06511

Mailing Address:
Hixon Center for Urban Ecology
195 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511

203.432.6570; .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Urban Watershed Program

The Urban Watershed Program promotes faculty and student research on the unique relationships, impacts and demands of watersheds in urban areas.

Watersheds in urban areas encounter stresses unique to the urban environment, while sharing common characteristics and following natural laws of all water systems. Urban watersheds are often polluted, heavily engineered, inaccessible, and little understood by nearby residents; population density exacerbates stresses on waterways.

As cities emerge from a period when they ignored their rivers and harbors, new relationships are being developed with adjacent waterways. Past practices that marginalized waterscapes from the urban environment are being reevaluated. Now, with more attention to urban environmental quality, there is a greater understanding of the vital role waterways play as sources of open space, transportation, recreation, and habitat.

The Urban Watershed Program promotes the interdisciplinary science and policy studies of these waterways. A convenient study site is offered in the greater New Haven area through the established relationships of the Center for Coastal and Watershed Systems and the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology.


Yale Experimental Watershed Project (The Yale Swale Project)

There has long been keen interest by F&ES faculty and students to develop teaching, research and management opportunities on Yale University’s campus. One possibility is the “Yale Swale”, a 5.5 acre forested area bounded by Prospect St. to the east, the Prospect-Sachem Parking Garage to the south, Mansfield St. to the west, and Hillside Place to the north. Earlier in the last century, the site comprised a mix of trees and backyards maintained by Mansfield and Prospect St. residents. A series of changes in ownership leading to Yale’s acquisition of most of the properties within the project area has created an interest in managing the site collectively.  Read more...

Initial Assessment of the Yale Swale by Stephen Brooks and Ryan Sarsfield

Yale Swale 2013 Assessment by Ambika Khadka and Avishesh Neupane

West River/Mill River (New Haven) Study
Visit the YSIEconet™ Realtime Monitoring Website

Investigators plan to study how installation of self-regulating tide gates on the West River in New Haven Connecticut will alter biophysical characteristics of the river and its marshlands. They will also evaluate how changes in the ecosystem influence how people think about and use the area. They will measure water quality characteristics, vegetation patterns, and fish and bird communities. The Mill River, which is also located in New Haven and has tide gates, will be used as a control.  The YSIEconet™ website displays water quality information measured automatically and displayed in real time. Over the course of the day, the parameters respond to tides, river flow, and biogeochemical cycles.

Contact Dr. Gaboury Benoit to learn more about the Urban Watershed Program: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Research Program on Vegetation and People in Cities

Faculty on this research committee on pursuing projects that build from observational to experimental research around vegetation, urban green spaces and people. Two research themes will be explored: 1. Measuring and describing the sociology and ecology of urban green spaces (lots) and gauging their ecological and social benefits; and 2.  Measuring and describing the sociology and ecology of streets and throughways and devising new ways of mitigating pollutants and storm water runoff, increasing biodiversity, and enhancing the aesthetic and climate environment for humans.

Yale Experimental Watershed Project (The Yale Swale Project)

There has long been keen interest by F&ES faculty and students to develop teaching, research and management opportunities on Yale University’s campus. One possibility is the “Yale Swale”, a 5.5 acre forested area bounded by Prospect St. to the east, the Prospect-Sachem Parking Garage to the south, Mansfield St. to the west, and Hillside Place to the north. Earlier in the last century, the site comprised a mix of trees and backyards maintained by Mansfield and Prospect St. residents. A series of changes in ownership leading to Yale’s acquisition of most of the properties within the project area has created an interest in managing the site collectively.  Read more...

Initial Assessment of the Yale Swale by Stephen Brooks and Ryan Sarsfield

Yale Swale 2013 Assessment by Ambika Khadka and Avishesh Neupane


Urban Community-Based Tree Planting Research Studies

F&ES students conducted a survey of trees planted in New Haven by volunteers participating in the Community Greenspace program.  The research resulted in two published papers.

Relationships between bole and crown size for young urban trees in northeastern USA by Blake Troxel, Max Piana, Mark S. Ashton, and Colleen Murphy-Dunning published in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 12 (2013)

Stewardship Success: How Community Group Dynamics Affect Urban Street Tree Survival and Growth by Emily Jack-Scott, Max Piana, Blake Troxel, Colleen Murphy-Dunning, and Mark S. Ashton published in Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 2013

Educational Resources and Videos


Past Lecture Series and Conferences

FES Alumni Lecture Series on Urban Ecology


















Urban Resources Initiative

Urban Resources Initiative (URI) is a not-for-profit university partnership whose mission is to foster community-based land stewardship, promote environmental education and advance the practice of urban forestry. URI works in three areas:

  • Community Forestry Extension
  • Environmental Education
  • Ecosystem Management and Planning

URI is dedicated to community participation in urban ecosystem management. A substantial body of learning suggests that sustainable urban ecosystem management depends upon the meaningful participation of local residents. Those who know local conditions and whose daily actions influence the health and quality of urban ecosystems must play a central role in policy, design and management. Sustainable natural resource management and conservation cannot be achieved by technical, scientific solutions alone. Conservation efforts, especially in urban areas where people represent a significant element of the ecosystem, must emphasize social revitalization alongside environmental restoration. Therefore, our approach stresses the integration of the biophysical sciences with the social sciences.

To reach its goals, URI's work is organized around several ongoing programs:

Community Greenspace

Community Greenspace provides material supplies, technical advice, and classroom-based and hands-on training delivered by URI staff and Yale graduate student interns to support inner city New Haven residents who wish to reclaim and then maintain their distressed urban neighborhoods. Since 1995, we have completed hundreds of diverse urban restoration projects with an annual participation of about 1,000 New Haven residents, and planted well over 1,000 trees (45+ different species) with an overall tree survival rate of 90%. As a result of ongoing affiliation with Community Greenspace, residents report heightened membership in civic and voluntary organizations, rejuvenated feelings of neighborhood ownership, and lasting visible improvements in their daily environment. As one participating resident says, “the project brought neighbors into contact with each other who don't normally interact. It brought about a cohesiveness that did not previously exist.”

One issue facing urban neighborhoods is the growing acreage of abandoned, derelict open spaces. These abandoned lands pose a current and future threat to the quality of life in our cities. These patches of urban land – each less than one acre but totaling hundreds of acres across a city – create great gaps in the landscape: sinkholes where environmental, economic and community potential is wasted. The issues concerning the assessment, restoration and maintenance of these lands are priority concerns.

Each summer, Yale students work as community foresters as part of the Community Greenspace program. We provide Yale F&ES graduate students with supervised, clinical training to supplement their academic work. Professional training increasingly leans toward experiential, authentic learning where students gain real world practice in their field. At URI we have created a program where forestry students can grapple with the critical elements of environmental management while making a real contribution to the urban community we call home.


URI's GreenSkills program offers a unique job opportunity to high school students and ex-offenders, all while combating the decline in New Haven's street tree canopy.   The program began in 2007, when the New Haven Department of Parks, Recreation and Trees faced a backlog of requests for street trees.  The city decided to partner with URI to plant the backlog of trees, and URI took advantage of this opportunity to offer green jobs to teenagers and ex-offenders.  GreenSkills pairs crews of five high school interns or ex-offender apprentices with pairs of Yale graduate student interns.  The interns and apprentices receive hands-on training on tree planting and maintenance.  At the end of each planting season, interns and apprentices come away with a deeper understanding of New Haven's ecology as well as marketable professional skills.  Spring planting takes place from March through May; fall planting occurs from September to November.

To learn more, visit the Urban Resources Initiative website.


Student Research

The Hixon Center for Urban Ecology wishes to build research relationships with FES students who are interested in urban ecology. Student Research Fellows are chosen from a pool of competitive applicants based on their research proposal’s connection to current Hixon Center research, the outreach potential of that research and its relevance to the continued study of urban ecology.  For more information on student research fellowships, please visit the research awards and internships page.


Urban Metabolism for the Urban Century

Yale Journal Advances Understanding of Sustainability of Cities

Yale Experimental Watershed

Page under construction. We apologize for our appearance as we update our website.

The Hixon Center's goal for the Yale Experimental Watershed is to transform it from an underutilized and overgrown site to one that is highly productive – where academic research can be conducted and community members can learn and recreate.






Coarse Woody Debris

Education and Outreach



Center Director:
Colleen Murphy-Dunning
(203) 432-6570
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Faculty Director
Gaboury Benoit
, Professor of Environmental Chemistry, Professor of Environmental Engineering

Hixon Center Programs

Urban Resources Initiative (URI)

Faculty Advisor
Mark Ashton, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Emeritus Faculty Advisor
William Burch
, Frederick C. Hixon Professor of Natural Resource Management

Program Director
Colleen Murphy-Dunning, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Associate Director
Chris Ozyck, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Greenskills Manager
Margaret Carmalt, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Development and Outreach Manager
Anna Pickett, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)



The Mission of the Hixon Center is to understand and enhance the urban environment. It pursues this objective by providing an interdisciplinary context for scholars and practitioners to pursue research, teaching and applied activities, emphasizing various themes including:

· Interdisciplinary urban science and policy
· Community-based land stewardship and resource management
· Sustainable urban environmental design
· Urban environmental education
· Examining the urban water cycle
· Providing urban environmental services

Through these and other emphases, the Hixon Center pursues the following objectives:

· Advancing fundamental knowledge and understanding of urban ecosystems

· Minimizing and mitigating harm to and restoring natural systems in urban areas

· Fostering the positive experience of natural systems among urban residents

· Demonstrating the importance of natural systems to the physical and mental well-being of urban dwellers.

These objectives and emphases are principally pursued through three Hixon Center Programs — The Urban Resources Initiative, The Urban Watershed Program, and the Research Program on Vegetation and People in Cities.