Illustration of intersecting tire tracks, foorprints, and animal tracks on a city street


We examine the impacts of an ‘urbanized’ world, from effects on resources and biodiversity to public health and climate change.

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    Alumni Impacts

    Danica Doroski

    Investing in Urban Forests

    As the state of Connecticut’s urban forester, Danica Doroski ’21 PhD is working with municipalities, nonprofits, and residents to grow and maintain urban forests. 

    “Investments in urban tree cover is a vital environmental justice issue,” Doroski says. “Urban areas with fewer trees can be as much as 20 degrees hotter than surrounding rural areas. By increasing tree cover, we can keep our cities cooler, which translates to both health and energy benefits.”

    Eleanor Stokes speaking on a NASA stage

    Insights from the Night Sky

    Using data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite aboard NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite spacecraft, Eleanor Stokes ’18 PhD is mapping disaster impacts in vulnerable communities. As co-leader of Black Marble, NASA’s first nighttime light dataset, Stokes has helped FEMA and other relief organizations direct their boots-on-the ground operations after natural disasters. “Humanity is facing major global risks from extreme weather and rising sea levels,” she says. “It’s very important to have a satellite record that can speak to the human piece of the puzzle.”

    Ben Christensen standing in front of piles of weathered lumber

    Re-imagining Urban Tree Life

    Cambium Carbon, a startup company founded by Ben Christensen ’20 MEM and Marisa Repka ’20 MEM, is re-imagining the urban tree lifecycle — and combatting climate change in the process. The company is building  “reforestation hubs,” a unique private-public partnership that restores city forests across the U.S. Cambium Carbon received its initial funding from the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale and the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale. It launched pilot reforestation hubs in four U.S. cities in 2021. It recently raised $3 million in seed funding that will allow it to reinvest in urban tree restoration and create local jobs.

    Urban in the News

    Karen Seto on stage during a presentation

    World-renowned Urbanization Expert Karen Seto Elected to the Council on Foreign Relations

    Karen Seto, Frederick C. Hixon Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science at the Yale School of the Environment, has been named a lifetime member of the United States Council on Foreign Relations.


    Authors of UN Report on Climate Change Discuss Opportunities, Challenges of Urban Areas at Annual Hixon Conference

    Two vice chairs and seven authors from the latest U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report took part in the recent Hixon Center Urban Conference, which covered a range of issues including infrastructure, transportation, energy, forests, and how urban areas can help mitigate climate change.

    Sara Smiley Smith and Gordon Geballe enjoying the breeze on Commencement day 2019

    The “Geballe” Era

    YSE Associate Dean for International Engagement Gordon Geballe is retiring after a nearly 50-year affiliation with the School and Yale. He is known for always keeping students at the center, his ability to build community and befriend everyone in the room, and his dedication to New Haven.

    Related Centers, Programs, and Initiatives

    Map of every street tree in New Haven
    Centers & Programs

    Urban Resources Initiative (URI)

    Making New Haven more resilient, URI works with local partners to plant trees, restore community green spaces, and build bioswales to filter stormwater runoff.

    Green walkway in urban development
    Centers & Programs

    Hixon Center for Urban Ecology

    The Hixon Center provides an interdisciplinary forum for research, teaching, and outreach that improve our understanding and management of urban environmental systems.

    Centers & Programs

    SEARCH Center: Solutions for Energy, Air, Climate, and Health

    At the nexus of energy and public health, the SEARCH Center utilizes cutting-edge scientific research and technology to support the EPA’s strategic goals of protecting human health and the environment.

    Tsai CITY students at work
    Centers & Programs

    Affiliated: Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale (CITY)

    Tsai CITY serves students from across Yale’s campus through programs, funding, and mentoring: whether you have a big idea you’re ready to build on or just want to explore the tools of innovation, we can help you get there.

    Degree Programs

    YSE's learning communities span across all master's and doctoral degree programs.

    Learning Communities composite illustration

    Learning Communities

    YSE's Learning Communities were created to offer robust interdisciplinary experiences and networks. Students may engage with as many learning communities as they choose, regardless of their degree program or specialization.