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

    Tracking Environmental and Infrastructure Damage in Ukraine

    As co-leader of Black Marble, NASA’s light dataset, Eleanor Stokes '18 PhD is currently tracking the effects of Russian military strikes on Ukraine’s infrastructure and climate-induced natural disasters across the world. NASA’s Black Marble science team, which uses data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite aboard NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite spacecraft  to map disaster impacts in vulnerable communities, was awarded the 2020 NASA Group Achievement Award for helping realize the vision of the NASA-ESA-JAXA COVID dashboard and enabling international partnership in a time of need.  “Humanity is facing major global risks from extreme weather and rising sea levels,” Stokes 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.

    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.