Urban Environments

Human-Environment Interactions

A strong focus of research at Kent State is the intersection of humans and the environment. Researchers focus on how humans affect their environment: we study urban systems and sustainability, resources, and climate change. We are also interested in how the environment affects humans: we study natural hazards, post-disaster environments and environmental health. SensLand Lab (Remote Sensing and ​​Land Science Laboratory) studies urbanization and its environmental impacts. Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) presents opportunities to collaborate on projects that connect urban design to the physical environment.

Faculty:

  • Dave Kaplan: Nationalism and ethnicity, French and Italian geography, urban planning, transportation, segregation
  • Jennifer Mapes: Small towns, sustainability, planning, community geography, and cartography
  • Chris Post: Cultural landscape, historical geography, North America, commemorative justice, company towns, food justice
  • Sarah Smiley: Sub-Saharan Africa, urban geography, cultural geography
  • Emariana Widner: Biogeography, urban ecology, environmental geography, computational modeling
  • He Yin: Remote Sensing, Land Use Change, Land System Science, Vegetation Dynamics, Spatial Analysis

Water Resources

At Kent State, we have a strong interdisciplinary focus on water resources. Our location on the Cuyahoga River and near the Great Lakes provides an excellent setting for local research. However, research is conducted across the globe, including work on water access and insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa and water infrastructure and political ecology in Cambodia. Research interests also include planning and management and their role in water access and health. We collaborate across the campus on water resources research, including work with Architecture, Biology, Earth Science, and Public Health.

Faculty:

  • Cameron Lee: Applied climatology, synoptic climatology, climate change, climate-ocean interaction
  • Scott Sheridan: Climate and health, climate change, synoptic climatology, extreme temperature events
  • Sarah Smiley: Sub-Saharan Africa, urban geography, cultural geography
  • Jim Tyner: Political economy, Political geography, violence, genocide, social justice

Urban Planning

Faculty at Kent State have a strong interest in urban planning and sustainability. Our research spans the country and the globe, but we recognize that we have an excellent laboratory in our own backyard. The $110M redevelopment of downtown Kent is one focus of our research, as we consider the factors leading to these changes as well as economic and social outcomes. Cleveland and Akron are also excellent opportunities to study “Legacy Cities” in the post-industrial economy. In particular, Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) presents opportunities to collaborate on local projects in urban design and planning.

Faculty:

  • Dave Kaplan: Nationalism and ethnicity, French and Italian geography, urban planning, transportation, segregation
  • Jennifer Mapes: Small towns, sustainability, planning, community geography, and cartography