Urban Environments

Human-Environment Interactions Water Resources Urban Planning

Human-Environment Interactions

A strong focus of research at Kent State is the intersection of humans and the environment. Researchers focus on issues of urban sustainability with an interest in how humans interact with and affect their environment. We are also interested in how the environment affects humans: we study natural hazards, post-disaster environments, and environmental health. Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) presents opportunities to collaborate on projects that connect urban design to the physical environment.


Water Resources

At Kent State, we have a strong interdisciplinary focus on water resources, including an annual Water Resources Symposium. 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 in sub-Saharan Africa, water infrastructure and political ecology in Cambodia, and disease transmission in Haiti. 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, Geology, and Public Health.


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.



  • Dave Kaplan: Nationalism and ethnicity, French and Italian geography, urban planning, transportation, segregation
  • Cameron Lee: applied climatology, synoptic climatology, climate change, climate-ocean interaction
  • Jennifer Mapes: small towns, sustainability, planning, community economics, visualization and interactive mapping
  • Mandy Munro-Stasiuk: Glacial and karst geomorphology, remote sensing, geoarchaeology
  • Scott Sheridan: climate and health, climate change, synoptic climatology, extreme temperature events
  • Sarah Smiley: sub-Saharan Africa, urban geography, cultural geography
  • Jim Tyner: Political, population, gender and race
  • Emariana Widner: Biogeography, urban ecology, environmental geography, computational modeling