VivekPic

I am an Associate Professor in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. As the founder of the newly established Sustaining Urban Places Research Lab (SUPR Lab, www.suprlab.org), our team focuses on three substantive areas of investigation: (1) examining feedbacks between environmental change and human behavior; (2) developing community-based indicators for measuring the social and environmental conditions; and (3) characterizing the relationship between urban development patterns and environmental quality. Prior to serving at Portland State University, I was a school teacher in Oregon (Vernonia); curriculum developer in California (San Jose); and, a health and environmental policy analyst for the Governor of New York State (Albany). A Portland State University Profile on my work is also available here.

Research: Working in collaborative teams to address pressing societal challenges is at the core of my research efforts. Funding for my research comes from local, State, National, and international organizations. Three recent and notable projects were funded by the National Science Foundation's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program, the U.S. Forest Service's National Urban and Community Forestry Program, and the Qatar Foundation. The IGERT at PSU is the first (and last) and examines the field of ecosystem services. Beginning in 2011 and through 2015, the IGERT provides training opportunities for graduate students who are interested in applying ecosystem service tools to team-based, interdisciplinary projects that examining pressing issues of local and international importance. The USFS project titled, Health Trees, Healthy People, aims to describe the relationship among air quality, urban tree canopy, and human health. While we focus on the Portland metropolitan area, this project also engages urban planners, foresters, and public health practitioners in 12 other cities across the U.S. Finally, the Doha Sustainability Project (website under development) is funded by the Qatar Foundation and aims assess the relationship between patterns of urban development and living conditions, defined here as thermal comfort. The project engages an international community of researchers, students, and practitioners, and will provide guidance on urban development in a rapidly urbanizing region. For more information about these (and other) research projects, please navigate to the 'Research' link above or visit the SUPRLab website.

Courses: As my research is inextricably linked with my approach to teaching. I strive to engage students in problem-based inquiry, which allows students to confront a pressing societal problem, identify the knowledge and skills necessary for analyzing the problem, and collaborate to develop practicable solutions. I teach graduate and undergraduate courses, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Participatory Mapping, Environmental Planning Methods, Ecosystem Services, Global Cities, and Urban Environmental Issues. More information, including sample syllabi, is available on the 'Courses' link above.

Training: I received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology (agroecology emphasis, UC Santa Cruz), Master of Science degrees in Economics (Ecological Economics emphasis) and Environmental Policy (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), and a PhD in Urban Design and Planning (Urban Ecology emphasis, University of Washington).

Contact: If you have questions about my teaching or research interests please feel free to contact me.

The information contained on this website is for the public to learn more about my interests, and in no way reflects the opinions of Portland State University.

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