Join the Lab!
The Urban Systems Lab is currently accepting PhD and Masters level graduate students through multiple programs in The New School, including the Milano Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management program, the New School for Social Research, and Parsons The New School for Design. Please contact Lab Director Timon McPhearson directly if you are interested in collaborating with or working in the lab. Interested Ph.D. students should apply directly to the relevant schools. Research foci are flexible but focus on ecology, social science, policy, planning, or design oriented research questions related to urban systems.
Current Lab Members
Dr. Timon McPhearson is Associate Professor of Urban Ecology at The New School’s Environmental Studies program, Director of the Urban Systems Lab, research faculty at Tishman Environment and Design Center, and Research Fellow at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. He investigates the ecology in, of, and for cities and teaches urban resilience, systems thinking, and urban ecology at the university. Dr. McPhearson is a member of the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), and the Urban Heat Island Task Force in New York City Mayor's Office for Recovery and Resiliency. He is Co-PI on the five-year (2015-2020), US$12Million, National Science Foundation Urban Resilience to Extreme Weather-related Events Sustainability Research Network (URExSRN) and Co-PI of the three-year (2017-2020) ENABLE project to enable blue-green infrastructure as nature-based solutions in five cities in Europe. His work is published widely including in scientific journals (e.g. Nature, Nature Climate Change, Sustainability, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Urban Ecosystems, Landscape and Urban Planning), in books (Sustainability in America’s Cities, Urban Sustainability Transitions) and popular press (Revolve Magazine, The Nature of Cities), and covered by The New York Times, The Guardian, The Nation, CityLab, Huffington Post, and more. In 2014 and 2017 he was a Visiting Research Scholar in residence at the Stockholm Resilience Center, at Stockholm University in Sweden and in 2017 joined the was a Visiting Research Scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies as a Research Fellow. In 2017 he was awarded the Distinguished University Teaching Award at The New School.
Daniel Sauter is an artist who creates installations and visualizations dealing with the cultural and social implications of emerging technologies. His research is driven by a curiosity about how the computational regime transforms geopolitics, urban spaces, and the human body. He is an Associate Professor in the School of Art, Media, and Technology at Parsons School of Design and Co-Director of the the New School's Integrative Ph.D. Fellowship Program at the New School in New York City.
Rositsa T. Ilieva
Dr. Rositsa T. Ilieva is an architect-urban planner with an expertise in policies, planning, and design for sustainable cities and urban food systems and adjunct faculty at the Parsons School of Design and the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at The New School. She holds a B.S. and a M.S. degrees in Architecture Cum Laude and a Ph.D. in Spatial Planning and Urban Development Cum Laude from the Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy. She has presented her research at numerous international research conferences and is author of “Urban Food Planning: Seeds of Transition in the Global North” (Routledge, 2016). As a member of Urban Systems Lab Dr. Ilieva is conducting geospatial research on current and potential access and use of urban green infrastructure in New York City and exploring how this knowledge can inform the modeling of future climate-related risks and vulnerabilities.
Download her CV here.
Jaskirat Singh Randhawa
Yaella earned her PhD in Environmental Sciences at the Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) (Spain) in 2015. Her PhD has been carried out in collaboration with the United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), Bonn (Germany). She focuses on urban vulnerability and ecosystem services.
Bart Orr is a PhD student in Public and Urban Policy at the New School. He is interested in the relationship between climate change adaptation and resilience policies and socioeconomic inequality. He is also a member of the Global Urban Futures project at the New School.
Katinka Wijsman is a PhD Candidate in Politics at the New School for Social Research, where she studies global environmental politics, environmental justice, and political ecology. Her research explores the politics that shape the production of resilient coastal landscapes through the introduction of nature-based infrastructure. Using a feminist and multispecies ethnographic approach, her research asks how climate change governance deals with nature as an active agent, and what it means for the concept of political responsibility to include complex and dynamic assemblages of people, animals, plants, and things. In addition to her research, she teaches courses on Feminism & Ecology and Environmental Justice at the undergraduate college of The New School.
Ruchika Lodha is an architect, designer, and urbanist interested in applying strategic and sustainable design practices within urban environments. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Mumbai and since, has worked with design firms of various scales – local and international, enabling her to manage projects with different scopes – interior design, architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture. Her keen passion for understanding and practicing design in a broader realm encouraged her to pursue a Master of Arts in Theories of Urban Practice at Parsons School of Design, New York.
Chrissy Remein is a Master of Science student in Milano's Environmental Policy Program. She is currently working on her thesis with the U.S. Forest Service's Urban Field Station to better define and determine the significance of community cohesion as an urban ecosystem benefit in NYC. She is also working with TEDC on an mapping green roofs across NYC.
Follow her on LinkedIn.
AFFILIATED PHD STUDENTS
Hildegaard is a PhD student at CUNY-Brooklyn College collaborating with the lab to study ways to develop more sustainable urban energy and water use in the context of urban ecosystem services.
Katharina is a PhD student at the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions, at Erasmus University in The Netherlands. She was a visiting scholar in the lab in 2015 as part of a comparative study on urban sustainability transitions in Rotterdam and NYC
Khila Dahal is a GIScientist by educational training and background. He earned his PhD in Geography from Texas State University in 2014. His research interests include geospatial modeling, urban growth simulation, urban sustainability, scenario modeling, risks and hazards, GIS, Cellular Automata, and agent-based modeling.
Zoé Hamstead was a PhD student at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy and completed her PhD in 2016. Her dissertation research used geospatial-temporal modeling to examine how land change impacts social-ecological resilience in New York City with a focus on heat risk and vulnerability. She is currently tenure-track Assistant Professor at SUNY-Buffalo.
Follow her on ResearchGate, Google Scholar, and download her
Toni is a former PhD student in Public and Urban Policy at The New School and completed her PhD in 2016. Her dissertation research is examined urban environmental stewardship and social resilience in Western Queens, NYC and financial inclusion in low- and moderate-income urban communities in Harlem, NYC.
Rositsa T. Ilieva is a former post-doc in the lab from 2014-2015 where she is was teaching and conducting research on urban sustainability transitions and on ways to utilize social media to understand social-ecological relationships in cities.
Download her CV here
Dr. Kremer is a former postdoc in the lab from 2011-2014. Her research focused on urban ecosystem services mapping and valuation and the social-ecological nature of ecosystem services supply and demand. She is currently a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Villanova University.
Dr. Sritrairat is a former postdoc in the lab from 2011-2013. Her research focused on urban forest dynamics in particular soil-plant relationships in urban parkland in NYC as part of the NYC Afforestation Study. She is currently faculty at Mahidol University in Thailand and affiliated researcher at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.
Neele Larondelle was a visiting scholar in the lab in 2013 and completed her PhD candidate at Humboldt University in 2015. Her dissertation assessed urban land use and ecosystem services comparatively in multiple European cities and New York City. She is part of ongoing collaborative research with Humboldt University.
Dr. Karty is a former postdoc in the lab from 2009-2011. His research focused on urban biodiversity and community dynamics in the NYC Afforestation Study.
Elsa Velasco Valdés
Elsa is a former graduate student in the lab from 2011 working on her master's thesis from the University of Alcalá de Henares focusing on land use to examine drivers of urban soil heterogeneity in NYC.