Present Members

Timon McPhearson

Timon McPhearson is director of the Urban Systems Lab, associate professor of urban ecology at The New School’s Environmental Studies Program, and research faculty at the Tishman Environment and Design Center. In 2017 he was awarded The New School's Distinguished University Teaching Award and in 2018 became a member of the IPCC and lead author for the urban systems chapter. He investigates the ecology in, of, and for cities and teaches urban resilience, systems thinking, and urban ecology. Dr. McPhearson is a member of the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), and the Urban Heat Island Task Force in the New York City Mayor's Office for Recovery and Resiliency. He co-leads the US NSF Urban Resilience to Extreme Weather-related Events Sustainability Research Network (URExSRN) (2015-2020) and ENABLE project (2017-2020). His work is published in scientific journals (e.g. Nature, Nature Climate Change, BioScience, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution), in books (Urban Planet, Sustainability in America’s Cities, Urban Sustainability Transitions), popular press (e.g. The Nature of Cities), and covered by The New York Times, The Guardian, The Nation, and more. He is a senior research fellow at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, and associate research fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Center, Stockholm University in Sweden.

Follow him on ResearchGate, Google Scholar, and LinkedIn. Download his CV here.

Daniel Sauter

Daniel Sauter is associate director of the Urban Systems Lab and 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 Integrative PhD Fellowship Program at the New School. For more information, see

Chris Kennedy

Chris Kennedy serves as assistant director of the Urban Systems Lab and is an artist and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. Kennedy reimagines field science techniques and new forms of storytelling to develop embodied research, installations, and publications that explore the possibility of interspecies collaboration and the value of ruderal ecologies such as vacant lots and post-industrial sites. Kennedy was most recently on the faculty of Parsons School of Design and holds a BS in environmental engineering from RPI, an MA in environmental education from NYU, and a PhD in cultural studies from the University of North Carolina.

Rocío Carrero

Rocío Carrero is an environmental scientist with expertise in climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, scenarios and spatial modeling. Since 2016, she has concentrated her efforts in developing and testing experimental models to assess how urban communities build resilience. Dr. Carrero has worked with the EU ECHO, The World Bank, the Red Cross and the IADB, as well as governments and NGOs in over a dozen countries. She holds a PhD in Geosciences from the University Pablo de Olavide of Seville, Spain. Prior to joining the The New School, she was a postdoc at the University College London (UCL) leading urban resilience projects with Dr. Michele Acuto at the City Leadership Lab. She is part of UREx's scenario modeling task force.

Claudia Tomateo

Claudia Tomateo is a Design Consultant in the Urban Systems Lab. She is an architect, urban designer and researcher with a focus in the intersection between cartography, urban narratives and strategic design. Her research is driven by the capacity of cartographic pieces to project imaginaries over different contexts, she has conducted research projects for the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Lincoln institute of Land Policy. Claudia holds a master’s in Architecture of Urban Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Jaskirat Randhawa

Jaskirat Randhawa is Technical Lead for Dataviz in the Urban Systems Lab and part-time faculty at Parsons School of Design in New York where his work focuses on emerging technologies for interaction design. He teaches a graduate class on Web Advanced Javascript in the Parsons Design and Technology Program. He is also a Product Manager at Digital Innovation, Verizon, New York. His academic research at Parsons and professional efforts within Verizon focus on creating products for building efficient and robust technological systems. Jaskirat endeavors to build meaningful technologies and experiences that benefit people’s lives.

Pablo Herreros Cantis

Pablo Herreros studied environmental engineering at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain, where he specialized in environmental impact assessment. Interested in using his knowledge of Geographic Information Systems and ecology for the benefit of society, he moved to Wageningen University in the Netherlands to complete an MSc in urban environmental management. He is now applying socio-ecological analysis to urban ecosystem services and environmental risks, with special focus on their spatial attributes and their links to social justice. He aims to provide policymakers with evidence-based information for spatial planning and design.

Erik Andersson

Erik Andersson is a Research Fellow at the Urban Systems Lab, although more frequently encountered in his capacity as an associate professor with Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University. Dr Andersson is interested in how ecological conditions and processes together with governance and human perceptions and values shape multifunctionality and how we understand and appreciate nature. He is also interested in systems thinking and theory and the development of the broad sustainability-resilience discourse. Dr Andersson has published widely in scientific journals (e.g. Nature, Nature Sustainability, Ecological Applications, BioScience, COSUST), in books (e.g. The Science and Practice of Landscape Stewardship, Nature-Based Solutions to Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Areas) and popular press (e.g. The Nature of Cities). Among other things Dr Anderson leads the European project ENABLE (2017-2020) and has served as expert on a number of panels, reports and inquiries, primarily for green infrastructure or ecosystem service related projects and processes. Andersson is frequently and more or less formally involved in a continuous dialogue and knowledge co-creation with authorities and actors at levels from local to international. He is also an extraordinary associate professor with North-West University in South Africa.

Aucher Serr

Aucher Serr recently completed her Masters in Data Visualization at Parsons School of Design. Prior to that she studied Cognitive Science and Philosophy at UC Berkeley and then spent a few years working at a startup in Tel Aviv called Riskified. She is interested in building tools to help people and policy makers engage more meaningfully with their data. She draws on her background to develop intuitive and information-rich displays that can communicate complex phenomena simply. While working on her masters thesis, Aucher collaborated with the lab to explore the of potential green roofs in New York City. She plans to continue partnering with the lab on future projects related to urban resilience and promoting systemic change.

Juno Garrah

Juno Garrah is an ecologist working on environmental justice and community based ecosystem management, aiming to help communities produce their own visions of sustainable futures. She is currently an M.Sc. Candidate in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University in Montreal, and a Visiting Scholar at the Urban Systems Lab. Working alongside researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in New York City, she is assessing the local urban environmental stewardship network across the city, modeling ecological outcomes and examining co-produced social benefits. Her expertise is in spatial modelling and social-ecological systems dynamics, and she holds a B.Sc. in Water Ecosystems, also from McGill University.

Rositsa T. Ilieva

Rositsa T. Ilieva is an architect and urban planner with an expertise in policies, planning, and design for sustainable cities and urban food systems. She is also an adjunct faculty member at the Parsons School of Design and the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy. She holds BS and MS degrees in architecture and a PhD in spatial planning and urban development 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 USL, Rositsa 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.

Filipa Grilo

Filipa Grilo is a PhD student in urban ecology and ecological resilience at the Center for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, Portugal. She has professor Timon McPhearson of the Urban Systems Lab as one of her supervisors. Filipa has a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology and a master’s degree in conservation biology from Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, Portugal. Her research focuses on the assessment of structural and functional elements of urban green infrastructure that contribute to the ecological resilience of cities, with a focus on regulating ecosystem services, in a climate change scenario. She has experience in working with Portuguese municipalities, namely in climate change adaptation plans, with a focus on biodiversity.

Elizabeth Cook

Elizabeth Cook is a Research Fellow at the Urban Systems Lab and Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Science at Barnard College. She is an urban ecosystem ecologist and her research focuses on future urban sustainability and human-environment feedbacks in urban and nearby native ecosystems. She conducts research on sustainability and resilience planning through participatory scenario development with local stakeholders and assessing how urban governance and knowledge networks influence planning in Latin American and US cities. She was previously a Chilean National Commission on Science and Technology (CONICYT) post-doctoral fellow at the Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia and earned her PhD at Arizona State University.

Bianca Lopez

Bianca Lopez is a postdoctoral research fellow in urban ecology at the Urban Systems Lab and The New School Environmental Studies Program. Dr. Lopez is an ecologist who studies the effects of urban development on biodiversity (especially plants) and interactions between people and nature in cities. She is also interested in collaboration between artists and scientists, and how art can inspire people to conserve the environment. Before joining USL, Bianca was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) in Annapolis, Maryland, and earned a PhD in ecology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Katinka Wijsman

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.

Eliška Lorencová

Eliška Krkoška Lorencová is a research assistant at the Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Eliška has a doctorate in environmental studies from Charles University in Prague and a master’s in environmental sciences from Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands. Her research focuses on climate change adaptation in cities, urban vulnerability, assessment of nature-based solutions, climate change perceptions, and use of participatory methods to involve local stakeholders in adaptation planning. Eliška has previous work experience as an environmental policy trainee in Brussels, Belgium, and a research officer in South Africa’s Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve.

Zbigniew Grabowski

Zbigniew “Z” Grabowski is a visiting scholar at the Urban Systems Lab at the New School and Post Doctoral Research Associate at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. His work focuses on the intersection of socio-technical systems evolution and biocultural conservation. He has research interests in green infrastructure, river restoration, dam removal, experiential environmental learning, and governance. He has worked at the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, where he led the design and installation of a demonstration garden in the BRE Architecture Innovation Park, and has been a member of international research networks including the UK-NERC funded Valuing Nature Network and Blue Green Cities - Clean Water For All. His work has been published in scientific journals (the Journal of Infrastructure Systems, River Research and Applications, Science of the Total Environment, Water Alternatives, Land Use Policy, and Environmental Science and Policy), and been featured in the popular press (PhysOrg and the Financial Times). He is also a Breakthrough Generation Fellow at the Breakthrough Institute and Adjunct Faculty in Geography at Portland State University. Learn more about his work at ResearchGate,, and LinkedIn.

Bart Orr

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.

Ahmed Mustafa

Ahmed Mustafa works on UREx SRN project with a focus on scenario modeling. He develops and implements computational models to simulate possible spatial patterns of future cities.

Ahmed received his Ph.D. in Engineering and Technology in 2018 from the University of Liège in Belgium. His research, teaching, and community engagement center on the development and application of modeling and simulation tools for exploring urban systems, land use change, and transport. In addition, Ahmed has acquired experience in the industry, which he gained from working as a GIS expert for multinational companies.

Mayumi Hirye

Mayumi Hirye is a doctoral candidate in remote sensing at the National Institute for Space Research in the city of São José dos Campos, São Paulo, Brazil. She is a visiting scholar at the Urban Systems Lab. Her dissertation research is focused on occupation of hillsides in the São Paulo Metropolitan Region, and it addresses questions related to the complex interactions between nature and humans in cities. An architect and urbanist who graduated from the College of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, Mayumi has more than 15 years of professional experience in master planning, environmental studies, and urban projects as well as a remote sensing and GIS background. She is also a researcher at QUAPA (Laboratory of Landscape) at the University of Sao Paulo. View her detailed CV here.

Luis Ortiz

Luis Ortiz is Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Urban Systems Lab at The New School. A mechanical engineer by training, he is interested in the intersection of built environments, humans, and the atmosphere. In particular, he is interested in how climate change impacts energy use and health, as well as how cities may mitigate and adapt to these impacts. His current work as a member of the UREx SRN project involves projecting vulnerability to weather extremes across a range of stakeholder-driven land use and climate scenarios.

Before joining the Urban Systems Lab, Luis earned his PhD at The City College of New York, where he worked on high-resolution extreme heat projections for New York City as well as impacts of climate change on the city’s summer electric demand for air conditioning. His work on heat wave projections will be featured in the upcoming Third New York City Panel on Climate Change report, scheduled for release in early 2019. To find out more about his work, see ResearchGate and Google Scholar.

Veronica Olivotto

Veronica Olivotto is a researcher, teacher and consultant working on urban climate change adaptation and risk reduction with a keen interest in the politics of decision making in climate resilience at multiple scales. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Public and Urban Policy at the New School of New York. She is an associate lecturer at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) based in Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands). In the past, Veronica worked on climate change related assignments and training for the German Development Agency (GIZ), the European Commission and various branches of the United Nations. She is an author and member of the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN). Between 2007 and 2009, Veronica worked as sustainable development researcher at the Scottish Institute of Sustainable Technology (SISTech) based at Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh). Veronica holds degrees from Erasmus University Rotterdam (M.Sc Urban Management and Development, 2010), Edinburgh-Napier University (M.Sc Ecotourism, 2007) and Milan University (B.A. Tourism and Local Community, 2005). Current writing appears on Authorea and impromptu rants on Twitter.

Past Members

Jill Corson Lake
Program Manager

Khila Dahal
Postdoctoral Fellow

Yaella Depietri
Postdoctoral Fellow

Richard Karty
Postdoctoral Fellow

Peleg Kremer
Postdoctoral Fellow

Sanpisa Sritrairat
Postdoctoral Fellow

Ruchika Lodha
Research Associate

Jason Mandel
Research Associate

Chrissy Remein
Research Associate

Toni Castro-Cosío
PhD Fellow

Zoé Hamstead
PhD Fellow

Hildegaard Link
PhD Fellow

Katharina Hölscher
Visiting Scholar

Neele Larondelle
Visiting Scholar

Elsa Velasco Valdés
Visiting Scholar

Jing Wang
Visiting Scholar