For the first time in human history the urban population outnumbers the rural. While cities represent prominent centers of trade, finance, innovation, and education, there are wide-ranging social and ecological tradeoffs associated with these concentrations of people and power. Local air, climate, and water systems are degraded as a result of the transformation of native landscapes into urban environments, which, in turn, pose increasing threats to human health and quality of life among residents. Cities are now pursuing alternative development strategies aimed at minimizing adverse impacts on human and environmental systems while producing health co-benefits through changes in the built environment; a movement termed New Urbanism. These issues will be investigated through a discussion led by Dr. Darren Ruddell, an expert on urban sustainability.
Darren Ruddell is Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California. Professor Ruddell teaches Geographic Information Science (GIS) courses in the GeoDesign major as well as the advanced online GIST graduate program. Ruddell earned his Ph.D. in 2009 from the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University, and his research efforts utilize geospatial technologies to investigate issues of urban sustainability.