Geographical Sciences faculty, lecturers, and staff

Luc Anselin

Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and the College
Director, Center for Spatial Data Science
Senior Fellow, NORC

Luc Anselin is the Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and the College, the Director of the new Center for Spatial Data Science and a Senior Fellow at NORC. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2008 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011.

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Luc Anselin, Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and the College Director, Center for Spatial Data Science

Alison Anastasio

Assistant Instructional Professor, Program on the Global Environment

Dr. Anastasio's current focus is on the characterization of plant populations in novel urban environments. She teaches courses from a biological perspective, including urban ecology, human health and the environment, history of ecology, and Environmental and Urban Studies core sequence.

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Alison Anastasio

Niall Atkinson

Associate Professor of Art History and the College
Medieval and Renaissance Architecture and Urban History

Niall Atkinson’s teaching and scholarship focus on public space, urban history, soundscapes, geography and travel as well as the architecture and urbanism of late Medieval and Renaissance Italy. His research has concerned the relationship between sound, space, and architecture and their role in the construction of pre-modern urban societies. His current work explores digital visualizations of early modern urban soundscapes through GIS technology, as well as the visual and sonic cultures of the Indian Ocean. He is also embarking on a project on spatial disorientation in the accounts of Italian travelers and its relationship to the experience and symbolic meaning of urban environments in pre-modern Europe.

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Niall Atkinson

Crystal Bae

Assistant Instructional Professor of GIScience

Crystal Bae is Assistant Instructional Professor of GIScience in the Division of the Social Sciences and the College. Her research in spatial cognition focuses on geographic movement visualization, real-world navigation, cognition of neighborhoods and regions, and social decision making. She holds a Ph.D. in Geography with an Emphasis in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is a former postdoc of the Movement Data Science Lab at UCSB.


Marc G. Berman

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

Marc Berman's research seeks to understand the relationship between individual psychological and neural processing and environmental factors. In his lab he utilizes brain imaging, behavioral experimentation, computational neuroscience and statistical models to quantify the person, the environment and their interactions.

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Luís Bettencourt

Professor, Ecology and Evolution
Director, Mansueto Institute

Luis Bettencourt's research emphasizes the creation of new interdisciplinary synthesis to describe cities in quantitative and predictive ways, informed by classical theory from various disciplines and the growing availability of empirical data worldwide.

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Luis Bettencourt

Neil Brennar

Lucy Flower Professor of Urban Sociology

Neil Brenner is a critical urban theorist, sociologist and geographer who is interested in all aspects of research on cities and urbanization within the social sciences, the environmental humanities, the design disciplines and environmental studies.  His writing and teaching focus on the theoretical, conceptual and methodological dimensions of urban questions, and on the challenges of reinventing our approach to urbanization in relation to the crises, contradictions and struggles of our time.

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Neil Brenner

Kathleen Cagney

Professor, Department of Sociology

Kate Cagney's work examines social inequality and its relationship to health with a focus on neighborhood, race, and aging and the life course. She has developed a series of papers on neighborhood social capital and its relationship to outcomes such as self-rated health, asthma prevalence, physical activity, and mortality during the 1995 Chicago heat wave. She also focuses on the validity of such measures and the development of new neighborhood-based metrics that reflect the perceptions and experiences of older residents. Currently she works on two Chicago-based studies of neighborhood context and older adult health, and is examining the role of the social and physical environment in older adult well-being with the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project.

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Evan Carver

Assistant Instructional Professor, Program on the Global Environment

Evan Carver's academic interests focus on individual interactions with their environments and the concept of environmental stewardship, as well as film in the urban context. He teaches courses that explore public space, environmental policy, and participation, as well as the Introduction to Urban Sciences course.

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evan carver

Michael Conzen

Professor of Geography

Michael Conzen was the Chairman of the Committee on Geographical Studies until 2017, and president of the International Seminar on Urban Form from 2009-2013. His writing focuses on historical geography and urban morphology. He is a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and recipient of the Association of American Geographers' Distinguished Scholarship Honors. 

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Marco Garrido

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Marco Garrido's work has focused on the relationship between the urban poor and middle class in Manila as located in slums and upper- and middle-class enclaves. The project has been to connect this relationship with urban structure on the one hand and political dissensus on the other.

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marco garrido

Jamie Gentry

Senior Program Manager, Geographical Sciences and GIS

Jamie manages the operations of the geographical sciences major and the GIS minor, including academic programming, course management, and communications. In addition to this program, she also oversees the minors in Health and Society and Education and Society, and manages the Summer institute in Social Research Methods. She previously worked at the Center for Latin American Studies as its student affairs coordinator. Jamie holds an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago (AM ’11) and a BA in Spanish  from Kansas State University.


Dylan Halpern

Principal Software Engineer, US Covid Atlas, Center for Spatial Data Science

Dylan Halpern is the Principal Software Engineer for the US Covid Atlas at the Center. Utilizing methods of geospatial data analytics, visualization, and web development, he works in domains of public health, urban experience and activity, and transit.

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Dylan Halpern

Luke Joyner

Lecturer, Urban Design, Department of Art History

Luke Joyner teaches architecture and urbanism. His interests include Chicago's common residential buildings, American vernacular architecture more generally, the relationship between small details of the built environment and their cities' wider evolution, narratives of the city in fiction and non-fiction, utopian and alternative urban plans, architectural drawing, and design education. He cares most about exploring places, and his studio classes always require a healthy amount of exploration.

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Luke Joyner

Marynia Kolak

Senior Lecturer in Geographic Information Science
Assistant Director for Health Informatics, Center for Spatial Data Science

Marynia A. Kolak is a Senior Lecturer in Geographic Information Science and the Assistant Director for Health Informatics at the Center. She investigates issues of equity across space and time using applied spatial econometrics and statistics with policy-driven, systems-integrating solutions. Her current research intersects domains of food access, public health, and housing.

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Marynia Kolak, Lecturer and Assistant Director for Health Informatics, Center for Spatial Data Science

Julia Koschinsky

Executive Director, Center for Spatial Data Science

Julia Koschinsky is the Executive Director of the Center for Spatial Data Science at the University of Chicago and has been part of the GeoDa team for over 16 years. She has been conducting and managing research funded through federal awards of over $8 million to gain insights from the spatial dimensions of urban challenges in housing, health, and the built environment.

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Julia Koschinsky

Bruce Patterson

Lecturer, Committee on Evolutionary Biology
MacArthur Curator of Mammals, Negaunee Integrative Research Center, Field Museum

Bruce Patterson researches several topics in evolutionary biology, focusing on the diversification, distribution and conservation of mammals. He uses museum specimens to study the sytematics and biogeography of Neotropical mammals. Patterson teaches BIOS 23406 (GEOG 25500) Biogeography.

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Bruce Patterson

Sabina Shaikh

Director, Program on the Global Environment
Senior Lecturer, Environmental and Urban Studies in the College
Faculty Director, Chicago Studies

Sabina Shaikh's research focuses on the relationship of humans to environmental change, related to health, livelihoods and migration.

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Paramand Sinha

Computational Scientist, Research and Computing Center

Parmanand is a computational scientist at the RCC, with expertise in geospatial information sciences, remote sensing, and spatial statistics. Previously he has worked on population modeling and developing methods for dealing with spatial autocorrelation in a spatial data-mining context.

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Paramand Sinha

Emily Talen

Professor of Urbanism

Emily Talen is a Professor of Urbanism at the University of Chicago. Her focus is the built environment and how it intersects with social and environmental things — like social justice, civic life, and diversity. While pursuing these topics, she spent 8 years at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), 9 years at Arizona State, and recently arrived (2016) at the University of Chicago. Before becoming an academic, she was an urban planner with the City of Santa Barbara.

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Emily Talen, Professor of Urbanism

Robert Vargas

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

Robert Vargas is a social scientist and data artist interested in research on cities, law, and race, especially through a spatial lens. His writing, art works, and teaching focus on identifying and describing the forces shaping the conditions of communities. To date, the bulk of his work has focused on violent crime and health care.

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robert vargas