Please note that I am on sabbatical for the 2023-24 academic year.

Prospective PhD students

I welcome expressions of interest from prospective PhD students with research ideas and interests that are broadly related to my work on urban sprawl, local environmental and climate policy, or transportation planning and policy. In general, I tend to work with students who have their own independent research interests, rather than recruiting for a specific project. Note that the deadline for admission in Fall 2024 has already passed (it is normally Dec 1 each year).

Please send me an email with the following information:

  • Your research ideas and questions you’d like to work on (the more detail the better)
  • Why you want to do a PhD and your ultimate career goals (briefly)
  • Your current CV
  • Your academic transcript (unofficial is fine) and other test scores if available
  • Your last TOEFL score if English is not your first language

For general information about program requirements, funding and admissions, please consult the Department website.

Transportation and Climate Change

Graduate. ENV581. Offered Fall 2023 at Yale School of Environment. Syllabus

Transportation is the fastest-growing contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, worldwide, but has often been considered the most challenging sector to decarbonize. In this course, we will critically analyze a range of policies to improve fuel economy, promote electric vehicles, and reduce vehicle travel. We’ll briefly consider the range of infrastructure and policy changes that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. But we’ll spend more time on the question of how these changes can be implemented, and the tradeoffs between emission reductions, equity, safety, and other policy goals. The course has a US focus, but we’ll bring in examples from other contexts from time to time.

Urban Data Science

Graduate. UP213. Next offered Spring 2025 [TBC]. Course website

This course is available as a free, open-access, asynchronous course. You don’t have to wait until it’s next offered for credit, or to be a UCLA student.

New data sources are a potential goldmine for urban planners and policy makers. But sometimes they are large, sometimes they are messy, sometimes they are awkward to access, and often they are all of these things. In this hands-on course, we develop skills in scraping, processing, and managing urban data, and use tools such as natural language processing, geospatial analysis, and machine learning. We draw on examples from transit, housing, and equity planning, and build competence in open-source tools and languages such as Python and SQL. We also consider the limits to data science, and the biases and pitfalls that “big data” can entail.

Green Transportation

Undergraduate. PA154. Last offered Winter 2022. Syllabus

This course provides an introduction to transportation planning and policy from the environmental perspective. We consider how urban transportation systems can encourage alternatives to the private car and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. We examine innovations in transit planning, parking policy, and bicycle and pedestrian design, and consider the potential for new technologies such as autonomous vehicles.

Microeconomics for Urban Planning

Graduate. UP207. Next offered Spring 2025 [TBC].

This course introduces core concepts in microeconomics, and applies them to issues in urban policy and planning. The emphasis is on applications: we’ll briefly cover the economic theory, but most of our time will be spent on applications in environment, transportation, land use, and other areas of urban planning. We examine how the economic perspective can inform the equity and efficiency of policies from congestion pricing to rent control and property taxation. We also discuss the root causes of disagreements between economists and other urban planning and policy professionals, and identify channels of communication and common ground.

Transportation and Environmental Issues

Graduate. M258. Last offered Winter 2022. Syllabus

This course critically analyzes policies to improve fuel economy, promote electric vehicles, and reduce vehicle travel. We examine the history and legal frameworks of environmental regulation, and consider analytical methods to quantify carbon emissions and estimate emission reductions. We focus on climate change, but also consider many of the other environmental consequences of transportation, from air pollution to stormwater runoff.

Previous courses

Before joining UCLA, I taught Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz and Geography at McGill University. Here are links to previous syllabi.