GIS Research Specialist and Lecturer in Urban and Environmental Policy & Planning
What I Do
I teach the Geographic Information System (GIS) courses in the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning Program where I am on the faculty, as well as in the Environmental Studies Program. In addition, I provide guidance in GIS and spatial analysis for researchers across the Tufts system, and develop university-wide GIS resources to enhance the spatial analysis capabilities of Tufts faculty, researchers, and students.
Education and Background
Prior to coming to Tufts, I taught in the Community and Regional Planning Program at The University of Texas at Austin for 15 years, where I developed the GIS curriculum taught courses in urban planning history and theory, and engaged in numerous interdisciplinary research projects. I’m a cultural geographer by training, with have a BA in Arabic from the University of Chicago, and an MA and Ph.D. in Geography from The University of Texas at Austin. I’ve had extensive experience in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe researching local and regional history relating to environment, cultural identity, and resource use. For ten years, I also worked as a project management consultant in the GIS industry, advising on major GIS development projects for electric, gas, and water utility companies across North America.
I am intensely interested in the evolution of cities, towns, and metropolitan regions, from the micro-scale of the local built environment to the macro-scale of regional landscapes, economies, and transportation networks. Human communities reflect millions of decisions, large and small, that have expected and unexpected outcomes. In my own research and in my research collaborations with others, I focus on analyzing metropolitan environments from historical, cultural, political, and ecological perspectives.
Co-Principal Investigator, Walking and Environment: Maintaining Physical Activity in Ethnic Minority Women, National Institute of Health (1R01CA109403-01A1). (collaboration between the University of Houston and The University of Texas at Austin). 6/2005-5/2010.
Major Co-Investigator, Regional Development, Population Trend, and Technology Change Impacts on Future Air Pollution Emissions. US Environmental Protection Agency, 2004-STAR – B1. 12/14/04-12/14/07
Co- Principal Investigator, Impacts of Climate Change and Land Cover Change on Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds Emissions in Texas. Environmental Protection Agenc, 11/03-10/06.
Co-Principal Investigator, GK12 Program, Environmental Sciences Institute, The University of Texas at Austin. National Science Foundation, 8/03-8/05.
Principal Investigator. Re-engaging Planning with Place-Based Education. Mike Hogg Endowment for Urban Governance, the University of Texas at Austin, 1/03-8/03
Co-Principal Investigator. The Mayor’s Institute on City Design. EPA and the US Conference of Mayors, 8/02-3/03
Principal Investigator. Visualizing Landscape Change in the Austin – San Antonio Region. Summer Research Assignment, The University of Texas at Austin , 6/02 – 7/02
Co-Principal Investigator. The Mayor’s Institute on City Design. National Endowment for the Arts and the US Conference of Mayors, 8/01-3/02
Giving Voice to Stones: Place and Identity in Palestinian Literature. Austin: The University of Texas Press, 1994.
Chapters in Edited Volumes
"The Middle East: A Geographical Essay," in Understanding the Contemporary Middle East. Edited by Deborah J. Gerner. Lynne Rienner, Publishers, 2004, 2nd edition in press (co-authored with Ian R. Manners).
"Endangered Wetlands and Environmental Management in North Africa," in The North African Environment at Risk, edited by Will D. Swearingen and Abdellatif Bencherifa. Boulder, Co: Westview Press, 1995.
Published Translations from Arabic
On the Waiting List: An Iraqi Woman's Tales of Alienation, by Daisy al-Amir. Austin: Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 1995.
Year of the Elephant: A Moroccan Woman's Journey Toward Independence, by Leila Abuzeid. Austin: Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 1989.
“Visualizing Urban History Using GIS”, in Proceedings of the ESRI International User Conference, 2002. Available online: http://gis.esri.com/library/userconf/proc02/abstracts/a0549.html
“GIS in the Classroom.” Co-authored with Mary Burns. Learning and Leading with Technology. Vol. 28, no. 7, pages 10-17. April, 2001.
"City on a Hill: The Politics of Planning in Jerusalem." Planning Forum, vol. 3. Fall, 1999.
"Managing Urban Growth", in Proceedings of the International Problem-Based Learning Conference, Montreal, Quebec. Summer 1999.
American Planners and Post-Regime Change Planning. Paper presented at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, Kansas City, MO, October 2005
American Planners and Post-Regime Change Reconstruction, invited paper presented at the National Planning Conference, San Francisco, March 2005, sponsored by the American Planning Association.
Beyond Portland: Constraints and Opportunities for Regional Planning in Dissimilar State Legislative Frameworks, co-authored with Michael Oden. Paper presented at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, Portland, OR, October 2004.
Creating Community: University of Texas at Austin and Local Schools, co-authored with Veronica Chapa and Jessica Gordon. Paper presented at the ESRI Education Conference, San Diego, August 2004
Visualizing Urban History Using GIS. ESRI International User Conference, 2002.
Available online: http://gis.esri.com/library/userconf/proc02/abstracts/a0549.html
Managing Growth: A Manual and Conceptual Overview of GIS". Workshop co-presented with Mary Burns at the ESRI Education Users Conference, July, 2001, San Diego, California.
Using GIS as a Problem-Solving Tool. 6-hour workshop co-presented with Mary Burns at the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC), June 2001, Chicago, Illinois.