IMG_9218.jpgI am an educator and researcher specializing in human-environment relations, urban resilience and sustainability, and social-ecological systems thinking. I hold a PhD in Human Geography from the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the CUNY Graduate Center, and I am currently an Urban Studies Foundation International Postdoctoral Research Fellow based in the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies at Florida International University. At FIU I am also affiliated with the Institute of Environment, Sea Level Solutions Center, and am co-lead of the NSF-funded Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research Project Human Dimensions working group. Previously I was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Culture and Media at The New School and taught urban and environmental studies and planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Environmental Studies Program at Queens College.

In my work I use geography, political ecology, and infrastructure studies to critically analyze the environmental, social, and technical transformations of urban life in the age of climate change. My research on New York and Miami Beach combines empirical research, stakeholder interviews, and site observations to explore the engineering, legal, and philosophical challenges of resilience as a new paradigm of urban planning. As I have argued in a series of journal articles published in Political Geography, Geography Compass, Geoforum, and Environment and Planning E: Nature and Place, urban resilience is a mode of government that moves beyond outdated forms of urban planning based in modern human/nature binaries by redesigning the city as a social-ecological system secured via nature’s own inherent, vital capacities. An important focus of my research also considers how ordinary urban dwellers are transforming social and environmental relations in order to live more sustainably and equitably in the 21st century. This work explores the possibilities for sustainability experimentation and new forms of human-nature collaboration in the age of climate change, assembling stories and tools emerging at the front lines of environmental transformation. I am now working on a new book, Miami Forever? Urbanism in the Anthropocene. Through a multi-sited research program based in a global city vulnerable to early sea level rise, I critically examine three case studies of resiliency experimentation: Everglades restoration designs to protect the Biscayne aquifer from saltwater intrusion; art and planning institutions’ social media and public art efforts to market an aqua-urban future for Miami; and indigenous and transnational migrant communities’ practices for confronting sunny day flooding.

Along with scholarly publication and teaching, I frequently work with government organizations, community groups, art institutions and nonprofits to explore experimental sustainability planning and community resilience design.

Twitter @stephwakefield_