Stephan Schmidt

Stephan Schmidt's research interests concern the social, economic, and political context of environmental, design, and land use planning and decision-making. His current projects include a quantitative land use change analysis of the effectiveness of regional level planning in Germany in explaining land use patterns. In addition, he recently received funding from the Institute for African Development for a pilot project titled Building Spatial Data Collection and Research Capacity for Sustainable Development. The purpose of the project is to improve the capability of partner institutions in East Africa to gather data, conduct spatial analysis, monitor and evaluate programs and projects, and ultimately improve decision making. Click here for a link to the project page.

Schmidt currently serves as director of graduate studies for the Department of City and Regional Planning, and as director of the Clarence S. Stein Institute for Urban and Landscape Studies.

Schmidt has a bachelor's degree in earth sciences from Washington University, a master's degree in landscape architecture from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in urban planning and policy development from Rutgers University.

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Classes (Selected)

  • CRP 3500/5500 Comparative Urban Development: The European Case
  • CRP 3540/5540 Introduction to Environmental Planning
  • CRP 3840/5850 Green CitiesCities are centers of innovation, economic growth, social mobility, and they provide economies of scale in the provision of infrastructure and social services. However, cities are also sites of growing socio-economic inequalities and environmental problems. Do cities provide the opportunity to address environmental problems, or are they rather the source of pollution and environmental degradation? Are cities the appropriate scale at which to address environmental problems? Are these really urban issues or do cities just cluster resource use and problems so they are more visible? What role does the built or physical environment have in impacting our behavior and decision making? This course examines social, economic, cultural, political and environmental dimensions of sustainability and sustainable development in urban areas.
  • CRP 4080/5080 Introduction to GIS for PlannersGeographic Information Systems (GIS) have revolutionized the way we manage, analyze, and present spatial information. This course focuses on GIS in the social sciences. Many of the exercises and examples are based on planning issues, but the concepts can be applied to many other disciplines such as government, economics, natural resources, and sociology. Some of the issues covered include fundamentals of spatial analysis; overview of GIS technology and applications; designing a GIS project; gathering and analyzing data; and creating thematic maps.
  • CRP 6290 Advanced topics in GISThis course is designed to engage graduate level planning students in some more advanced topics using GIS methodology. Topics may vary from year to year, but in the past, the course has included an introduction to spatial statistics. Topics addressed include exploratory spatial data analysis, spatial autocorrelation, point pattern analysis, spatial interpolation techniques, spatial regression (including geographically weighted regression), and both spatial lag and spatial error models. 

Awards, Grants, and Fellowships (Selected)

  • Building spatial data collection and research capacity for sustainable development, Cornell Institute for African Development (2014)
  • Property formalization and the role of technology in Tanzania, Cornell Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Academic Venture Funds (2011)
  • The implementation of GIS in urban land management in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Einaudi Center for International Studies (2010)
  • Public perceptions of safety in New York City's privately owned public spaces, Cornell University Institute for Social Sciences (2010)
  • Implementation of the European Union Water Framework Directive in Germany, Cornell University Institute for European Studies (2009)

Exhibitions and Presentations (Selected)

  • "Planning for Urban Agriculture in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania," TU Munich-Weihenstephan Colloquium on Applied Ecology and Planning (2012)
  • Session organizer, ACSP Conference, Minnesota: Contemporary Planning Issues in Europe (2010)
  • Session organizer, ACSP Conference, Washington, DC: Public Spaces and the Role of the Planner (2009)

Publications (Selected)

  • The Organization of Urban Agriculture: Farmer Associations and Urbanization in Tanzania Cities, (with Wakuru Magigi) (2014)
  • "Post-socialist Sprawl: A Cross Country Comparison," European Planning Studies (with Stefan Fina and Stefan Siedentop) (2014)
  • "Getting the Policy Right: Urban Agriculture in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania," International Development Planning Review, 34(2):129–145 (2012)