Stephan Schmidt

Stephan Schmidt's research interests concern land-use policy, patterns, and processes. First, he is interested in the changing land use patterns in Europe as the result of demographic and institutional impacts. Along with European colleagues, he is examining how planning institutions impact spatial structure using a comparative cross-section of metropolitan areas. He is also using commuting patterns to examine regional spatial structure.

In addition, he is interested in urbanization patterns in sub-Saharan Africa. Along with Tanzanian colleagues, he is currently examining the politics of municipal annexation within the context of rapid growth and customary land tenure. Concurrent with this research, he has also taught a spatial data analysis workshop in Moshi, Tanzania.

Finally, he is also interested in urban public space and has researched the consequences of privatizing public space provision as well as the American pedestrian mall.

Schmidt has a master's degree in landscape architecture from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in urban planning from Rutgers University.

Academic Research/Specialty Areas

  • Community-based planning and development
  • International studies in planning
  • Land use/spatial planning
  • Planning history
  • Regional science
  • Suburban neighborhoods
  • Sustainability
  • Urbanism
  • Visual representation
  • Regional planning
  • Land tenure systems
  • Europe
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • GIS
  • Planning institutions

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Classes (Selected)

  • 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 4860/5860 Urban Spatial Data Analytics This course examines the problem of traffic congestion from engineering, economic and political perspectives. The course begins with a historical overview of the evolution of the US transportation system, then proceeds to discuss contemporary levels of driving as well as their costs and benefits. From there various approaches to mitigating congestion are analyzed.
  • 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 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)

  • The future of pandemic related street closures, Urban Transformation Initiative (2021)
  • Regional commuting patterns and metropolitan spatial structure in Germany, Cornell Institute for European Studies, Luigi Einaudi Chair Innovation Grant (2020)
  • Regional Polycentrism and Metropolitan Structure in Germany, German Academic Exchange Service (2019)
  • Spatial Data Analysis Training for Local Governments in Tanzania, Institute for African Development (2019)

Exhibitions and Presentations (Selected)

  • Pandemic related street closures and the future of the pedestrian mall, ACSP Conference, Miami, Florida (2021)
  • Toward comparative poly-centricity scores: Assessing variations in regional delineation and subcenter identification, ACSP Conference, Miami, Florida (2021)
  • Regions, Institutions, and Development: Evidence from Cross-National Analysis, ACSP Conference, Toronto, Canada (2020)
  • Cornell-Copenhagen research networking workshop on food systems, climate change, and sub-Saharan Africa, University of Copenhagen (2019)
  • Spatial data gathering workshop in Moshi Tanzania with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College, Moshi, Tanzania (2017)

Publications (Selected)

  • Schmidt, S., Wenzheng, L., Carruthers, J., and Siedentop, S. Planning institutions and urban spatial patterns: Evidence from a cross-national analysis, forthcoming, Journal of Planning Education and Research.
  • Schmidt, Stephan, and Thomas, Ryan. "Measuring polynucleated regions: operationalizing polycentrism, defining sub-centers, delineating regions" currently under review.
  • Schmidt, Stephan, Matuke, Samantha, and Li, Wenzheng. "The rise and fall of the American pedestrian mall" Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability.
  • Schmidt, Stephan, Fina, Stefan, Krehl, Angelika, and Siedentop, Stefan. "Does the Monocentric Model work in a Polycentric Urban System? An Examination of German Metropolitan Regions," Urban Studies (2020)
  • Schmidt, Stephan, and Edmund Zakayo. "Land Formalization and Local Leadership in Moshi, Tanzania," Habitat International  74, 18–26 (2018)
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