Stephan Schmidt

Stephan Schmidt's research interests concern land-use policy, patterns, and processes, and are focused on a number of areas. He is interested in the changing land use patterns in Europe as the result of demographic, institutional, and political-economic impacts, and the role of planning institutions to effectuate these patterns. Along with colleagues at Dortmund, he has empirically examined the role of regional level planning institutions on the urban spatial structure of German metropolitan areas and is currently using commuting patterns to examine regional economic spatial structure.

In addition, he is interested in urbanization patterns in sub-Saharan Africa and is examining the manner in which urbanization and demographic change affect land tenure systems and urban agriculture. Concurrent with this research, he has also taught a spatial data analysis workshop in Moshi, Tanzania.

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
  • 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 8900 Planning Research Seminar Intended for doctoral candidates in city and regional planning; other students welcome. Presentation and discussion of current problem areas and research by advanced doctoral students, faculty members, and visitors.
  • 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)

  • Regional Polycentrism and Metropolitan Structure in Germany, German Academic Exchange Service (2019)
  • The Changing role of Regional Level Planning in Germany, Cornell Institute for European Studies, Luigi Einaudi Chair Innovation Grant (2016)
  • Spatial Data Analysis Training for Local Governments in Tanzania, Institute for African Development (2019)

Exhibitions and Presentations (Selected)

  • Cornell-Copenhagen research networking workshop on food systems, climate change, and sub-Saharan Africa, University of Copenhagen (2019)
  • Integrated land management workshop, spatial data analysis session, Cornell (2018)
  • "The Monocentric Model and Urban Spatial Structure in Germany," ACSP Conference, Buffalo, New York (2018)
  • Land formalization and local leadership in Moshi, Tanzania, ACSP Conference, Denver, Colorado (2017)
  • Spatial data gathering workshop in Moshi Tanzania with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College, Moshi, Tanzania (2017)

Publications (Selected)

  • Schmidt, Stephan and Matuke, Samantha, "The Rise and Fall of the American Pedestrian Mall," Journal of Urbanism, currently under review
  • 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, currently under review
  • Schmidt, Stephan, and Edmund Zakayo, "Land Formalization and Local Leadership in Moshi, Tanzania," Habitat International  74, 18–26 (2018)
  • Schmidt, Stephan, Stefan Siedentop, and Stefan Fina, "How Effective are Regions in Determining Urban Spatial Patterns? Evidence from Germany," Journal of Urban Affairs, 1–18 (2017)
  • Schmidt, Stephan, "Bioenergy villages and the energy transition in Germany," Progressive Planning 202 (2016)
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