Latest News and Announcement (updated March 2022)

March 2022:  Together with three Virginia Tech faculty collaborators from the School of Public and International Affairs (Shalini Misra), Computer Science (Scott McCrickard), and Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation and the US Geological Survey (Jeff Marion), I recently started work on a grant from NSF’s program in Strengthening American Infrastructure (SAI).  Our 2-year project examines the use of smart phone and other digital technologies by long distance hikers on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the eastern US.  We focus on the current and potential impacts of this use on hiker experiences and the utility of digital technologies for promoting conservation objectives. This means we all will need to spend more time on the trail!  Several students from the School of Public and International Affairs (Norhan Abdelgawad) and Computer Science (Morva Saaty and Jaitun Patel) also have embraced the work, making this a fantastic team effort.

February, 2021:  A paper written by one of my students in Tanzania, Iddi Mwanyoka, and co-authored with my Ardhi University colleague Professor Makarius Mdemu and me, just came out in  Extractive Industries and Society, an Elsevier journal on the socio-economic and environmental impacts of mining and oil and gas production.

Iddi looks at the involvement of local communities in the development of natural gas fields in southeastern Tanzania, finding mixed successes at engaging host community residents and in sharing with them the benefits of the natural gas extraction.  It constitutes an important part of his PhD dissertation work. And it represents the latest of a series of papers based on my work in Tanzania that started in 2016.

December, 2020: We’re collecting some fantastic information about Americans’ experiences and perceptions with the COVID-19 epidemic in six different US metropolitan areas (Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York City, and Washington DC).  In one project funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), my brilliant colleague Shalini Misra and I are examining how risk perceptions, risk preferences, stated behavior, and actual behavior change in response to digital information during the COVID-19 crisis.  To do this, we’re asking roughly 1,200 residents a battery of questions every several months.  In the other study, also funded by NSF, I’m working with a team of crack faculty and student engineering and computer science investigators from several institutions, including project leader Pam Murray-Tuite (Clemson U.), Seth Guikema (U. of Michigan), and Ed Fox (Virginia Tech).  This COVID-ish effort entails asking questions of 2,800 residents about their transportation and electric-power related behavior, and constitutes part of longer-term effort in which we’re investigating joint disruptions to transportation and power infrastructure.  We’re using a panel of respondents furnished by the Ovation survey research firm for both studies.  STAY TUNED!!

May 2019:  Attending the UN Habitat Conference in Nairobi, the first-ever in the history of the planet, along with 3,000 others participants.  Heard President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya speak at the Plenary session on the first day, met the former mayor of Nairobi, and have attended some excellent sessions on informal settlements in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

May 2019:  Updated website with draft discussion paper on the application of risk heuristics to household solid waste management in Dar es Salaam.

Biases and Environmental Risks in Urban Africa:  Household Solid Waste Decision-Making

May 2019:  Updated website with two papers on risk and decision-making in public management, co-authored with Patrick Roberts.

Decision Biases and Heuristics Among Emergency Managers: Just Like the Public They Manage For?

Herbert Simon’s Forgotten Legacy for Improving Decision Processes

May 2019:  Presented paper on risk and solid waste decision-making at the World Congress on Risk in Cape Town, South Africa.

December 2018:  Posted five student podcasts on international policy and planning themes related to urbanization, fragile states, environment and health, economic development, and the built environment.

April 2018:  Just circulated a draft discussion paper on my household solid waste research projects to the crowd here in Dar es Salaam.

Residential Solid Waste in Dar es Salaam: Survey and Measurement Evidence from Four Informal Settlements

Access your own copy here before they sell out.


Consider presenting a paper or poster at the IAPS Symposium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, September 27-29, 2017.  daressalaamiapssymposium-9-2017The gathering, the first of its kind in East Africa, will focus on urban development, planning, and environmental behavior in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  The abstract submission period remains open until January 20, 2017.

For more information, visit