Urban and Regional Planning

Hal Knowles

Hal Knowles

Sustainability and the Built Environment
Instructional Assistant Professor and Change Agent
ARCH 150

Areas of Focus:
Sustainability (Building Energy, Built Environment Resilience, Renewable Energy, Smart Buildings/Cities, Sustainable Construction, Sustainable Technology)

Summary of Teaching, Research, and Outreach Interests
Hal Knowles is interested in several interdisciplinary domains including: (1) fostering resilience and cultivating adaptive capacity across the natural-to-urban transect; (2) exploring complexity and regime shifts within linked social-ecological systems; (3) improving human and community health in the built environment, especially within the emerging ancestral health paradigm; (4) engendering social justice in community development form and function; and (5) integrating organizational leadership, conservation behaviors, energy efficiency, and renewable energy as mitigation strategies for the dual global challenges of climate change and energy transition. His current work branches building-to-city scales and involves: (1) modeling the geospatial resource impacts of alternative urban land use scenarios; (2) evaluating social equity in housing, transportation, and neighborhood opportunities; and (3) deciphering energy use patterns and building performance via nonlinear analytical methods, such as multifractal detrended fluctuation analysis (MFDFA) and cross recurrence quantification analysis (CRQA).

Teaching and Mentoring Experience
For the 2018/2019 school year, Hal will be teaching 11 credit hours in Fall 2018 (DCP 3200, DCP 4945, and URP 4000), nine credit hours in Spring 2019 (DCP 1241, DCP 3210, and DCP 3220), and six credit hours in Summer 2019 (DCP 3210 and DCP 3220). In the past, he was the lead instructor for the DCP 4941 – Practicum in SBE, a six credit course (Fall 2015, Fall 2016, and Spring 2018) and EVR 2001 – Introduction to Environmental Science, a three credit course (Fall 2017). Since the Spring 2016 semester, Hal has also served several students as their project mentor for the DCP 4290 Capstone Project in SBE. In 2017/2018, he served on an M.S. thesis committee for a student in the Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences. During the 2018/2019 school year, Hal is actively serving on one M.S. thesis committee and one Ph.D. dissertation committee within the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. In recent years, he has also been invited to give 42 separate guest lectures, across 18 courses, within 11 departments, at two universities.

Research, Writing, and Content Development Experience
Hal’s publications include chapter sections in four books (contributing author), four refereed journal articles (plus another two in development for submission), and 46 non-refereed publications (38 of which he was first or sole author). He has also led development of, and delivered, nine instructional multimedia curricula and related course materials for professionals and lay audiences across Florida. Hal’s experience in web-based communication and teaching includes project management and principal content development for two websites and conceptual co-developer, collaborator, and analytical consultant for two websites, one of which (My Florida Home Energy) has grown tenfold since its launch in June 2013 and has served over 48,000 users with 86% as new sessions.

Project Funding and Achievements
From 2005 through 2017 at the UF Program for Resource Efficient Communities, Hal contributed to 42 funded projects totaling approximately $2.46 million, including the following: $152,735 as PI/Manager/Instructor; $1,024,760 as Co-PI; $376,959 as Investigator; and $908,710 as Senior Personnel. In 2016, he earned his Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the UF School of Natural Resources and Environment and was promoted to Associate In faculty status within the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. In 2018, Hal was was named one of two Florida Climate Institute Faculty Fellows.

Speaking and Conference Experience
Since 2005, Hal has spoken at 43 professional events: two international (both selected), six national (three invited, three selected), 27 state (18 invited, nine selected), and eight local (five invited, three selected). Additionally, he served as lead event planner and facilitator for GreenTrends 2006, the statewide annual conference for the Florida Green Building Coalition.


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Yan Wang

Yan Wang

Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience (FIBER)
Assistant Professor
(352) 294-3376
ARCH 456

Ph.D. Civil Engineering, Virginia Tech
Master of Accounting, Asset Valuation, Beijing Jiaotong University
Bachelor of Management, Construction Engineering and Management, Beijing Jiaotong University

Areas of Focus:  Sustainability (Built Environment Resilience, Smart Buildings/Cities) building sustainability through resilient built environment research and better infrastructure planning for emerging technologies to reduce GHG emission.

Bio: Dr. Wang’s research concerns resilient, smart, and safe cities. She studies the resilience of humans and the built environment to natural hazards and public health crises. She also develops data-driven intelligent system to enable agility in disaster and emergency response, and to detect small-scale crises for urban safety. Her research also engages evidence-based planning for urban resilience and data-informed infrastructure planning for future cities. Dr. Wang’s expertise includes multimodal data analytics (including natural language processing and computer vision), complex network analysis, spatiotemporal analyses, and real-time geo-visualization. Her interdisciplinary projects have been funded by the National Science Foundation (Awards #2028012, #1951816, #1760645), Natural Hazards Center, DCP Research Initiative SEED Grant and Global Fellow Program Seed Grant.

Research Topics

Urban Resilience

Urban Analytics

Climate Adaptation

Crisis Informatics

Human Dynamics

Smart Environment


Founding Faculty, Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience (FIBER)

Founder, Urban Agility and Resilience Laboratory

Affiliate Faculty, UF Informatics Institute

Affiliate Faculty, UF Transportation Institute

Affiliate Faculty, Warren B. Nelms Institute for the Connected World


University of Florida Excellence Awards for Assistant Professors (2022)

ASCE Journal of Management in Engineering Honorable Mention Award (2021)

University of Florida Research Promotion Initiative Award (2021)

Excellence in Research Award, College of Design, Construction and Planning (2021)

Great Teaching Certificate, UF Center for Teaching Excellence (2021)

Weather Ready Research Fellowships, Natural Hazard Center (NSF &NOAA) (2021)

Mitigation Matters Award, Natural Hazard Center, 2020

Global Research Fellow, by University of Florida, November 8, 2018

Virginia Tech IGEP BioBuild Fellowship, by Virginia Tech, Aug. 2015 – May 2018

Selected Grants

2023-2026 Co-PI: Collaborative Research: SaTC: CORE: Medium: Information Integrity: A User-centric Intervention
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (Award #2323794)
Program: CNS-Secure &Trustworthy Cyberspace

2023-2026 PI: Spatial Explanation and Planning for Resilience of Community-Based Small Businesses to Environmental Shocks
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (Award #2316450)
Program: CMMI-HDBE-Humans, Disasters, and the Built Environment

2022-2023 Faculty: GulfSouth Studio
Sponsor: The National Academy of Sciences Engineering and Medicine

2021-2022 PI: SCC-PG: SmartCurb: Building Smart Urban Curb Environments
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (Award #2124858)
Program: Smart and Connected Communities – Planning Grants

2020-2021 PI: RAPID: Dynamic Interactions between Human and Information in Complex Online Environments Responding to SARS-COV-2.
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (Award #2028012)
Program: CMMI-Humans, Disasters and Built Environment

2020-2021 Co-PI: SCC-PG: Coordinated Safety Management Across Smart Communities
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (Award #1951816)
Program: Smart and Connected Communities – Planning Grants

2018-2019 PI (Sub award): RAPID: Discovering Crises within Crises – Real-Time Detection, Tracking and Visualization of Emergent Crises in Hurricanes.
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (Award #1760645)
Program: CISE-Information & Intelligent Systems

2021-2022 PI: Weather Ready Research Fellowship: Assessing the Impact of Geo-Targeted Warning Messages on Residents Evacuation Decisions Before a Hurricane
Sponsor: Natural Hazards Center (flow from NSF and NOAA)

2021-2021 Key Personnel: Upper Suwannee River Resilience Columbia County and The Town of White Springs
Sponsor: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

2021 PI: Assessing Disaster Impact in Real Time (ADIR): A Data-Driven System Integrating Human, Hazards, and the Built Environment
Sponsor: UF Office of the Provost-Research Promotion Initiative Award

2020-2021 PI: Examining Digital Vulnerability to Flooding Among Subsidized Housing Residents in Florida.
Sponsor: Natural Hazards Center-Mitigation Matters Research Program.

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Daniel Downing

Daniel Downing

Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Assistant Scholar, GeoPlan Center
ARCH 131

M.A., Urban and Regional Planning, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 2016
B.S., Liberal Studies, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, 2000

Areas of specialization: GIS Programming Data and GIS web service development

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Reginald Pierre-Jean

Reginald Pierre-Jean

Department of Urban and Regional Planning
GeoPlan Center
ARCH 131

M.A., Urban and Regional Planning, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 2011
B.A., Geography, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 2008

Areas of specialization: GIS development Programming and customization Web development

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Laura Dedenbach

Laura Dedenbach

Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Instructional Assistant Professor // Graduate Coordinator,
(352) 294-1493
ARCH 466

Ph.D., Design, Construction and Planning, University of Florida, 2016
•Concentration: Urban and Regional Planning
•Graduate Minor: Anthropology
Master of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning, University of Florida, 1999
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, University of Florida, 1996

Areas of Focus:
Social equity, or people, is one of the pillars of sustainability. My research focuses on dimensions of social equity, community resilience, and empowerment at the neighborhood level, particularly related to place-based narratives and the interface with public policy and neighborhood planning.

Dr. Dedenbach received her master’s in urban and regional planning and doctorate in urban and regional planning, with a graduate minor in anthropology, from UF. Her research interests include crime prevention and the built environment, urban resilience, neighborhood planning, empowerment, effects of gentrification on neighborhood culture and stability, land use and comprehensive planning, and issues of land use compatibility. Dr. Dedenbach is currently engaged in research and service-learning projects in Gainesville and Atlanta. 

Dr. Dedenbach teaches classes in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, including:

  • URP 4000, Preview to Urban and Regional Planning
  • URP 4740, Housing and Urban Development
  • URP 4882, Defensible Space and CPTED in Urban Design
  • URP 4905, Neighborhood Planning

She also teaches a Quest 1 course: IDS 2935, “This Must Be the Place”: Place-based Narratives and Community Identity.

Prior to joining the URP Faculty in 2019 as a Lecturer and Undergraduate and Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Dedenbach was a practicing planner with over 23 years of experience, specializing in comprehensive planning, policy and development planning, and small town and rural planning, as well as being a recognized expert witness on planning and zoning issues by local governments, the Florida Department of Administrative Hearings, and Circuit, Appeals, and Federal courts. She has been a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) since 2001. 

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Zhong-Ren Peng

Zhong-Ren Peng

Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Professor/Director International Center for Adaptation Planning and Design (iAdapt)
ARCH 462

Areas of Focus: Sustainability (Built Environment Resilience, Smart Buildings/Cities, Sustainable Technology) Conducting research in sustainable transportation systems such as public transportation systems, shared mobility and environment impacts of transportation networks; conducting research in adaptation planning for climate change like sea level rise and extreme weather. Education Ph.D., Urban Studies, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, 1994 M.S., Economics, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, 1994 M.S., Geography, Graduate School of University of Science and Technology of China, Beijing, People’s Republic of China, 1986 B.S., Geography, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China, 1983 Areas of Expertise

  • Geospatial Information Systems and Analysis
  • Information Technology for Planning
  • International Planning
  • Landscape Planning Using GIS
  • Transportation

Teaching URP 6276: Internet Geographic Information Systems URP 6821: Transportation and Land Use Modeling URP 6905: Planning for Climate Change URP 6905: Urban Planning and Design Issues in China Research Interests Transportation and land use planning, modeling and policy Planning for climate change Information technology for planning International/China planning

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Crystal Goodison

Crystal Goodison

Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Associate Director + Associate Scholar, GeoPlan Center
ARCH 131

Crystal Goodison is an Associate Scholar and Associate Director of the GeoPlan Center, a research and teaching center specializing in geospatial systems and technologies. Crystal’s responsibilities include a mix of administrative, research, and teaching duties. On the administrative side, she assists the Center director with staff management, fiscal oversight, and strategic planning. She also manages the online certificate program in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Urban and Regional Planners, an off-book certificate which offers asynchronous GIS training in close coordination with the Online Masters in Urban and Regional Planning.

On the research side, Crystal leads geospatial projects which provide mapping data, tools, and technical training to the State, regional, and local governments to assist with sea level rise and coastal resiliency planning efforts. Her work involves understanding the data needs of transportation planners and urban planners and then building mapping tools to facilitate data delivery, analysis, and visualization. She enjoys developing and offering technical training to planning professionals around the state to build local capacity and empowerment.  

Crystal teaches DCP1010 Geodesign Colloquium, where she introduces students to the field of geodesign and its capabilities for building a more sustainable future.  This course is part of the Geodesign Specialization within the Bachelors of Sustainability and the Built Environment and Crystal serves on the Geodesign advisory committee.  Crystal also does content development for multiple classes in the online GIS Certificate.

Crystal has a BA in Geography and MA in Urban and Regional Planning, both from the University of Florida.

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