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2009 Ph.D., Geography, Arizona State University
2005 M.S., Global Technology & Development, Arizona State University
1999 B.A., Political Science, San Diego State University
Darren Ruddell is Associate Professor (Teaching) and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California (USC). Ruddell teaches courses in the undergraduate residential B.S. in GeoDesign program as well as the online graduate certificate and M.S. program in Geographic Information Science & Technology (GIST).
The overarching focus of Ruddell’s research is climate and society, an expanding area in global change studies, which incorporates socio-ecological interactions across multiple scales of analysis. Ruddell is particularly interested in the dynamic relationship between human development and the modification of native landscapes which are altering physical processes, as witnessed in rising global temperatures and urban heat islands (UHI), and the subsequent impacts that changing environmental systems pose on human health, well-being, and urban sustainability. While a changing climate can offer more favorable conditions for human development, changes in natural processes have also been found to stress local social and systems. Changes in climate not only present significantly different challenges to communities depending on geographic, economic, and political contexts, but vulnerability to climate change is also tightly coupled with urban form which can help mitigate or exacerbate local impacts. Sustainable urban design (i.e., Geodesign) can simultaneously reduce the UHI effect, improve local air quality, revitalized ecosystem health, and reduce fossil fuel dependency; all fundamental elements of a resilient city.
He serves as the chair of the USC Academic Senate Sustainability Committee, which recently produced the USC Sustainability Strategy 2030, a proposal that advocates and outlines goals and strategies for the university to take a position of leadership in environmental sustainability. The 2030 Proposal calls for bolder action to prioritize and integrate the various dimensions of sustainability on campus—education and research, operations, facilities and finances—into a longer-term strategy and broader vision. The Proposal has received broad support along with votes of endorsement from the Academic Senate, Staff Assembly, Graduate Student Government (GSG), and Undergraduate Student Government (USG). To view the full USC Sustainability Strategy 2030 proposal or to learn more about the Academic Senate Sustainability Committee visit: https://academicsenate.usc.edu/committees/sustainability/.
Ruddell earned his Ph.D. in Geography (2009) with a specialization in Geographic Information Science (GIS) from the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University. The title of Ruddell’s dissertation was “Scale and Scientific Inquiry: An Investigation of Theoretical, Methodological, and Practical Applications.” After completing the doctorate, Ruddell served as a post-doctoral scholar for the Central-Arizona Project (CAP) and the Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) at Arizona State University from 2009-2011 where he utilized geospatial technologies to investigate issues of urban sustainability and resiliency. Ruddell also served as Faculty Associate for the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University from 2010-2011.