Jennifer Wolch
2012 Fellow

The challenges of building healthier and more sustainable cities motivate the research of Jennifer Wolch, UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design (CED). Before coming to UC Berkeley to serve as CED’s first woman dean, Wolch directed the Center for Sustainable Cities at the University of Southern California, where she conducted research on urban sprawl, metropolitan planning, and access to parks and open space. Her work done in collaboration with colleagues, students, and community-based organizations, included investigations into urban homelessness; formulating alternatives to sprawl; analyses of park and recreational resource access and environmental justice; development of web-based geospatial planning tools for watershed health, habitat conservation, and park space projects; assessments of urban alleys as potential green infrastructure; and studies of how urban design influences physical activity and public health.

In the Bay Area, Wolch continues to work on issues of how to utilize remnant urban land as green infrastructure and how park-adjacent traffic crashes and air pollution deepen environmental justice issues associated with parks and open space. She has also initiated investigations into issues of park access and urban ecology in Chinese cities.