CLAS Faculty & Staff Directory
Gregory Simon, Ph.D.
Post Doctoral Fellow, Environmental Policy, Stanford University, 2009
PhD, Geography, University of Washington, 2007
MESM, Environmental Science & Mgmt, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2001
BA, Economics, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1997
New book is now available:
Gregory L Simon. 2016. Flame and Fortune in the American West: Urban Development, Environmental Change and the Great Oakland Hills Fire. University of California Press
I am an Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver. (Currently I am serving as a Visiting Researcher at UCLA. I will still respond to all normal queries during this time.) My teaching and research are informed by the fields of political ecology, environmental policy, critical development studies, urban ecology and environmental history. Along with my appointment in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences at CU Denver, I am also an Affiliate Faculty member in Urban and Regional Planning and a Research Fellow in the Colorado Center for Sustainable Urbanism. At CU Boulder I hold a Graduate Faculty position and advise graduate students in the Department of Geography and the Environmental Studies Program. Before coming to Colorado, I spent two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University where I was a Principal Investigator in Stanford’s Spatial History Project. I also held subsequent Visiting Scholar positions at UCLA and Stanford. I received my PhD in Geography at the University of Washington.
Research: Broadly speaking, my research investigates challenges and opportunities confronting individuals, communities, markets and governments that pursue environmental protection and economic development objectives simultaneously. More specifically my research seeks to (a) detail how environment and development policy objectives are defined rhetorically, substantiated scientifically, organized administratively and negotiated politically; (b) expose program/policy tensions that produce undesirable and inequitable social and ecological outcomes; and (c) describe the emergence of new governance arrangements that reconcile program tensions and produce alternative outcomes. I am currently writing a book titled PoliticalNature that further explores these topics.
I have several ongoing research projects. Two primary projects are briefly described below:
1. Clean Cookstoves, Carbon Finance and “Win-Win” Development in India
I am currently conducting research funded by the National Science Foundation (Geography and Spatial Sciences Program) that critically explores the challenges, opportunities and implications of mobilizing household cooking technologies around the developing world to advance various health, development and environmental initiatives, including climate change and household air pollution mitigation. My present research is located in the Indian States of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. This NSF grant extends my previous research in Maharashtra, India and is informed by my past position as a Core Advisor to United Nations Foundation’s Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. This research builds on prior publications in journals such as Global Environmental Change, Progress in Human Geography, Political Geography, Energy for Sustainable Development, among others.
2. Cities, Fire and the Affluence-Vulnerability Interface in the American West
This project explores the relationship between vulnerability, affluence and wildfires in the U.S. West using a blend of tools and concepts from political ecology, environmental history, science studies and GIScience. Specifically, this book describes diverse factors producing risk across demographic groups and the many individuals and institutions that have benefited financially from the spread of urban settlements into areas historically prone to wildfires. This project also demonstrates how scientific and mainstream management discourses conceal these lucrative drivers of risk/wealth by depoliticizing the social causes of fire. My book, Flame and Fortune in the American West: Urban Development, Environmental Change and the Great Oakland Hills Fire (University of California Press, Fall 2016) examines these processes in great detail. This book -- which is part of the new UC Press series: Critical Environments: Nature, Science and Politics -- builds on research published in the journals Annals of the Association of American Geographers and Global Environmental Change as well as an edited book titled, Cities, Nature and Development: The Politics and Production of Urban Vulnerabilities.
Teaching: I am extremely passionate about my teaching and mentoring activities. All research endeavors mentioned above involve student-learning opportunities – whether summers in residence with me at Stanford University or multi-week visits to rural India. I believe the best research activities activate student-learning opportunities, while the most valuable educational moments are achieved through dynamic student research. I teach a number of different classes that provide students with opportunities to (a) deepen their core knowledge of past and contemporary social-environmental issues, (b) develop practical abilities that will assist their future academic and professional careers, and (c) refine critical thinking skills so they are better able to question the presentation and substance of mainstream knowledge and conventional wisdoms. In my classes, I find it is important to not just describe the social and environmental issues we face today but to also detail how and why economic, political and cultural forces come to produce these outcomes and mediate the way we understand and respond to them.
G. Simon. 2016.Flame and Fortune in the American West: Urban Development, Environmental Change and the Great Oakland Hills Fire. University of California Press, CA
G. Simon. PoliticalNature: A Political Ecology Guilford Press, NY (Under Contract)
G. Simon. 2016. How regions do work, and the work we do: a constructive critique of regions in political ecology. Journal of Political Ecology 23 pp. 197-203
A. Chin, L. An, J.L. Florsheim, L.R. Laurencio, R.A. Marston, A.P. Solverson, G. Simon, E. Stinson, E. Wohl. 2016. Investigating feedbacks in human-landscape systems: Lessons following a wildfire in Colorado, USA. Geomorphology 252 pp.40-50
G. Simon. 2014. “Vulnerablity-in-Production: A Spatial History of Nature, Affluence and Fire in Oakland, California” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 104:6 pp. 1199-1221
G. Simon. 2014. “If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Into the Kitchen: Obligatory Passage Points and Mutually Supported Impediments at the Climate-Development Interface” Area 46:3 pp. 268-277
G. Simon, R. Bailis, J. Baumgarner, J. Hyman, A. Laurent. 2014. “Current Debates and Future Research Needs in the Clean Cookstoves Sector” Energy for Sustainable Development 20 pp. 49-57
R. Lave, M. Wilson, E. Barron, C. Biermann, M. Carey, M. Doyle, C. Duvall, L. Johnson, M. Lane, J. Lorimer, N. McClintock, D. Munroe, R. Pain, J. Proctor, B. Rhoads, M. Robertson, J. Rossi, N. Sayre, G. Simon, M. Tadaki, and C. Van Dyke. 2014. "Critical Physical Geography." The Canadian Geographer 58:1 pp. 1-10
G. Simon and S. Dooling. 2013. “Flame and Fortune in California: The Material and Political Dimensions of Vulnerability” Global Environmental Change 23:6 pp. 1410-1423
G. Simon and P. Alagona. 2013. “Contradictions at the Confluence of Commerce, Consumption and Conservation; or, An REI Shopper Camps in the Forest, Does Anyone Notice?” Geoforum 45 pp. 325-336
G. Simon, B. Wee, A. Chin, A. Depierre, D. Guth, H. Mason. 2013. “Synthesis for the interdisciplinary environmental sciences: Integrating systems approaches and service learning.” Journal of College Science Teaching 42: 5 pp. 42-49
G. Simon, A. Bumpus, P. Mann. 2012. “ Win-Win Scenarios at the Climate-Development Interface: Challenges and Opportunities for Cookstove Replacement Programs Through Carbon Finance” Global Environmental Change 22 pp. 275-287
P. Alagona and G. Simon. 2012. “Leave No Trace Starts at Home: A Response to Critics and Vision for the Future” Ethics, Policy and Environment 15:1
H. Bischel, G. Simon, T. Frisby, D Luthy. 2012. “Management Experiences and Trends for Water Reuse Implementation in Northern California” Environmental Science and Technology 46 pp. 180-188
G. Simon and S. Dooling. 2012. Cities, Nature, Development: The Politics and Production of Urban Vulnerabilities. Aldershot UK, Ashgate Publishing (Equal Editorship)
G. Simon. 2012. “Development, Risk Momentum and the Ecology of Vulnerability: A Historical-Relational Analysis of the 1991 Oakland Hills Firestorm” In, Cities, Nature, Development: The Politics and Production of Urban Vulnerabilities. Eds. S. Dooling and G. Simon. Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, UK
D. Biehler and G. Simon. 2011. “The Great Indoors: Research Frontiers on Indoor Environments as Active Political Ecological Spaces” Progress in Human Geography 35:2 pp. 172-192 (Equal Authorship)
G. Simon. 2011. “The 100th Meridian, Ecological Boundaries and the Problem of Reification.” Society and Natural Resources 24:1 pp. 95-101
G. Simon. 2010. “Mobilizing Cookstoves for Development: A Dual Adoption Framework Analysis of Collaborative Technology Innovations in Western India” Environment and Planning A 42 pp. 2011-2030
G. Simon and J. Graybill. 2010. “Geography in Interdisciplinarity: Towards a Third Conversation.” Geoforum 41: 3 pp. 356-363
P. Alagona and G. Simon. 2010. “The Role of Field Study in Humanistic and Interdisciplinary Environmental Education.” Journal of Experiential Education 32: 3 pp. 191-206
G. Simon. 2009. “Geographies of Mediation: Market Development and the Rural Broker in Maharashtra, India.” Political Geography 28:3 pp. 197-207
G. Simon and P. Alagona. 2009. “Beyond ‘Leave no Trace’” Ethics, Place and Environment 12:1 pp. 17-34
J. Graybill, S. Dooling, A. Greve, V. Shandas, J. Withey, G. Simon. 2006. “A Rough Guide to Interdisciplinarity: Graduate Student Perspectives.” Bioscience 56: 9 pp. 757-763
S. Dooling, G. Simon, K. Yocom. 2006. “Place-Based Urban Ecology: A Century of Park Planning in Seattle.” Urban Ecosystems 9:4 pp. 299-321
ENVS 1342, Introduction to Environment, Society and Sustainability
GEOG 4/5420, The Politics of Nature
GEOG 4/5440, Science, Policy and the Environment
GEOG 4/5580, Urban Sustainability: Perspectives and Practice
GEOG 4700 /ENVS 5700, Synthesis for Interdisciplinary Science
GEOG 6300, Foundations Seminar in Human-Environment Interaction