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Colin Polsky

Colin Polsky

Associate Professor, Graduate School of Geography

cpolsky@clarku.edu

508-421-3828

Graduate School of Geography
Clark University
Jefferson Academic Center, Room 206
Worcester, MA 01610
USA

Titles

  • Associate Professor, Graduate School of Geography

Biography

Colin Polsky joined the faculty at Clark University as assistant professor in 2003. Polsky is the director of the HERO program, which provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to analyze the causes and consequences of global environmental changes at local scales by participating in faculty-led research projects. He is one of the program's core research faculty and is engaged in research on smart growth, exploring how the processes of urban growth and natural hazard mitigation interact in New England, along with possible ways to improve the management of associated risks. Polsky is a geographer specializing in the human dimensions of global environmental change, emphasizing the statistical analysis of vulnerability to climate change. He has explored ways to blend quantitative and qualitative methods for the study of social and ecological vulnerability to environmental changes. He also completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, with the Research and Assessment Systems for Sustainability program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government. This fellowship is sponsored by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Journal Articles

2018

Locke, D. H., M. Avolio, T. L. Trammell, R. Roy Chowdhury, J. M. Grove, J. Rogan, D. G. Martin, N. Bettez, J. Cavender-Bares, P. M. Groffman, S. J. Hall, J. B. Heffernan, S. E. Hobbie, K. L. Larson, J. L. Morse, C. Neill, L. A. Ogden, J. P. O'Neil-Dunne, D. Pataki, W. D. Pearse, C. Polsky and M. M. Wheeler. 2018. A multi-city comparison of front and backyard differences in plant species diversity and nitrogen cycling in residential landscapes. Landscape and Urban Planning 178(Oct):102-111. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2018.05.030. (link )

2017

Groffman, P. M., M. Avolio, J. Cavender-Bares, N. D. Bettez, J. M. Grove, S. J. Hall, S. E. Hobbie, K. L. Larson, S. B. Lerman, D. H. Locke, J. B. Heffernan, J. L. Morse, C. Neill, K. C. Nelson, J. O'Neil-Dunne, D. E. Pataki, C. Polsky, R. Roy Chowdhury and T. L. Trammell. 2017. Ecological homogenization of residential macrosystems. Nature: Ecology & Evolution 1:Art. 0191. DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0191. (link )

Wheeler, M. M., C. Neill, P. M. Groffman, M. Avolia, N. D. Bettez, J. Cavender-Bares, R. Roy Chowdhury, L. Darling, J. M. Grove, S. J. Hall, J. B. Heffernan, S. E. Hobbie, K. L. Larson, J. L. Morse, K. C. Nelson, L. A. Ogden, W. D. Pearse, J. O'Neil-Dunne, D. E. Pataki, C. Polsky, M. K. Steele and T. L. Trammell. 2017. Continental-scale homogenization of residential lawn plant communities. Landscape and Urban Planning 165:54-63. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2017.05.004. (link )

2016

Groffman, P. M., J. M. Grove, C. Polsky, N. D. Bettez, J. L. Morse, J. Cavender-Bares, S. J. Hall, J. B. Heffernan, S. E. Hobbie, K. L. Larson, C. Neill, K. C. Nelson, L. A. Ogden, J. O'Neil-Dunne, D. E. Pataki, R. Roy Chowdhury and D. Locke. 2016. Satisfaction, water and fertilizer use in the American residential macrosystem. Environmental Research Letters 11(3):034004. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/034004. (link )

Hall, S. J., J. K. Learned, B. Ruddell, K. L. Larson, J. Cavender-Bares, N. Bettez, P. M. Groffman, J. M. Grove, J. B. Heffernan, S. E. Hobbie, J. L. Morse, C. Neill, K. C. Nelson, J. P. O'Neil-Dunne, L. A. Ogden, D. E. Pataki, W. D. Pearse, C. Polsky, R. Roy Chowdhury, M. K. Steele and T. L. Trammell. 2016. Convergence of microclimate in residential landscapes across diverse cities in the United States. Landscape Ecology 31:101-117. DOI: 10.1007/s10980-015-0297-y. (link )

Larson, K. L., K. C. Nelson, S. R. Samples, S. J. Hall, N. Bettez, J. Cavender-Bares, P. M. Groffman, M. Grove, J. B. Heffernan, S. E. Hobbie, J. Learned, J. L. Morse, C. Neill, L. A. Ogden, J. O'Neil-Dunne, D. E. Pataki, C. Polsky, R. Roy Chowdhury, M. Steele and T. L. Trammell. 2016. Ecosystem services in managing residential landscapes: Value priorities, dimensions, and cross-regional patterns. Urban Ecosystems 19(1):95-113. DOI: 10.1007/s11252-015-0477-1. (link )

Milman, A. and C. Polsky. 2016. Policy Frameworks Influencing Outdoor Water-Use Restrictions. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 52(3):605-619. DOI: 10.1111/1752-1688.12409.

Sisser, J. M., K. C. Nelson, K. L. Larson, L. A. Ogden, C. Polsky and R. Roy Chowdhury. 2016. Lawn enforcement: How municipal policies and neighborhood norms influence homeowner residential landscape management. Landscape and Urban Planning 150(Jun):16-25. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2016.02.011. (link )

2015

Foo, K., D. G. Martin, C. Polsky, C. Wool and M. Ziemer. 2015. Social and environmental governance in urban neighborhoods in Boston, MA. The Geographical Journal 181(2):138-146. DOI: 10.1111/geoj.12108. (link )

2014

Giner, N. M., C. Polsky, R. G. Pontius Jr, D. M. Runfola and S. Ratick. 2014. Creating spatially-explicit lawn maps without classifying remotely-sensed imagery: The case of suburban Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Cities and the Environment 7(1):10. (link )

Groffman, P. M., J. Cavender-Bares, N. D. Bettez, J. M. Grove, S. J. Hall, J. B. Heffernan, S. E. Hobbie, K. L. Larson, J. L. Morse, C. Neill, K. C. Nelson, J. O'Neil-Dunne, L. Ogden, D. E. Pataki, C. Polsky, R. Roy Chowdhury and M. K. Steele. 2014. Ecological homogenization of urban USA. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12(1):74-81. DOI: 10.1890/120374. (link )

Polsky, C., J. M. Grove, C. Knudson, P. M. Groffman, N. Bettez, J. Cavender-Bares, S. J. Hall, J. B. Heffernan, S. E. Hobbie, K. L. Larson, J. L. Morse, C. Neill, K. C. Nelson, L. A. Ogden, J. O'Neil-Dunne, D. E. Pataki, R. Roy Chowdhury and M. K. Steele. 2014. Assessing the homogenization of urban land management with an application to US residential lawncare. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 111(12):4432-4437. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1323995111. (link )

Steele, M. K., J. B. Heffernan, N. D. Bettez, J. Cavender-Bares, P. M. Groffman, J. M. Grove, S. J. Hall, S. E. Hobbie, K. L. Larson, J. L. Morse, C. Neill, K. C. Nelson, J. O'Neil-Dunne, L. A. Ogden, D. E. Pataki, C. Polsky and R. Roy Chowdhury. 2014. Convergent surface water distributions in U.S. cities. Ecosystems 17:685-697. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-014-9751-y. (link )

2013

Foo, K., D. Martin, C. Wool and C. Polsky. 2013. The production of urban vacant land: Relational placemaking in Boston, MA neighborhoods. Cities 35:156–163. DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2013.06.012. (link )

Giner, N. M., C. Polsky, R. G. Pontius Jr and D. M. Runfola. 2013. Understanding the determinants of lawn landscapes: A high-resolution spatial statistical analysis in suburban Boston, Massachusetts. Landscape and Urban Planning 111:25-33. (link )

Gober, P., K. L. Larson, R. Quay, C. Polsky, H. Chang and V. Shandas. 2013. Why land planners and water managers don't talk to one another and why they should!. Society and Natural Resources 26(3):356-364. DOI: 10.1080/08941920.2012.713448. (link )

Harris, E. M., D. G. Martin, C. Polsky, L. Denhardt and L. D. Nehring. 2013. Beyond "Lawn People": The role of emotions in suburban yard management practices. The Professional Geographer 65(2):345-361. DOI: 10.1080/00330124.2012.681586. (link )

Larson, K. L., C. Polsky, P. Gober, H. Chang and V. Shandas. 2013. Vulnerability of water systems to the effects of climate change and urbanization: A comparison of Phoenix, Arizona and Portland, Oregon (USA). Environmental Management 52(1):179-195. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-013-0072-2. (link )

Runfola, D. M., C. Polsky, C. Nicolson, N. M. Giner, R. G. Pontius Jr and A. Decatur. 2013. A growing concern? Examining the influence of lawn size on residential water use in suburban Boston, MA. Landscape and Urban Planning 119:113-123. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.07.006. (link )

2012

Harris, E. M., C. Polsky, K. L. Larson, R. Garvoille, D. G. Martin, J. Brumand and L. A. Ogden. 2012. Heterogeneity in residential yard care: Evidence from Boston, Miami, and Phoenix. Human Ecology 40(5):735-749. DOI: 10.1007/s10745-012-9514-3. (link )

Book Chapters

2017

Polsky, C. 2017. Climate and Societal Impacts. In: Richardson, D., N. Castree, M. F. Goodchild, A. Kobayashi, W. Liu and R. A. Marston eds., The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology. Wiley-AAG. New York. ISBN: 978-0-470-65963-2.

2013

Runfola, D. M., C. Polsky, N. M. Giner, R. G. Pontius Jr and C. Nicolson. 2013. Future Suburban Development and the Environmental Implications of Lawns: A Case Study in New England, USA. Pp. 119-141 Modeling of Land-Use and Ecological Dynamics. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Runfola, D. M., C. Polsky, N. Giner, R. G. Pontius Jr and C. Nicolson. 2013. Future suburban development and the environmental implications of lawns: A case study in New England, USA. Pp. 119-141 In: Malkinson, D., D. Czamanski and I. Benenson eds., Modeling of Land-Use and Ecological Dynamics:Cities and Nature. Springer. New York.

Posters

2014

Hall, S. J., J. K. Learned, B. Ruddell, K. L. Larson, J. Cavender-Bares, N. D. Bettez, P. M. Groffman, J. M. Grove, J. Heffernan, S. E. Hobbie, J. L. Morse, C. Neill, K. C. Nelson, J. O'Neil-Dunne, L. A. Ogden, D. E. Pataki, W. D. Pearse, C. Polsky, R. Roy Chowdhury and M. K. Steele. 2014. Convergence of microclimate across diverse cities in the US. Poster presented at the From Oceans to Mountains, 99th Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, 10-15 August 2014, Sacramento, California. (link )

2013

Warren, P. S., C. Nicolson, M. Stohbach, R. L. Ryan, C. Polsky, C. Chen, R. Danford and V. Wolff. 2013. Quantifying effects of urban growth and urban greening – preliminary results from a stakeholder-driven scenario analysis. Poster presented at the 11 January 2013, 15th Annual CAP LTER Poster Symposium and All Scientist Meeting 2013, Skysong, Scottsdale, AZ. (link )

Presentations

2015

Hall, S. J., J. K. Learned, B. L. Ruddell, K. L. Larson, J. Cavender-Bares, N. Bettez, P. M. Groffman, M. Grove, J. B. Heffernan, S. E. Hobbie, J. L. Morse, C. Neill, K. C. Nelson, J. O'Neil-Dunne, L. A. Ogden, D. E. Pataki, W. Pearse, C. Polsky, R. Roy Chowdhury, M. K. Steele and T. L. Trammell. 2015. Are cities the same everywhere? Testing homogeneity of human-dominated ecosystems at continental scales. Presentation at the Ecological Science at the Frontier: Celebrating the ESA Centennial 1915-2015, 9-14 August 2015, Baltimore, Maryland. (link )

Polsky, C. 2015. Using a sustainability science frame to advance ecosystem restoration. Presentation at the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (GEER) Annual Conference, April 21-23, 2015, Coral Springs, FL.

2014

Hall, S. J., J. K. Learned, B. L. Ruddell, K. L. Larson, J. Cavender-Bares, N. D. Bettez, P. M. Groffman, J. M. Grove, J. B. Heffernan, S. E. Hobbie, J. L. Morse, C. Neill, K. C. Nelson, J. O'Neil-Dunne, L. A. Ogden, D. E. Pataki, W. D. Pearse, C. Polsky, R. Roy Chowdhury and M. K. Steele. 2014. Convergence of microclimate across diverse cities in the US. Presentation at the From Oceans to Mountains, 99th Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, 10-14 August 2014, Sacramento, California. (link )

Pearse, W. D., J. Cavender-Bares, S. E. Hobbie, N. D. Bettez, L. Darling, C. Neill, P. M. Groffman, S. J. Hall, J. B. Heffernan, K. L. Larson, J. L. Morse, K. C. Nelson, J. O'Neil-Dunne, D. E. Pataki, C. Polsky, R. Roy Chowdhury and M. K. Steele. 2014. Homogenization of plant diversity in six major USA cites: Integrating socio-economic, environmental, and phylogenetic information. Presentation at the From Oceans to Mountains, 99th Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, 10-15 August 2014, Sacramento, California. (link )

Polsky, C. 2014. At what scales should sustainability be examined, acted upon, or evaluated?. Presentation at the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, April 8-12, 2014, Tampa, FL. Invited panelist for panel discussion.

Polsky, C. 2014. CES and sustainability science. Presentation at the Florida Atlantic University Department of Geosciences, October 17, 2014 , Boca Raton, FL.

Polsky, C. 2014. Climate-society research: two analytical approaches, illustrated across multiple scales and sectors. Presentation at the Center for Environmental Studies, Florida Atlantic University, May 27, 2014, Boca Raton, FL. Invited presentation.

Polsky, C. 2014. Is urbanization homogenizing lawncare? Comparing U.S. fertilizing and irrigation practices across social and biophysical gradients. Presentation at the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, April 8-12, 2014, Tampa, FL.

2013

Krahe, J., C. Polsky, R. Quay and P. Johnston. 2013. Understanding residential water use: The influence of weather, lawn size, and price. Paper presented April 13, 2013 at the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, April 9-13, 2013, Los Angeles, CA.

Polsky, C. 2013. Environmental spatial social science and urban planning: Towards a U.S. inventory of climate vulnerabilities. Invited presentation to the Department of Urban & Regional Planning, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, March 5, 2013.

Polsky, C. 2013. Global change and adaptation. Panel discussion as part of the Earth Transformed, 25 Years On: Climate-Society Studies, Earth Transformed + 25 Commemorative Celebration, April 2, 2013, Clark University, Worcester, MA.

Polsky, C. 2013. Global change and the ‘Human Dimensions’: Multi-scale homogenization and lawncare in 6 Cities. Presentation at the Annual Meeting of NESTVAL-AAG, October 18, 2013, Worcester, MA.

Polsky, C. 2013. Implications of urban homogenization for U.S. climate vulnerabilities. Presentation at the Department of Geography (invited), June 3, 2013, University of Connecticut.

Polsky, C., J. Grove, C. Knudson, K. L. Larson, P. Ogden and R. Roy Chowdhury. 2013. Lawn care practices and motivations: A social and biogeochemical study of six US metropolitan areas. Paper presented April 12, 2013 at the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, April 9-13, 2013, Los Angeles, CA.

2012

Polsky, C. 2012. Lawns as a focus of sustainability science. Invited presentation on May 16, 2011, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.

Polsky, C. 2012. Vulnerability in coastal LTER research. Invited presentation at the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network's 2012 All Scientists Meeting, September 10-13, 2012, Estes Park, Colorado.

Polsky, C., P. S. Warren, C. L. Ryan, C. Nicolson and E. Strauss. 2012. Urban ecology in greater Boston: Integrating observations, perceptions and needs in an ULTRA-ex project. Presented February 25, 2012 at the AAG 2012 Annual Meeting, New York, NY, February 24-28, 2012.

2011

Polsky, C., J. Grove, K. L. Larson, P. Ogden, J. Fraser, J. Harris, J. S. Martin, R. Garvoille, J. Sayles and N. Vaughn. 2011. Landscape and social ecologies of suburbanization: Why our landscapes are the way they are. Presented April 12, 2011 at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Seattle, WA.

Polsky, C., M. Grove, K. L. Larson, L. A. Ogden, J. Fraser, E. M. Harris, D. G. Martin, R. Garvoille, J. Sayles and N. Vaughn. 2011. Landscape and social ecologies of suburbanization: what is on our residential landscapes?. Presentation at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, 12-16 April 2011, Seattle, WA.

Roy Chowdhury, R., A. Decatur, J. Grove, J. Harris, K. L. Larson, J. S. Martin, J. Oneil-Dunne, P. Ogden, C. Polsky and N. Vaughn. 2011. Landscape and social ecologies of suburbanization: What is on our residential landscapes?. Presented April 12, 2011 at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Seattle, WA.

2009

Grove, M., C. Polsky, L. A. Ogden, R. Roy Chowdhury, T. Gragson, K. L. Larson and C. G. Boone. 2009. Recent advances and opportunities for urban long-term ecological research: Theory, data, and methods. Working group at 14-16 September 2009 LTER All Scientist Meeting, Integrating Science and Society in a World of Constant Change, Estes Park, CO.

Larson, K. L., L. A. Ogden, M. Grove, R. Roy Chowdhury and C. Polsky. 2009. How is urbanization making America socially and ecologically homogeneous?. Estes Park, CO. Working group organizers report presented at 14-16 September 20009 LTER All Scientists Meeting, Integrating Science and Society in a World of Constant Change.

Reports

2009

Larson, K. L., E. M. Cook, M. Grove, C. Polsky, R. Roy Chowdhury, P. Ogden, N. B. Grimm, P. M. Groffman, J. Harrington and J. Zimmerman. 2009. Investigating the social-ecological dynamics of residential landscapes: Insights from a multi-site collaborative workshop. Final report from LTER Workshop, February 18-19, 2009, Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University.