FSU geographers draw on both spatial and human-environment traditions to explain our rapidly changing world and develop relevant interventions. Common to our work are underlying concerns for sustainability and interdisciplinary thinking that combines social, ecological, physical, and economic knowledge. We apply a wide array of conceptual perspectives and methodological techniques to address problems of significant societal importance. Faculty and their students identify with one or more of five thematic clusters:
Cities and Urban Flows (Folch, Horner, Mesev, Yang)
FSU geographers focus on better understanding the processes that shape the growth and development of cities, at scales ranging from the individual to the region, with a particular emphasis on human and material movements and interactions across space and time. Themes of accessibility, social justice, and sustainability are explored in recent faculty research on topics such as urban land-use change, the jobs-housing balance, waste and sanitation, intra- and inter-metropolitan transportation and communications networks, the role of the city in fostering cultural identities, and the integration of environmental issues into urban geographic education.
Critical Geographies of Autonomy and Liberation (Wright, McCreary, Bledsoe)
The contemporary world is marked by long struggles by oppressed groups against entrenched forms of inequality. The subfield of critical geography analyzes the structures of domination and highlights how historically marginalized groups resist oppression, create spaces of autonomy, and fight for liberation. Our department particularly emphasizes the struggles of Black and Indigenous peoples against the legacies of colonialism and chattel slavery in the Americas. We demonstrate how the deep and enduring histories of white supremacy and settler colonialism continue to structure the lives of Black and Indigenous peoples. However, we stress that Black and Indigenous peoples retain agency and continue to produce spaces of autonomy, where liberatory desires can be fostered, where the descendants of enslaved and colonized populations can reassert their humanity, and where alternative forms of community relations can be remembered and reimagined.
Urban GIS and Remote Sensing (Folch, Horner, Mesev, Uejio, Yang, Zhao)
More than half of our department has an interest in the development of remote sensing and GIScience theories and technologies with respect to the study of the urban environment. We are interested in understanding the structure and evolution of cities, themes of space, time, and visualization. We use traditional maps as well as digital geospatial technologies and social media that enable new forms of visualization, and emerging qualitative GIS analytics. We are also engaged in broader environmental remote sensing as evidenced by recent local and international work in landscape change, natural hazard assessment, and environmental sustainability.
Climate Change, Risk and Society (Elsner, Lester, Pau, Uejio, Zhao, McCreary)
Climate change is poised to reconfigure relationships between people and the biophysical and built environments on which they depend. Our research addresses the physical processes that underpin climate change, as well as the impacts of climate change on households and communities, public health, local economies and natural habitats. Examples of recent work include quantifying the increasing intensity of the strongest tropical cyclones worldwide, examining the impact of coral bleaching on fishing and tourism, and investigating the effects of extreme heat events on U.S. neighborhoods and households.
Biodiversity, Conservation, and Management (Lester, Pau, McCreary)
The conservation and management of terrestrial and marine species and habitats are increasingly important because of rapid global change. FSU geographers work on understanding the distribution of species, communities, and habitats across space and time, the services they provide, and human impacts on natural systems with the aim of informing policy, management, and conservation priorities. Specific research topics include biogeography and macroecology, ecosystem service provisioning and tradeoffs, conservation planning, spatial management of natural resources, fisheries management, marine protected area, land-use land-cover change, tropical deforestation, phenology and climate change, and remote sensing of biodiversity.