• Timon McPhearson

    Associate Professor of Urban Ecology & Director of the Urban Systems Lab


    Dr. Timon McPhearson is Associate Professor of Urban Ecology, Director of the Urban Systems Lab, and research faculty at the Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School. He is also a Research Fellow at The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and Associate Research Fellow at Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University. He studies the ecology in, of, and for cities to advance resilience, sustainability, and justice. He publishes in scientific journals such as Nature, Nature Climate Change, and BioScience, in books (e.g. Urban Planet, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press), and in popular press (e.g. The Nature of Cities). He co-leads the U.S. National Science Foundation “Urban Resilience to Extreme Weather Related Events” Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN) in the US and Latin America and teaches courses on urban resilience, urban social-ecological-technological systems, and urban green infrastructure. His work is read and covered widely including in The Guardian, The New York Times, The Nation, and more.


    Degrees Held:

    PhD, Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, Rutgers University, 2004

    B.S., Environmental Biology, Taylor University, 1997

    Professional Affiliations:

    • NYC Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, Urban Heat Island Task Force
    • USDA Forest Service, STEW-MAP Project
    • Future Earth, Urban Knowledge Action Network (UKAN), Core Development Team
    • Quantified Planet, Scientific Advisor
    • Natural Areas Conservancy, New York, NY
    • Future Earth Integration with Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
    • Urban Biosphere (URBIS) Initiative, in partnership with ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability), United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), UNESCO, and UNHABITAT
    • PlaNYC MillionTreesNYC Research and Evaluation Committee, New York, NY
    • Urban Assembly School for Green Careers, New York, NY
    • Earth School, Something Good in the World, Croton-on-Hudson, NY

    Recent Publications:


    Elmqvist, T., Bai. X., Frantzeskaki, N., Griffith, C., Maddox, D., McPhearson, T., Parnell, S., Romero-Lankao, P., Simon, D., Watkins, M (eds). 2017. “Urban Planet.” Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9781107196933, Forthcoming

    Alberti, Marina, Timon McPhearson, and Andrew Gonzalez. 2017. “Embracing urban complexity,” in Elmqvist, T. et al (eds), Urban Planet, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press

    Bai, Xuemei, Thomas Elmqvist, Niki Frantzeskaki, Timon McPhearson, et al. 2017. “New integrated urban knowledge for the cities we want,” in Elmqvist, T. et al (eds), Urban Planet, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press

    Pereira, Laura M., Elena Bennett, Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs, Garry Peterson, Timon McPhearson, Albert Norström, Per Olsson, Rika Preiser, Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne, Joost Vervoort. 2017. “Seeds of the future found in the present,” in Elmqvist, T. et al (eds), Urban Planet, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press

    McPhearson, Timon, Madhav Karki, Cecilia Herzog, Helen Santiago Fink, Luc Abbadie, Peleg Kremer, Christopher M. Clark, Matthew I. Palmer, Katia Perini, and Marielle Dubbeling. 2017. “Urban Ecosystems and Biodiversity.” In Cynthia Rozensweig, William Solecki, et al. Eds, Urban Climate Change Research Network Second Assessment Report on Climate Change in Cities (ARC3-2), forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

    McPhearson, Timon and Katinka Wijsman. 2017. “Transitioning Complex Urban Systems: An Urban Ecology Approach to Urban Sustainability Transitions”. In Urban Sustainability Transitions (eds. Dirk Loorbach, Niki Frantzeskaki, et al.), forthcoming from Springer.

    Depietri, Yaella and Timon McPhearson. 2017. “Integrating the grey, green, and blue in cities: Nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation and risk reduction,” in Kabisch, N., Korn, H., Stadler, J., Bonn, A. (Eds), Nature-based Solutions to Climate Change in Urban Areas: Linkages Between Science, Policy, and Practice, Springer.

    Erik Andersson, Sara Borgström, Timon McPhearson. 2017. “Double insurance in dealing with extremes – Ecological and social factors for making nature based solutions last,” in Nadja Kabisch et al., Eds, Nature-based Solutions to Climate Change in Urban Areas, forthcoming from Springer.

    Cole, Laura, Timon McPhearson, Cecilia Herzog, and Alex Kudryavtsev.  2017. “Urban Green Infrastructure,” in A. Kudryavtsev and M. Krasny, Eds, Urban Environmental Education Review, forthcoming from Cornell University Press.

    Bai, Xuemei, Timon McPhearson, Helen Cleugh, Harini Nagendra, Xin Tong, Tong Zhu, Yong-Guan Zhu. 2017. “Understanding Urban-Environmental Linkages: Conceptual and Empirical Advances.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources, DOI: 10.1146/annurev-environ-102016-061128

    McPhearson, Timon, David Iwaniec, and Xuemei Bai. 2017. “Positives visions for guiding transformations toward desirable urban futures.”  Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability (Special Issue), 22:33–40 DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2017.04.004

    Romero-Lankao, Patricia, Timon McPhearson, and Debra J. Davidson. 2017. “The food-energy-water nexus and urban complexity.” Nature Climate Change, 7:233-235, doi:10.1038/nclimate3260

    Gittleman, Mara, Carson Famer, Peleg Kremer, and Timon McPhearson, Peleg Kremer, and Carson Farmer. 2017. “Estimating Stormwater Runoff for Community Gardens in New York City.” Urban Ecosystems, DOI 10.1007/s11252-016-0575-8

    McPhearson, Timon, Sue Parnell, David Simon, Owen Gaffney, Thomas Elmqvist, Xuemei Bai, Debra Roberts, Aromar Revi. 2016. “Scientists must have a say in the future of cities.” Nature, 538:165-166.

    Groffman, Peter, Cadenasso, Mary, Cavender-Bares, Jeannine, Childers, Daniel, Grimm, Nancy, Grove, Morgan, Hobbie, Sarah, Hutyra, Lucy, Jenerette, Darrel, McPhearson, Timon, Pataki, Diane, Pickett, Steward, Pouyat, Richard, Rosi-Marshall, Emma, Ruddell, Benjamin. 2016. “Moving toward an Urban Systems Science.” Ecosystems, DOI: 10.1007/s10021-016-0053-4

    Bennett, E.M., M. Solan, R. Biggs, T. McPhearson, A. Norstrom, P. Olsson, L. Pereira, G.D. Peterson, C. Raudsepp-Hearne, F. Biermann, S. R. Carpenter, E. Ellis, T. Hichert, V. Galaz, M. Lahsen, M. Milkoreit, B. Martin-Lopez, K. A. Nicholas, R. Preiser, G. Vince, J. Vervoort, J. Xu. 2016. “Bright Spots: Seeds of a Good Anthropocene.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 14(8): 441–448, doi:10.1002/fee.1309

    Larondelle, Neele, Dagmar Haase, Zoé A. Hamstead, Peleg Kremer und Timon McPhearson. 2016. “Eine neue Stadtstrukturklassifikation zur Analy- se der Beziehung zwischen ökologischer Funk- tion, Bebauung und Bodenbedeckungsstruktur: Eine vergleichende Studie von Berlin und New York City.” Stadtforschung Und Statistik 2:65-77.

    McPhearson, Timon, Dagmar Haase, Nadja Kabisch, Åsa Gren. 2016. “Advancing understanding of the complex nature of urban systems.” Ecological Indicators 70: 566–573,

    Frantzeskaki, Niki, Nadja Kabisch and Timon McPhearson. 2016. “Advancing urban environmental governance: Understanding theories, practices and processes shaping urban sustainability and resilience.” Environmental Science and Policy (Special Issue), 62:1-6,

    Kremer, Peleg, Zoé A. Hamstead, and Timon McPhearson.  2016. “The Value of Urban Ecosystem Services: A Spatially Explicit Multicriteria Analysis of Landscape Scale Valuation Scenarios in NYC.” Environmental Science and Policy (Special Issue),

    McPhearson, Timon, S.T.A. Pickett, N. Grimm, J. Niemelä, M. Alberti, T. Elmqvist, C. Weber, D. Haase, J. Breuste, and S. Qureshi.  2016. "Advancing Urban Ecology Toward a Science of Cities." BioScience 66(3):198-212, doi: 10.1093/biosci/biw002.

    Kremer, Peleg, Zoé Hamstead, Dagmar Haase, Timon McPhearson, Niki Frantzeskaki, Erik Andersson, Nadja Kabisch, Neele Larondelle, Emily Lorance Rall,Gina Avlonitis, Christine Bertram, Francesc Baró, Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Asa Gren, Rieke Hansen, Anna Kaczorowska, Jaan-Henrik Kain, Jakub Kronenberg, Johannes Langemeyer, Pamela Muehlmann, Stephan Pauleit, Katrin Rehdanz, Maria Schewenius, Chantal van Ham, Annette Voigt, Daniel Wurster, Thomas Elmqvist. 2016. “Key insights for the future of urban ecosystem services research.” Ecology and Society, 21(2):29

    Hamstead, Zoé A., Neele Larondelle, Peleg Kremer, Timon McPhearson, and Dagmar Haase. 2015. “Classification of the heterogeneous structure of urban landscapes (STURLA) as an indicator of landscape function applied to surface temperature in New York City.” Ecological Indicators (Special Issue) 70 (2016) 574–585,

    McHale, Melissa R., Steward TA Pickett, Olga Barbosa, David N Bunn, Mary L Cadenasso, Daniel L Childers, Meredith Gartin, George Hess, David M Iwaniec, Timon McPhearson, M. Nils Peterson, Alexandria K. Poole, Louie Rivers III, Shade T Shutters, Weiqi Zhou. 2015. “The New Global Urban Realm: Complex, Connected, Diffuse, and Diverse Social-Ecological Systems.” Sustainability (Special Issue) 7: 5211-5240, doi:10.3390/su7055211

    McPhearson, Timon, Erik Andersson, Thomas Elmqvist, and Niki Frantzeskaki. 2015. “Resilience Of and Through Urban Ecosystem Services,“ Ecosystem Services (Special Issue) 12:152-156, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.07.012

    Kremer, Peleg, Erik Andersson, Timon McPhearson, and Thomas Elmqvist. 2015. “Advancing the Frontier of Urban Ecosystem Services Research.” Ecosystem Services (Special Issue),

    Andersson, Erik, Timon McPhearson, Peleg Kremer, Erik Gomez-Baggethun, Dagmar Haase, Magnus Tuvendal, and Daniel Wurster. 2015. “Scale and Context Dependence of Ecosystem Service Providing Units.“  Ecosystem Services (Special Issue),

    Hansen, Rieke, Niki Frantzeskaki, Timon McPhearson, Emily Rall, Nadja Kabisch Anna Kaczorowska, Jaan-Henrik Kain, Martina Artmann, and Stephan Pauleit. 2015. “The uptake of the ecosystem services concept in planning discourses of European and American cities.” Ecosystem Services (Special Issue), doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.11.013

    Andersson, E., Maria Tengö, Timon McPhearson and Peleg Kremer. 2015. “Cultural Ecosystem Services as a Platform for Working Towards Urban Sustainability.” Ecosystem Services (Special Issue), DOI

    Larondelle, Neele, Hamstead, Zoé A., Peleg Kremer, Dagmar Haase, and Timon McPhearson. 2014. “Applying a novel urban structure classification to compare the relationships of urban structure and surface temperature in Berlin and New York City.” Applied Geography, 53: 427-437.

    McPhearson, Timon, Zoé Hamstead, and Peleg Kremer. 2014. “Urban Ecosystem Services for Resilience Planning and Management in New York City.” AMBIO: Journal of the Human Environment (Special Issue) 43:502–515
DOI 10.1007/s13280-014-0509-8

    Haase, Dagmar, Neele Larondelle, Erik Andersson, Martina Artmann, Sarah Borgström, Jürgen Breuste, Erik Gomez-Baggethun, Ǻsa Gren, Zoé Hamstead, Rieke Hansen, Nadja Kabisch, Peleg Kremer, Johannes Langemeyer, Emily Lorance Rall, Timon McPhearson, Stephan Pauleit, Salman Qureshi, Nina Schwarz, Annette Voigt, Daniel Wurster, and Thomas Elmqvist.  2014. “A Quantitative Review of Urban Ecosystem Services Assessments: Concepts, Models, and Implementation.” AMBIO (Special Issue), 43:413–433, 
DOI 10.1007/s13280-014-0504-0

    Schewenius, Maria, Timon McPhearson, and Thomas Elmqvist. 2014. “Opportunities for Increasing Resilience and Sustainability of Urban Social–Ecological Systems: Insights from the URBES and the Cities Biodiversity Outlook Projects.” AMBIO (Special Issue), 43:434-444,
DOI 10.1007/s13280-014-0505-z

    Falxa-Raymond, Nancy, Matthew I. Palmer, Timon McPhearson, and Kevin Griffith. 2014. “Foliar Nitrogen Characteristics of Four Tree Species Planted in New York City Forest Restoration Sites.” Urban Ecosystems (2014): 1-18,

    McPhearson, Timon, Peleg Kremer, and Zoé Hamstead. 2013. “Mapping Ecosystem Services in New York City: Applying a Social-Ecological Approach in Urban Vacant Land.” Ecosystem Services 11-26,

    Kremer, Peleg, Zoé Hamstead, and Timon McPhearson. 2013. “A Social-Ecological Assessment of Vacant Lots in New York City.” Landscape and Urban Planning 218-233,

    Crossman, Neville, Benjamin Burkhard, Stoyan Nedkov, Louise Willemen, Katalin Petz, Ignacio Palomo, Evangelia G. Drakou, Berta Martín-Lopez, Timon McPhearson, Kremena Boyanova, Rob Alkemade, Benis Egoh, Martha Dunbar, Joachim Maes. 2013. “A blueprint for mapping and modelling ecosystem services.” Ecosystem Services 44-14.

    Performances And Appearances:


    McPhearson, Timon*. 2017. “Resilient Cities, Livable Futures,” Keynote and panel moderator with Dan Zarrilli, Cecil Corbin-Mark, Jennifer Bolstad, and Walter Meyer for “Resilient Cities, Livable Futures” Urban Resilience to Weather-related Extremes Sustainability Research Network, The New School, New York, NY.

    McPhearson, Timon*. 2017. “A social-ecological-technical systems approach to urban ecosystem services.” The Nature Conservancy Long Island, Cold Springs Harbor, NY.

    McPhearson, Timon*. 2017. Identifying locations for “cool corridors” to reduce heat vulnerability in NYC.” NYC Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency and NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation, City Hall, New York, NY.

    McPhearson, Timon*. 2017. “A social-ecological-technical systems approach to urban ecosystem services.” UPMC, CNRS, Sorbonne, Paris, France.

    McPhearson, Timon*. 2017. A SETS approach to Modeling Urban Futures.” Urban Resilience to Weather-related Extremes Sustainability Research Network (URExSRN), Scenarios Workshop, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    McPhearson, Timon*. 2017. “Drivers of and Solutions to Heat Impacts in NYC.” NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Health (DOHMH), New York, NY.

    McPhearson, Timon*. 2016. “Urban systems, SDGs, and Big Data.” Quantified Planet, Keynote presentation, Presidio, San Francisco, CA.

    McPhearson, Timon*. 2016. The NYC Team Update.” Urban Resilience to Weather-related Extremes Sustainability Research Network (URExSRN), Scenarios Workshop, Phoenix, AZ.

    McPhearson, Timon*. 2016. “Urban Acceleration and Climate Resilience: Leveraging Ecosystems for Equity, Resilience, and Sustainability.” Oikos NYC, The New School, New York, NY.

    McPhearson, Timon*. 2016. “The role of science in the New Urban Agenda.” UN Habitat III, HabitatXChange, Quito, Ecuador.

    McPhearson, Timon*. 2016. “Linking knowledge to policy: How can the scientific community contribute to the New Urban Agenda after Quito?” UN Habitat III, HabitatXChange, Quito, Ecuador.

    McPhearson, Timon*. 2016. “Building Urban Resilience to Extreme Events: Lessons Across Cultures.” UN Habitat III, HabitatXChange, Quito, Ecuador.

    McPhearson, Timon*. 2016. “Urban Planet: Book Launch.” UN Habitat III, HabitatXChange, Quito, Ecuador.

    McPhearson, Timon*. 2016. “Nature-based solutions for cities: Leveraging urban ecosystems for improving equity, resilience, and sustainability.” EDF Alliance (Keynote), Columbia University, New York, NY.

    Depietri, Yaella*, Timon McPhearson, and Khila Dahal. 2017. “Multi-hazard risk assessment in a coastal megacity: Identifying hotspots for ecosystem based climate adaptation in New York City.” Association of American Geographers, Annual Conference, Boston, MA.

    Depietri, Yaella, and Timon McPhearson. 2017. "The Hazardscape of New York City: 140 years of hydro-meteorological hazards affecting infrastructures in the city". Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Infrastructure History and the Social Sciences, New York University, Paris, France.

    Donahue, Marie*, Bonnie L. Keeler, Spencer A. Wood, David Fisher, Zoé A. Hamstead, Timon McPhearson. 2016. “Using social media to Assess urban park visitation and Recreation Services.” ACES Annual Conference, Florida.

    Hamstead, Zoé*, Carson Farmer, and Timon McPhearson. 2016. Using remote sensing and social data to link heat exposure and susceptibility in New York City, Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

    Hölscher, Katharina*, Niki Frantzeskaki, Timon McPhearson, Derk Loorbach. 2016. "Tackling high-end climate change as transformation challenge: capacities for transformative climate governance in New York City", Urban Transitions Global Summit, Shanghai, China.

    Hölscher, Katharina*, Niki Frantzeskaki, Timon McPhearson, Derk Loorbach. 2016. "Capacities for transformative climate governance in New York City", INOGOV workshop on ‘Innovative urban governance for mitigation and adaptation: Mapping, exploring and interrogating,” Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    Hölscher, Katharina*, Niki Frantzeskaki, Timon McPhearson, and Derk Loorbach. 2016.  "Capacities for transformative climate governance in Rotterdam and New York City." Adaptation Futures Conference, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

    Research Interests:

    Urban ecosystems, social-ecological systems, resilience, social equity, urban planning, sustainability, biodiversity conservation, urban forestry

    Awards And Honors:

    Distinguished University Teaching Award, The New School, New York, 2017

    Civic Liberal Arts Sustaining Partnerships Residency, Eugene Lang College, The New School, $10,000, 2017

    Enabling green-blue infrastructure in complex social-ecological regions - system solutions to wicked problems (ENABLE), Biodiversa and European Commission, PI Erik Andersson, Co-PI Timon McPhearson. 2017. Funded: $3,000,000.

    Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN), National Science Foundation, PI Charles Redman, Co-PI Timon McPhearson with others. 2015. Funded: $12,000,000.

    Visiting Research Fellow, Stockholm Resilience Center, Stockholm University, Sweden, 2014

    What is urban? - Global urbanization as viewed from multiple scientific domains, Future Earth, Urban Cluster, PI Thomas Elmqvist, Co-PI Timon McPhearson with others. 2014. Funded: $75,000.

    Bright Spots: Seeds of a Good Anthropocene, Future Earth, Fast-track Initiative, PI Elena Bennett, Co-PI Timon McPhearson with others. 2014. Funded: $75,000.

    Scientific Support for the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Knowledge Generation, Future Earth, Cluster, PI Paul Leadley, Co-PI Timon McPhearson with others. 2014. Funded: $100,000.

    Global Biodiversity Monitoring, Prediction and Reporting, Future Earth, Urban Cluster, PI Walter Jetz, Co-PI Timon McPhearson with others. 2014. Funded: $100,000.

    Modeling the economic value of urban green infrastructure with Urban InVEST: A model design and development framework, Natural Areas Conservancy, Timon McPhearson, PI, Tishman Environment and Design Center, The New School, 2014.  Funded: $24,196.

    Turning Vacant Acres into community Resources, NSPE Civic Engagement Fund, PI Timon McPhearson. 2014. Funded: $6000.

    Soil-Vegetation Dynamics and Tree Growth and Survivorship Outcomes of MillionTreesNYC Forest Restoration in New York City Parkland, Eppley Foundation for Research, Timon McPhearson, PI, Tishman Environment and Design Center, The New School, 2013.  Funded: $25,500.

    Urban Ecology Field Experience, Civic Engagement Fund Grant, P. Timon McPhearson, PI, Tishman Environment and Design Center, The New School for Public Engagement, 2011.  Funded: $10,000.


    Current Courses:

    Green Roof Ecology

    Urban Resilience (Spring 2021)