Morgan Rogers

Morgan is a PhD student in Urban Planning, a Graduate Student Researcher with the Luskin Center of Innovation (LCI), and a NRT-INFEWS trainee. Her research falls within socio-environmental systems scholarship and uses a combination of geospatial, ecological modelling, and urban data science methods within an “Ecology for the City” framework. She uses these methods and framework to investigate the relationship between urban form, biodiversity and ecosystem service outcomes. This framework brings together urban ecology and design with an inclusive, iterative process involving a multitude of stakeholders to translate ‘knowledge-to-action’ for urban sustainability. She aims to work with policymakers and communities to enhance urban ecosystem health and climate change resilience through urban design.

At LCI she works on the Strategic Growth Council Climate Change Research Program funded project, “Micro-climate Zones: Designing Effective Outdoor Cooling Interventions”. The project uses community-engaged microclimate modeling approaches to evaluate heat mitigation strategies in Transformative Climate Communities and other communities in regions disproportionately burdened by rising temperatures. As a NRT-INFEWS trainee, she is researching urban design solutions that enhance ecosystem health and support biodiversity while providing co-benefits such as cooling neighborhoods and reducing energy costs.

Morgan has a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning with a focus on environmental analysis and policy from UCLA. Prior to coming to UCLA, she earned her B.A. from UCSB and worked in the field of environmental sustainability and policy for over six years. Her approach to environmental policy was grounded in two principles that she now carries over to her research: the importance of understanding biophysical processes to create effective interventions, and community engagement to ensure equitable access to environmental benefits.

V. Kelly Turner

V. Kelly Turner’s research addresses the relationship between institutions, urban design, and the environment through two interrelated questions: (1) How does urban design relate to ecosystem services in cities? and (2) To what extent do social institutions have the capacity to deliver those services? Her approach draws from social-ecological systems frameworks to address urban planning and design problem domains. In recent work she has used this approach to investigate microclimate regulation through New Urbanist design, water and biodiversity management through Homeowners Associations, and stormwater management through green infrastructure interventions.

Dr. Turner’s training is highly interdisciplinary. She received a Ph.D. in geography from the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University, where she was an IGERT Fellow in urban ecology. Her work is funded by the National Science Foundation and the interdisciplinary National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center. She recently chaired the Human Dimensions of Global Change specialty group of the American Association of Geographers. Dr. Turner deploys interdisciplinary pedagogy in the classroom and teaches courses in environmentalisms, urban sustainability, and urban ecology.


Ye, X., Turner, VK., and She, B. 2018. Automating land subdivision database cleaning and merging for neighborhood-scale urban analysis. International Journal of Digital Earth:

Turner, V.K. and Kaplan, DH. 2018. Geographic Perspectives on Urban Sustainability: Past, Current, and Future Research Trajectories. Urban Geography. Online:

Mapes, J., Kaplan, D., Turner, VK., and Willer, C. 2017. Building ‘College Town’: Economic Redevelopment and the Construction of Community. Local Economy, 32(7).

Turner, V.K. and Galletti, C. May 24, 2017. Addressing Climate Change through Design: A Land Systems Science Approach to Assessing Microclimate Regulation in New Urbanist Developments. Public Square: A CNU Journal. Available Online:

Turner, V.K. 2017. Developing Sustainable Cities: The Real Estate Rigidity Trap. Ecology and Society, 22(2):1.

Turner, V.K., Jarden, K.*, and Jefferson, A. 2016. Resident perspectives on green infrastructure in an experimental suburban stormwater management program. Cities & the Environment, 9(1): 4.

Turner, V.K. 2016. How do conventional master planning processes facilitate or constrain sustainable urbanism? An environmental management perspective. Society & Natural Resources, 29(12):1483-1500.

Shook, E. and Turner, V.K. 2016. The Socio-Environmental Data Explorer (SEDE): A Social Media Enhanced Decision Support System to Explore Risk Perception to Hazard Events. 2016. Cartography and GIS. DOI:10.1080/15230406.2015.1131627

Minn, M., Cutts, BB., Greenberg, JA., Fraterrigo, JM., and Turner, VK. 2015. Detection of Foreclosure-related Landscape Management Changes Using Landsat. Applied Geography, 62: 217-224.

Turner, V.K. and C.S. Galletti. 2015. Do sustainable urban designs generate more ecosystem services? A Case Study of Civano, Tucson, Arizona, USA. The Professional Geographer, 67(2):204-217.

Turner, V.K., K. Benessaiah, S. Warren, and D. Iwaneic. 2015. Essential Tensions in Interdisciplinary Environment-Society Research Centers. Higher Education, 70 (4):649-665.

Turner, V.K. 2014. Institutional Barriers to Sustainable Urban Development: A Case Study of Civano in Tucson, Arizona. Cities and the Environment, 7(2): 5.

Lerman, S.B., V.K. Turner, and C. Bang. 2012. Biodiversity in suburban developments: Homeowners Associations as a vehicle for promoting urban biodiversity. Ecology and Society, 17(4):45.

Turner, V.K. and D.C. Ibes. 2011. The Impact of Homeowners Associations on Residential Water Demand Management in Phoenix, AZ. Urban Geography, 32(8):1167-1188.

Elin, N. and V.K. Turner. 2010. Recycling the City: Darning Downtown Phoenix. Critical Planning, 17:155-173.