RESEARCH Affiliates

john John Renne, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Urban and  Environmental Solutions, and Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
(561) 297-4281 

Dr. Renne is a globally recognized expert in Transit Oriented Development (TOD), including sustainable and resilient cities, with a focus on land use and transportation planning and policy. He is an expert in evacuation planning and coined the term “carless evacuation” in 2005. Dr. Renne played a leadership role in the disaster recovery of New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina.
Dr. Renne is experienced in real estate development. He is the founder of the TOD Group and the TOD Index. Dr. Renne is a co-founder of the National Evacuation Conference. He is the Chair of the Transportation and Land Development Committee of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies and he is the chair of the Mobility Committee of the Urban Land Institute’s Southeast Florida and Caribbean District Council.

In addition to his role as Associate Professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning, where he coordinates the undergraduate programs, he is also an Honorary Research Associate at the Transport Studies Unit in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford.

CUES Faculty Affiliates 


Cassandra A. Atkin-Plunk, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
School of Criminology & Criminal Justice
(561) 297-3928

Dr. Atkin-Plunk's research interests span both institutional and community corrections with an emphasis on contemporary issues in corrections, including problem-solving courts and the reentry and reintegration of offenders. Her research focuses on evidence-based practices and program evaluations in an effort to identify what works in corrections. Her work has been published in Criminal Justice and Behavior, Journal of Criminal Justice, and Criminal Justice Policy Review.


Lilah M. Besser, Ph.D., MSPH
Assistant Professor
Department of Urban & Regional Planning
(561) 297-0614 

Dr. Besser is an Assistant Professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning and in the Institute for Healthy Aging and Lifespan Studies at Florida Atlantic University. Her current research is primarily focused on the intersection between neighborhoods, the built environment, aging, and health.

fred Fred Bloetscher, Ph.D 
Associate Dean,
Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatics Engineering
(561) 297-0744

Dr. Bloetscher's research includes water resource issues associated with waste disposal, including injection wells, membrane concentrate management, water resource management, utility finance and management, water conservation practices, wastewater disposal practice risk assessments, endocrine disruptor impacts and nutrient impacts in the coastal water of SE Florida.

steve Steven C. Bourassa, Ph.D
Henry D. Epstein Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, Director, School of Public Administration and Department of Urban & Regional Planning, and Program Coordinator, Master of Urban and Regional Planning
(561) 297-4279

Dr. Bourassa has served as Director of FAU's Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the School of Public Administration since 2015. He has earned international honors in the field of real estate and served multiple chairmanships, editorial and faculty positions in the US, Australia and New Zealand. House prices, housing tenure, land tenure, and property taxes are among the main subjects of his research.

chava Jyothi Chava
Affiliated Scholar

Dr. Chava's research focuses on using advanced data science in the fields of transportation and real estate. She analyzes hidden patterns and trends to predict the future and to narrate the stories. She obtained knowledge in various data analytical techniques, programming languages, machine learning algorithms and statistical tools along with various transportation planning packages. One current project is predicting the change in land and rental values and socioeconomic profile of residents around transit station areas, improving public transit reliability using ticketing data.

v Vaughn Crichlow, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
School of Criminology & Criminal Justice
(561) 297-4171

Dr. Crichlow's research is focused on international and cross-cultural comparisons in communities and crime, policing and private security. He has also published research on crime and deviance theories.

lisa Lisa Dario, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
School of Criminology & Criminal Justice
(561) 297-3244

Dr. Dario's research interests revolve around a variety of contemporary topics in policing, including problem-oriented strategies, police technology, and a current focus on police officer line of duty deaths.

seth Seth Fallik, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
School of Criminology & Criminal Justice
(561) 297-4287

Dr. Fallik's research interests include officer decision-making and criminal investigations. Much of this research involves original data collection from ongoing researcher-practitioner collaborations. His research has been published in the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice and Criminal Justice Policy Review. Dr. Fallik teaches courses on Criminology, Methods of Research, and Policing in America.

huber Jeffrey E. Huber, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP
Assistant Professor
School of Architecture
(954) 762-5654 

Dr. Huber's work focuses on interdisciplinary public work projects that combine ecological, landscape, urban, and architectural design. He is currently researching issues of sea level rise in south Florida and has established over a quarter of a million dollars in grant funding in that effort through the National Endowment of the Arts and Florida Sea Grant programs.

yanmei Yanmei Li, Ph.D., AICP
Associate Professor
Department of Urban & Regional Planning
(561) 297-4279

Dr. Li’s research focuses on housing and community development, and real estate and urban economics. She is very interested in policies related to affordable housing, sustainable community development, housing programs for people with special needs, and disaster adaptation and mitigation policies related to housing. She currently conducts research on community social capital and its planning implications, spatial patterns of second homes, and applied planning methods.

merlin Louis Merlin, Ph.D., AICP
Assistant Professor,
Department of Urban & Regional Planning
(561) 297-4166

Dr. Merlin’s current research concerns how to better integrate transportation and land use through the development of accessibility-based performance measures and tools, as well as the implications of self-driving cars for the transportation sustainability.

mitz Diana Mitzova, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Director, Visual Planning Technology Lab
Department of Urban & Regional Planning

Affiliate Associate Professor in the Department of Geosciences
(561) 297-4285 

Dr. Mitsova’s research focuses on the use of geographic information systems, spatial and statistical analysis to conduct interdisciplinary research aimed at understanding the interactions between ecosystems and urban environments, and informing sustainable urban planning and environmental practices. Her collaborations include projects with USGS, the National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy, and the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.

colin Colin Polsky, Ph.D.
Professor of Geosciences, College of Science
Director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies
(954) 236-1104

Dr. Polsky serves as director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies (CES) with the vision of improving Florida's sustainability through research, education and outreach on wetlands ecology and coastal resilience. CES collaborates with CUES on the FAU Incubator for Sustainable & Resilient Communities.

sapat Alka Sapat, Ph.D.
Professor and Undergraduate Program Coordinator
School of Public Administration
(561) 297-0443 

Dr. Sapat's expertise encompasses disaster management, public policy processes, vulnerability and resilience assessment, and methodology. She has been involved in a number of initiatives including NSF funded projects on building code regulations, population displacement after disasters and implications for housing, the role of the NGOs in disaster recovery, and critical infrastructure resilience.

hank Hank Savitch, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
(502) 533-5465 

Professor Savitch is a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Washington, DC) and Emeritus Brown and Williamson Professor, University of Louisville. He is currently working on issues related to policy transfer across metropolitan jurisdictions and analyses of regional resilience in the wake of natural disasters.

josh Josh Sawislak, AICP
Affiliate Professional
(703) 981-9424
Curriculum Vitae

Mr. Sawislak is an internationally recognized expert on climate and disaster resilience and sustainable development. He advises governments, corporations, international organizations, and NGOs on policy, implementation, and financial issues around building sustainable and resilient infrastructure in both the developed and developing world.

sloas Lincoln B. Sloas, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
School of Criminology & Criminal Justice
(561) 297-3243 

Dr. Sloas' research interests include how offenders navigate both substance abuse and mental health treatment services in community-based settings. Specifically, he is interested in how offenders initiate and engage in treatment services.

CUES Staff and Graduate Students

serena Serena Hoermann, MBA
Assistant Director, CUES
Ph.D Student, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
(561) 297-4167

Serena Hoermann is CUES Assistant Director, administers the  FAU Partnership for Sustainable Communities  and is a doctoral student in public administration. She joined SURP/CUES in 2017 to support communications and community engagement efforts. One current project, the  Urban Stories Festival , uses storytelling to build community. In 2014-2016 she supported FAU's Florida Center for Environmental Studies (CES) as coordinator for the Florida Climate Institute.

jessica Jessica Kluttz
MURP Student

Jessica Kluttz is a MURP student with a Bachelor of Science degree in Urban Design with a minor in Architectural Studies from FAU. Currently, she is working with Dr. Bourassa and Dr. Besser as a graduate assistant on research pertaining to sea level rise and greenspace both in South Florida and throughout the United States. Previously, she interned with the Town of Lauderdale By the Sea in Development Services and in the Environmental Planning Department of Broward County. After graduation, she hopes to work towards local level sustainability through applying new urbanism principles in town planning

paulaPaula Lopez
MURP Student

Paula Lopez is a MURP student at FAU's Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. Currently, she is working with Dr. John Renne and Serena Hoermann, doing research on sea-level rise and transportation solutions for students. Paula is interested in environmental planning and sustainable development. Previously, Paula has worked with international communities in disaster relief projects and after graduation, she hopes to continue her work in this field, as well as helping local communities adopt new sustainable development policies. 


Hailey Vaughn,
MURP Student

Hailey Vaughn is a student in the MURP program at FAU. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology at Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri. Hailey is currently a graduate assistant working under Dr. Mitsova and Dr. Sapat, assisting with their research regarding hurricane preparedness and pandemic preparedness in the South Florida region. Hailey is interested in the intersection of public policy and the built environment. She hopes to contribute to neighborhood revitalization and fostering equitable communities.