USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute

Darren M. Ruddell

Darren M. Ruddell

Associate Professor (Teaching) of Spatial Sciences and Director of Graduate Studies

  • 2009: Ph.D., Geography, Arizona State University
  • 2005: M.S., Global Technology & Development, Arizona State University
  • 1999: B.A., Political Science, San Diego State University

Darren M. Ruddell, Ph.D., is associate professor (teaching) and director of graduate studies at the Spatial Sciences Institute of the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

The overarching focus of Ruddell’s research is climate and society, an expanding area in global change studies, which incorporates socioecological interactions across multiple scales of analysis. Ruddell is particularly interested in the dynamic relationship between human development and the modification of natural landscapes which are altering physical processes, as witnessed in rising global temperatures and urban heat islands (UHI), and the subsequent impacts that changing environmental systems pose on human health, well-being and urban sustainability. While a changing climate can offer more favorable conditions for human development, changes in natural processes have also been found to stress local social and systems.

Changes in climate not only present significantly different challenges to communities depending on geographic, economic and political contexts, but vulnerability to climate change is also tightly coupled with urban form which can help mitigate or exacerbate local impacts. Sustainable urban design (i.e., Geodesign) can simultaneously reduce the UHI effect, improve local air quality, revitalized ecosystem health and reduce fossil fuel dependency; all fundamental elements of a resilient city.

Ruddell teaches courses in the Spatial Sciences Institute undergraduate general education and GeoDesign programs as well as the GIST Graduate Programs. He has developed expertise in geographic information science and associated technologies to acquire, organize, analyze, model and visualize spatial data. As an educator, he seeks to help students develop the critical and spatial thinking skills required to effectively manage and deploy these technologies in diverse settings to produce spatially-informed and scientifically sound results. He has been on the forefront of developing curriculum and pedagogical approaches in the field of geodesign, a forward-thinking, interdisciplinary and iterative process that aims to build a better world by promoting harmony between human and ecological systems.

Ruddell currently serves as the chair of the USC Academic Senate Sustainability Committee which advances sustainability initiatives at USC. He has served as president of the Dornsife College Faculty Council. He also serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Sustainable Land Use and Urban Planning.

He is certified as a Geographic Information Science Professional (GISP) by the Geographic Information Science Certification Institute (GISCI).

Selected Works

VoPham, T., Bertran, K., Hart, J., Laden, F., Brooks, M., Yuan, J., Talbott, E., Ruddell, D., Chang, C. & Weissfeld, J., Pesticide exposure and liver cancer: a review. Cancer Causes and Control, 28, 177-190, 2017.

VoPham, T., Brooks, M.M., Yuan, J.M., Talbott, E.O., Ruddell, D., Hart, J.E., Chang, C.C.H. & Weissfeld, J.L., Pesticide exposure and hepatocellular carcinoma risk: a case-control study using a geographic information system (GIS) to link SEER-Medicare and California pesticide data. Environmental Research, 143, 68-82, 2015, doi:10.1916/j.envres.2015.09.027.

VoPham, T., Wilson, J.P., Ruddell, D., Rashed., T., Brooks, M., Yuan, J., Talbott, E., Chang, C. & Weissfeld, J.L., Linking pesticides and human health: a geographic information system (GIS) and Landsat remote sensing method to estimate agricultural pesticide exposure. Applied Geography, 62, 171-181, 2015, doi:10.1016.j.apgeog.2015.04.009.

Harlan, S.L., Chowell, G., Yang., S., Petitti, D.B., Morales Butler, E.J., Ruddell, B.L., Ruddell, D.M., Heat-Related Deaths in Hot Cities: Estimates of Human Tolerance to High Temperature Thresholds. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 11(30, 3304-3326, 2014.

Ruddell, D. & Dixon, P.G., The energy-water nexus: Are there tradeoffs between residential energy and water consumption in arid cities? International Journal of Biometeorology, 58(7), 1421-1431, 2013, doi:10:1007/s00484-013-0743-y.

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