Professor, School of Geographical Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Emily Talen’s research focuses on exploring the spatial patterns of American cities. Most often this work incorporates GIS as a tool of exploration, for example in the investigation of accessibility, spatial equity, sprawl and ideal urban form. Dr. Talen does not take a detached, technicist view of urban form, for she believes that planners should be active advocates for a saner urban development pattern. She promotes an urban spatial pattern that overcomes automobile dependence, increases accessibility, promotes diversity, and discourages suburban sprawl.
There is a sociological component to her investigation. Part of an assessment of ideal urban form involves understanding what those forms mean for social interactivity - for example, do certain city patterns create a “sense of community”? Another social component involves resident perception of the meaning of places. In this area of research Dr. Talen uses GIS to build resident-generated cognitive maps of neighborhoods, to be used as a “perceptual drawing tool” to capture resident perceptions of neighborhoods.
Dr. Talen received a PhD in Geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to that, she worked for six years as a professional planner in Santa Barbara and Columbus, Ohio. Before moving to the ASU, she was Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the Univerity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.