Faculty and student research in the Department of Geography, Planning, and Environment cuts across the program areas in Atmospheric Science, Community and Regional Planning, Geographic Information Science and Technology, and Human-Environment and Physical Geography. Below are some of the key thematic research areas along with related faculty expertise and examples of research projects in that area.
Climate Dynamics & Impacts
Our faculty researchers are addressing climate variability and change from a variety of perspectives. Some apply the tools of atmospheric science to better model and understand climate dynamics and precipitation variability. Others are focused on the impacts of climate change and working to identify strategies for adaptation and community resilience in field sites in Mexico, Bangladesh, Jamaica, and the United States among others.
Coastal & Hydrological Environments
Researchers are applying their insights to enhance science and improve policy in coastal environments. Using a variety of methodological approaches, our faculty are studying a wide range of issues, including floodplain sedimentation, coastal habitat change, water management, coastal storms, and the dynamics of coastal flooding.
Coastal Development Risks, Hazards, & Resilience
The fields of Geography and Planning integrate knowledge of the geosciences with applied social science and policy-relevant approaches to better assess, plan for, and recover from a range of environmental hazards, including hurricanes and their associated flooding, earthquakes, sea-level rise and riverbank erosion. Research in this thematic area is focused regionally on Eastern North Carolina, as well as the Caribbean, South Asia and Japan.
Remote Sensing & GIS
Geographers and Planners use an array of cutting-edge technologies and techniques for geospatial data collection, analysis, and visualization, both in support of our own research and the needs of those living, working, and recreating in the geographies we study. Currently, DGPE faculty are using imagery from earth observation satellites to map drainage features near Greenville, NC, UAV-mounted sensors to observe coastal erosion along the Neuse River Estuary, and deploying wearable, real-time sensors to monitor environmental quality across Eastern North Carolina.
Social & Environmental Justice
Geographers and Planners play key roles in identifying the geographical determinants and spatial patterns of inequality and injustice. Our faculty apply the lens of justice to investigate a range of timely issues, including health disparities, access to housing, exposure to environmental hazards, food and energy security, and the differential impacts of globalization and development, particular on rural livelihoods.