Central to Hess's research is addressing interactions between housing, transportation, land use, and other public concerns. He develops new pathways for understanding the complex socio-economic and ethnic landscape of cities and spatial inequalities.
In his scholarship, he explores metropolitan form and urban planning practice and policy, sometimes interactively and sometimes separately, but always as a means to improve city functions and urban life. His research contributes to discussions that seek to re-evaluate relationships between transport and land use to address various pressing societal concerns, including pollution, congestion, and metropolitan sprawl. He accomplishes this by focusing his intellectual inquiry on connections bet-ween transportation and land use planning and resulting impacts on health, environment, and social aspects of community. Using quantitative and qualitative methods, he explores inequitable access to daily necessities in cities—especially access to transportation and housing—to locales and for submarkets with lesser accessibility. Hess’s research spans urban planning history, post-socialist urban space, land use planning, urban transportation, and transport-land use interactions; he conducts spatial analysis of urban phenomenon to examine connections between urban public policy, population groups, and built environments.
B.S. (civil and environmental engineering), Clarkson University
M.U.P., University at Buffalo, State University of New York
Ph.D. (urban planning), University of California, Los Angeles
Hess’s teaching portfolio includes both required and elective courses in the undergraduate and graduate curriculua; many of his courses focus on planning practice and its relationship to the built environments of cities and regions. Hess teaches Evolution of Urban Structure, a core course that examines the history of cities and the history of planning, and Transportation, Land Use, and Urban Form, a course examining the complex relationship between the built form of our cities and their transportation systems. In the undergraduate curriculum, he teaches Visions of the City, which exposes students to various viewpoints on urban and environmental topics. Hess has also taught eight study abroad courses, bringing UB graduate and undergraduate students to England, Estonia, Latvia, and Russia.
Hess consults with federal, state, and local agencies so that his research can lead to more effective planning. He recently was part of a team that explored design concepts and programs for adding transit-oriented development along Buffalo’s Metro Rail corridor. He currently has a grant from the Mineta Transportation Institute to investigate the barriers that keep older adults from riding traditional fixed-route transit. He also won a grant from the Federal Transit Administration to investigate how public involvement can be used to expand alternative transportation financing schemes.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellowship; Fulbright Scholar Award, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia; National Endowment for the Humanities Visiting Scholar at Columbia University; UB Presidential Commission on Academic Excellence and Equity; Board of Advisors, Center for Transportation Excellence; Founding Board of Advisors, All Aboard Erie; Chester Rapkin Prize; UB Exceptional Scholar Award; Dwight D. Eisenhower Fellow, Federal Highway Administration