Ernest Sternberg

Professor - Department of Urban and Regional Planning - Hayes Hall 126 - (716) 829-5880

Professor - Department of Urban and Regional Planning - Hayes Hall 126 - (716) 829-5880

Ernest Sternberg headshot.


Dr. Sternberg’s current work is on the ethics of complex decision making to avert disasters, whether from terrorism or natural or technological hazards.

His earlier research has examined complex resources whose allocation requires public planning because they are not effectively allocated by pure markets. He pursued this topic through successive studies of resource types, including technological research endowments, cultural and heritage resources, urban physical form and infrastructure systems, and (the opposite of such resources) geophysical and technological hazards. Some of the results may be seen in the publications listed below.  His most recent interest is the study of new radical ideologies affecting perceptions of public affairs.


B.A. (social sciences), Empire State College
M.S. (development sociology and Southeast Asian studies), Cornell University
Ph.D. (city and regional planning), Cornell University


Dr. Sternberg teaches graduate planning studios, which have taken on topics ranging from heritage development to wind-energy planning.  His undergraduate course, Land Use and Development, is a general introduction to roles of planners in shaping the built environment. At various times, he has also taught economic development, planning theory, and the graduate final projects class.

Public Service

Dr.  Sternberg served as the founding president and is still member of the board of Protect New York, an academic group focused on research and education to safeguard metro New York,  and other large urban areas, from disaster and terrorism.  He served for five years as a member of the editorial board at State University of New York Press.

Selected Publications

  •  “Purifying the World: What the New Radical Ideology Stands For,” Orbis  54:1, Winter 2010, pp. 61-86.
  •  “Prospects for Building Regional Clusters of Technological Strength in the Homeland Security Sector: The Case of New York State,” Journal of Applied Security Studies 4:3, Jul.-Sept. 2009, pp. 341-362.
  •  (with George C. Lee) “New York City’s Healthcare Transportation During Disaster: A Preparedness Framework for a Wicked Problem,” Prehospital and Disaster Medicine  25:2, 2009, pp. 95-107
  • “The Urban Region as Locus of Security Problems: Toward Research and Education to Safeguard New York and Other Urban Areas from Terrorism and Disaster,” Journal of Applied Security Research, 3:1, 2007, pp. 11-24.
  •  “Planning for Community Health Emergencies: The Research Challenge,” Journal of Security Education 1:4, 2006, pp. 133-144.
  • "Classical Precariousness versus Modern Risk: Lessons in Prudence." Humanitas(forthcoming).
  • "Counting Crises: US Hospital Evacuations 1971-1999," (with George C. Lee and Daniel Huard).Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. (2004)
  • "Planning for Resilience in Hospital Internal Disaster." (2003). Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. Vol. 18, No. 4
  • "Educating the Economic Strategist." (2002). in James Dator, ed., Advancing Futures: Futures Studies in Higher Education. Westport, CT: Praeger
  • "What Makes Buildings Catalytic? How Cultural Facilities Spur Surrounding Development." (2002). Journal of Architecture and Planning Research. Vol. 19, No. 1
  • “An Integrative Theory of Urban Design.” (2000).Journal of the American Planning Association. Vol. 66, No. 3
  • The Economy of Icons: How Business Manufactures Meaning. (1999). Westport, CT: Praeger
  • “Transformations: The Forces of Capitalist Change.” (1999). in Kenneth Taylor and William E. Halal, eds., 21st Century Economics. Boston, MA: St. Martin’s Press
  • “The Iconography of the Tourism Experience.” (1997). Annals of Tourism Research. Vol. 24
  • "Recuperating from Market Failure: Planning for Biodiversity and Technological Competitiveness." (1996). Public Administration Review. Vol. 56, January/February
  • Photonic Technology and Industrial Policy: U.S. Responses to Technological Change. (1992). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press