Environmental Policy

Scott Spak

  • Associate Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning, UI Graduate College
  • Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UI College of Engineering
  • Researcher, Environmental Policy Research Program


Scott Spak is an Assistant Professor holding joint appointments with Urban and Regional Planning, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Environmental Policy Program at the Public Policy Center. He teaches courses on U.S. and international environmental policy, dynamic systems modeling, and urban growth. Spak develops and applies numerical models to study the intersection between human activities and environmental change. His research informs decision-making by

  1. identifying tipping points in linked Earth systems, including atmospheric aerosols, chemical pollution, and regional climate
  2. understanding the roles of technology, policy, and societal change in projecting future human impacts on the environment
  3. developing new ways to embed Earth System modeling in environmental policies and urban planning

Research Interests

  • Aerosol impacts on climate
  • High resolution coupled earth and human systems modeling
  • Effects of urban form and policy on air quality
  • Air toxics

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009
  • A.B., Engineering Sciences, Dartmouth, 2000