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RUTHERFORD H. PLATT, a geographer and lawyer, is a professor in the Department of Geosciences and the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His writing, teaching, and research have focused on diverse issues in urban land use and water resource management, natural hazards, and urban ecology.

Since 1999, Dr. Platt has been developing the Ecological Cities Project (ECP), a national program of research and outreach on urban greenspaces, urban watersheds, and urban habitat issues based at UMass Amherst. In June 2002, the project organized a national conference in New York City: The Humane Metropolis: People and Nature in the 21st Century. An edited book with the same title based on presentations at the conference will be published by The University of Massachuseets Press in 2006.

The Ecological Cities Project is currently conducting a study of comparative regional experience in urban watershed management under a grant from the National Science Foundation. Other support for the ECP has been provided by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the Wyomissing Foundation, Mr. Laurance S. Rockefeller, the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Park Service.

Dr. Platt is a graduate of Yale University and holds a J.D. (law) and Ph.D. (Geography) from the University of Chicago and is a Member of the Illinois Bar. In 2001 he was named a Lifetime National Associate of the National Academies in honor of his service on eight committees of the National Research Council (NRC), three times as chair. As of 2003, he serves as a member of the NRC Water Science and Technology Board and its Committee on Water Quality Improvement in the Pittsburgh Area. He is a member of the Cosmos Club of Washington DC and is listed in Who's Who in America.


Platt. Land Use and Society: Geography, Law, and Public Policy, Revised Edition (Island Press, 2004).

Platt et al. Disasters and Democracy: The Politics of Extreme Natural Events (Island Press, 1999).

Platt, Rowntree, and Muick (eds.). The Ecological City: Preserving and Restoring Urban Biodiversity (University of Massachusetts Press, 1994).


Platt, "Holly Whyte: Visionary for a Humane Metropolis" Landlines Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (Jan. 2003).

Platt, "Recovery of the North Carolina Coast After Hurricane Fran: Did Regulations Matter?" Coastal Management (2002)

Platt, Barten, and Pfeffer, "A Full, Clean Glass: Managing New York City's Watersheds." Environment 42 (5): 8-19, 2000.

Platt, "Natural Disasters, Politics, and Property Rights in the U. S." Earth Matters: State of the Planet (Winter): 58-61, 1999.

Platt and J. Kendra, "The Sears Island Saga: Law in Search of Geography." Economic Geography. AAG Annual Meeting, Special Issue, pp. 46-51, 1998.

Platt, "The 2020 Water Supply Study for Metropolitan Boston: Demise of Diversion" Journal of the American Planning Association, 61 (2): 185-197, 1995.

Platt, "Evolution of Coastal Hazards Policies in the United States" Coastal Management 22: 265-284, 1995.

Platt, T, Beatley, and H. C. Miller, 1991. "The Folly at Folly Beach and Other Failings of U.S. Coastal Erosion Policy", Environment 33(9): 6-9; 25-32.


Keynote Address: ""Regreening the Metropolis: Pathways to More Ecological Cities." Urban Biosphere and Society: Partnership of Cities, sponsored by Columbia University and UNESCO (CUBES). New York Academy of Sciences, October 29-30, 2003.

Keynote Address: "Regreening the Metropolis: Pathways to More Ecological Cities." 7th Annual Urban Initiatives Conference: Milwaukee's Urban Environment - Cultivating the Ecological City, sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for Urban Initiatives and Research, May 26, 2004. (Ecological Cities Project collaborated with local sponsor in organizing this conference).

Plenary Address: "Water and Cities: New Directions in Urban Watershed Management." Conference on The Confluence of Water, Society, and Ecological Design, organized by City of Chicago and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Chicago, IL, June 9, 2004.

Public Lecture: "Regreening the Metropolis: Pathways to More Ecological Cities." League of Women Voters of Greater Houston Area, General Meeting. Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, November 11, 2004

Keynote Speech: "New York City Istanbul: Comparative Response to Rapid Growth." Workshop on Urban Biosphere Reserves: Potentials of Istanbul organized by UNESCO/TUBITAK/ITU/UMASS (Ecological Cities Project), ITU Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul, Turkey, January 31-February 1, 2005.

Panel Presentation: "Urban Watershed Management" at Water Matters Conference, Mount Holyoke College, March 31-April 1, 2005.

Keynote Address: "Learning from Disasters: The Synergy of Law and Geography." Nation on Edge Symposium. University of San Diego Law School, February 17, 2005. (Same talk presented at MIT, Pace University Law School, and New York Municipal Art Society.)

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Last Updated: June 12, 2006