Moira L. Zellner
Ph.D. Candidate

Undergraduate degree: Licenciatura in Biological Sciences - Orientation in Ecology, Centro de Altos Estudios de Ciencias Exactas, Buenos Aires, Argentina (1995).
Graduate degree: Master in Urban Planning, University of Michigan (2000); Certificate in Complex Systems, University of Michigan (2003).
Areas of interest: Developing modeling tools for the study of human-environment interactions on the sustainability of natural resources. Research has focused on the effects of public policy and individual decision-making regarding density, location and accessibility, and their impacts on land use/cover change and ecological processes.

Before pursuing graduate studies, I worked as a consultant on environmental issues for local and international environmental engineering firms and for the undersecretary of Environment in the City of Buenos Aires, on projects related to domestic and hazardous waste management, river remediation, industrial pollution control, and environmental impact assessments. As a researcher, I have participated in interdisciplinary and international groups, developing indexes to identify risk areas of air pollution in the City of Buenos Aires, and building epidemiological models of the spread of tuberculosis through public transportation, for which I spent five months as a visiting scholar at the Biometrics Department in Cornell University.

I was drawn to the University of Michigan by its resources for interdisciplinary research in Urban and Regional Planning and in Complex Systems. In the summer of 1999, I was an intern at Edaw, Inc., working on greenway development and river restoration projects in Miami Beach and in California. I have also been a research assistant in the summers of 2000 and 2001 with the Urban and Regional Research Collaborative at UM, working on transportation surveys in collaboration with the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority. Since the summer of 2002, I am a research assistant in the SLUCE project at UM, developing agent-based models of land use change and ecological impacts.

For my dissertation, I am building agent-based models to study how the interaction of land use and water use decisions affects the sustainability of groundwater in Monroe County, Michigan. In addition to providing policy recommendations to the county, I attempt to show how agent-based models can be adapted for planning purposes, and how they allow a more intuitive understanding of complex urban and regional processes by easily representing multiple actors, feedback and geographic scales.

Other activities at UM have included various teaching appointments in Intensive Spanish and Latin American Cities (2000-2004); co-coordination of the doctoral students organization (2001-2003); co-organization of an interdisciplinary symposium on Urban, Technological and Environmental Planning (2003), and assistance in the organization of a symposium and workshop on sustainable accessibility (2004).