Rutherford H. Platt

Professor Emeritus
land and water resource policy
Research Interests: 

RUTHERFORD H. PLATT is Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and also is Senior Fellow at the Insitute for Sustainable Cities, City University of New York (CUNY) He holds a B.A. in political science from Yale and both a J.D. (law) and Ph.D. (geography) from the University of Chicago. He specializes in public policy concerning urban land and water resources.

His most recent edited book is The Humane Metropolis: People and Nature in the 21st Century City (University of Massachusetts Press and Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. He is the author of Land Use and Society: Geography, Law, and Public Policy (Revised Edition, Island Press, 2004) and Disasters and Democracy: The Politics of Extreme Natural Events (Island Press, 1999). He was also was the lead editor of The Ecological City: Preserving and Restoring Urban Biodiversity (University of Massachusetts Press, 1994.)

He has served on many national panels including the National Research Council Water Science and Technology Board and several of its committees. In 2002, he was honored as a Lifetime National Associate of The National Academies. He directs the Ecological Cities Project, a national program of research and outreach based in Northampton, Massachusetts ( He has given many public talks on greening of cities including the keynote address at the Tenth Anniversary of Chicago Wilderness in May 2006 and the closing speech at the Portland (Ore.) Metro Regional Summit: “Connecting Green” on June 28, 2007.