live simply in a networked, complex world

Welcome to my personal website. Shipeng, July 2012 I am currently an assistant professor in the department of environmental studies at the University of Illinois Springfield. I teach geographic information science related courses and also develop and apply spatial analysis and modeling techniques to explore our networked world. Nothing is better than a network to represent The First Law of Geography: Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things. The complexity generated by and embedded in these relatedness and connections requires new thinking, new theories, and new analytical methods for a sustainable world. It also makes interdisciplinary, planned and unplanned coorperation a necessity in the natural and social sciences.

Among others, the human-environment interactions in urban, suburban, and exurban areas, particularly those having taken place through the land and housing markets, largely shape the social and physical landscapes we observe today. Land-use and land-cover change (LUCC) is such a manifesto of complex interactions between human beings and their environment, which involves residents' housing, locational decisions, searching for residence, and their land management practices. Network analysis and agent-based modeling are methodological frameworks that can be adopted to visualize, analyze, and simulate the complexity in these interactions. It is particularly promising, sometimes discouraging, but always challenging to integrate the population, economy, and ecology across spatial scales by capturing and modeling their relations and interactions using networks and the virtual laboratory of agent-based models. I hope my research, teaching, and service as an academic and my pursuit of eco-friendly lifestyle as a cosmopolitan citizen could make a tiny but positive contribution to the greatest collective efforts ever to build a sustainable planet for the nine billion people living on the Earth in the near future.

Networked World

Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.

Waldo Tobler (1970) First Law of Geography

The value of complexity exists in the eye of its beholder. For some it is merely a passing fad, for others an interesting complement to accepted conceptual frameworks, and for others it is a pioneering break from a moribund Newtonian worldview. .... In return for addressing these issues, complexity offers a host of new approaches to the study of economic, political, social and environmental systems.

Steven M. Manson (2001) Simplify Complexity: A Review on Complexity Theory

Housing activity—households using dwellings—forms a central feature in the human use of the earth. A house is a structure; a home is an experience. Housing is an interactive process with meanings tied to status, social position, wealth, power, aspirations, and personal identity. Housing decisions reflect social drives for congregation and segregation within U.S. cities, thus making social and cultural categories of urban society visible, intelligible, and stable.

John S. Adams (1984) The Meaning of Housing in America

Greedy people, competing, make the world go round.

Paul Krugman (2009) Seven-word explanation of Ecomonics for Ig Nobels

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