Jim Cohen specializes in land use planning, growth management, planning history and theory.
Dr. Cohen teaches graduate courses in planning history and theory and growth management and environmental planning, in addition to facilitating summer community planning studios. An example of a recent studio courses is the 2010 report, “Access to Healthy Food in Prince George’s County, MD”, which explored the presence of “food deserts” in that county’s older residential neighborhoods. His 2012 summer studio class developed a plan for an urban farm and urban agriculture education center on an 11-acre site in College Park, MD. The experience of one of Dr. Cohen’s previous studio courses was the basis for his chapter “Using a Studio Course for Provision of Smart Growth Technical Assistance,” in W. Wiewel and G. Jan-Knaap (eds.), Partnerships for Smart Growth (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2005). Since the Spring of 2010 Dr. Cohen has also been teaching an undergraduate course entitled “The Sustainable City: Exploring Opportunities and Challenges."
Dr. Cohen is involved in research on alternative strategies for improving the energy efficiency of the original homes built in Greenbelt, MD, and exporing the question of "are 'green' cities sustainable. In collaboration with Marie Howland, in 2010 Dr. Cohen completed funded research analyzing trends in industrially-zoned land use in Prince George’s County, and the economic impacts and policy implications of those trends. He and former master's student Alison Wakefield presented a paper at the 2012 annual conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) on entreprenerial urban agriculture, and he an former graduate student Rebecca Schaff presented a paper entitled "Hues of Green: Sustainable Development Values and Green Industrial Development", at the 2009 ACSP conference.
Two of his other land-use research projects are posted on the website of the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education. One is entitled "Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances in Maryland: An Analysis of Their Implementation and Effects on Residential Development in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area". Another paper is entitled "Water Supply as a Factor in Local Growth Management in the U.S.: A Review of Current Practice, and Implications for Maryland." Dr. Cohen has also examined strategies being implemented by cities to address the problem of abandoned houses and empty lots resulting from persistent population loss. This research resulted in an article, "Abandoned Housing: Exploring Lessons from Baltimore," that was published in November 2001 in Housing Policy Debate. That paper is available at www.innovations.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/hpd_1203_cohen.pdf