Benjamin Goldstein is Assistant Professor of Environment and Sustainability and head of the Sustainable Urban-Rural Futures (SURF) lab. The SURF Lab (www.surf-lab.ca) studies and emphasizes urban sustainability at multiple scales. Through his work at the SURF Lab, Benjamin helps understand how urban processes and urban form drive the consumption of materials and energy in cities and produce environmental change inside and outside cities. He develops methods and tools to quantify the scale of these changes and the locations where they occur using life cycle assessment, input-output analysis, geospatial data, and approaches from data science. Benjamin is particularly interested in combining quantitative methods with theory rooted in social science to explore multiple dimensions of sustainability and address issues of distributive justice. His topical foci include urban food systems (esp. urban agriculture), agri-commodities, residual resource engineering, global supply chains, sustainable production and consumption, and energy systems.
VanderWilde, C.P., Newell, J.P., Gounaridis, D. and Goldstein, B.P., 2023. Deforestation, certification, and transnational palm oil supply chains: Linking Guatemala to global consumer markets. Journal of Environmental Management, 344, p.118505.
Goldstein, B., Reames, T.G. and Newell, J.P., 2022. Racial inequity in household energy efficiency and carbon emissions in the United States: An emissions paradox. Energy Research & Social Science, 84, p.102365.
Goldstein, B., Gounaridis, D. and Newell, J.P., 2020. The carbon footprint of household energy use in the United States. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(32), pp.19122-19130.
Goldstein, B. and Newell, J.P., 2020. How to track corporations across space and time. Ecological Economics, 169, p.106492.
Goldstein, B.P., Hauschild, M.Z., Fernández, J.E. and Birkved, M., 2017. Contributions of local farming to urban sustainability in the Northeast United States. Environmental science & technology, 51(13), pp.7340-7349.
Benjamin is interested in how we can make cities greener. He uses big data and models to put numbers on the environmental impacts of urban lifestyles. For example, he might look at meat consumption in different neighborhoods of a city to estimate the amount of climate changing gasses, such as methane from cows, result from the city’s meat consumption. Benjamin is also interested in revealing how consumption in cities can produce negative environmental change beyond the city borders and impact the livelihoods of distant peoples. His work focuses on agricultural systems and forestry products.
By better understanding where our products come from and how they are made, we gain insights into how to produce and consume more sustainably.
The FEW- Meter: Project with EU and US partners to holistically assess the sustainability of urban farming. We analyze 100 urban farms to understand their resource use, food outputs, environmental impacts, and social benefits. Funding: Belmont Forum/NSF.
Carbon Inequality of Household Energy: Project with University of Michigan. Big data analysis of the carbon emissions from residential energy use in the United States. Probabilistic models of energy use at the individual household level, combined with geodemographic information to reveal drivers of consumption and emissions.
The Sustainability Hoofprint of Cities: Project with University of Michigan and University of Minnesota. Develops spatial life cycle assessment model of livestock production across the continental United States at the county level. Estimates consumption of beef, chicken, and pork for all counties and uses linear optimization to connect consuming counties to producing counties and explore distributional environmental justice issues.
PhD, Technical University of Denmark (Management Engineering)
MSc, Technical University of Denmark (Environmental Engineering)
BASc, University of Toronto (Chemical Engineering)
Professional Engineers of Ontario (P.Eng.)