Larissa Larsen

Courtesy Appointment


PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (urban and regional planning)
MLA, University of Guelph (landscape architecture)
BS, University of Guelph (applied science)



Larsen is an associate professor in the Urban and Regional Planning Program (URP) at the University of Michigan. She teaches graduate classes in environmental planning, land use planning, and physical planning and design. She regularly oversees graduate community-based capstone projects in Detroit neighborhoods. Larissa is the Physical Planning and Design Concentration Coordinator for the Master of Urban Planning Program. Larissa holds an appointment in the School for Environment and Sustainability.

Larissa's research focuses on identifying environmental inequities in the built environment and advancing issues of urban sustainability and social justice. Some of her past research has examined urban heat islands, water consumption, and neighborhood mobilization against environmental problems. Most of her current work involves climate adaptation planning and urban heat island studies. In 2012, she and her students worked with the US Green Building Council to write a publication entitled, Green Building and Climate Resilience. More recently, she collaborated with Marie O’Neill in the School of Public Health to conduct urban heat vulnerability assessments for the National Institutes of Health. In the last year, she began a green infrastructure planning project with collaborators in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and looks forward to returning with graduate students in summers to come.

Larissa grew up on a farm in Ontario. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Guelph, Ontario. Larissa received her Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After completing her Ph.D., she worked as a landscape architect and urban planner for a private firm in Chicago, Illinois. She is a registered landscape architect and has a passion for native plants. Before coming to the University of Michigan, she taught at Arizona State University for two years.

  • 2015-2019: National Science Foundation, Hazards SEES Stone, Brian (PI), Larsen (Co-I). "Enhancing emergency preparedness for critical infrastructure failure during extreme heat events". $2.400,000 (Larsen received $107,000).

  •  2013-2018: Heath and Human Services, Department of National Institutes of Health. "Community Action to Promote Healthy Environments: Addressing Community Exposures to Air Pollutants". $2,822,814.00.

  • 2012-2015: National Institute of Health: Climate Change and Human Health PAR-10-235. "Climate Change and Health: Residential Energy Efficiency for Comfort and Equity". $410,000.

  • 2016: African Studies Center, University of Michigan. "Mapping Land Cover in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia". $6,000.

  • 2011-2014: Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute & Kresge Foundation. "Great Lake Cities Climate Adaptation Planning". $1,200,000. Principal Investigator along with Arun Agarwal (SNRE), Elisabeth Gerber (Public Policy), Maria Carmen Lemos (SNRE), Marie O’Neill (Public Health), & Ricky Rood (OASS).

  • Distinguished Faculty Fellow of Sustainability (2013-2015).

  • “Most Valuable Planner” Teaching Award (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11).

  • Outstanding Teaching Award (2005-2006).

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