Environmental justice is the driving force of my scholarship. To pursue this goal, my research includes five major themes: social justice, social development, environmental planning, economic development, and geospatial applications. My research often uses mapping, spatial statistics, spatial analysis, modelling, surveys, and qualitative methods to answer research questions. Because of the applied nature of my research, I usually develop case studies located in Brazil and the U.S.
For me, social justice means giving all people equal opportunity to achieve what they want in life. In my research, I examine issues related to social justice to identify strategies to remove barriers, and increase opportunities for all.
This work focuses on the Bolsa Família cash transfer program, which offers a sum of money to families on the condition that they send their child to school regularly. It is important to understand the program beyond its aims, incorporating other social dimensions.
My environmental planning research explores how Brazil can minimize the effect of urbanization on the natural environment. I am particularly interested in how marginalized populations can be included in the decision-making processes.
I dedicate some of my research to understanding how Iowan communities can improve the lives of those most in need through economic development, such as through the promotion of the ethanol industry.
Geospatial applications includes some of my work with former students, as well as publications covering applications of geospatial methodology beyond the categories above.