Ellen M. Bassett is an Associate Professor in Urban and Environmental Planning in the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia. Her areas of research interest and expertise are land use planning and law, climate change/sustainability planning, health and the built environment, and international development. She is currently involved with three collaborative research projects related to climate change/sustainability. Two projects examine climate change planning in the USA and test the extent to which this type of planning is resulting in local government policy innovation and promoting social equity. The final project is concerned with climate change impacts and resilience (broadly construed) in port cities of the global south.
Bassett came to the University of Virginia from Portland State University (PSU) in Portland, Oregon where she taught for five years at in an urban studies program. Prior to that, she taught urban and regional planning at Michigan State University’s School of Planning, Design, and Construction. Professor Bassett’s professional experience is in state government and international development. From 1989 to 2001, she worked as a technical advisor in East Africa (Kenya and Uganda) with bilateral aid agencies and international NGOs. In the Fall of 2013, she was resident in Kenya on a Fulbright Scholarship. Her Fulbright research is focused on Kenya’s 2011 Constitution, the dissolution of city and municipal governments, and the devolution of governance to new regional governmental units called counties. Kenya’s broad based institutional reforms represent an unprecedented governance experiment with significant implications for urban sustainability, land and natural resource management, and the practice of urban planning within the country.
Bassett holds three degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison: a PhD and MS in urban and regional planning and an MA in history. Her first degree in History and Political Science was earned at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.