Social Studies

Three Questions with Dr. Steve Manson

Dr. Steven Manson of the U of M’s Department of Geography, Environment, and Society department directs the Human-Environment Geographic Information Science lab and works to supply researchers, policy makers, and everyday citizens with the data they need to prepare for, respond to, and live with climate change. Yes, these can be (and are) daunting propositions, but Manson takes a practical approach: information and innovation present the path forward.

How do you explain what you do to people at a dinner party?

I use computers and mapping to help understand how humans and the environment interact as we grow food and live in cities. I am especially interested in how our activities will change in the face of climate change.

What’s one thing your research has taught you that average Minnesotans should know?

Minnesota, like a lot of places, will face both challenges and opportunities in a warming world. Planning for change now will usually be easier than adapting to change later.

How do you want your research to contribute to society?

By making basic data and understanding of the world freely available, I’d like my work to help a range of decision makers and communities make better choices.