The Department unites around research and curricula focusing on the human ecology of people and place: the human experience that includes the individual, institutions, the community, schools, families, and relationships between people and their environment. This human environment is both social and ecological, and includes different social groups, institutions, built landscapes, ecologies, and physical settings. Our work ranges from studies of individual human health and behavior to analysis of community processes and design to considerations of bioregions and global processes. We explicitly focus on social and environmental problems, and solutions to those problems, with particular attention to issues of equity, health, and sustainability.
Human Ecology integrates themes of people, place, and power.
"People" focuses attention on human development and individual relationships with others through family, institutions, and community.
"Place" weaves together social processes and geographical space.
"Power," defined as the capacity to shape processes and outcomes related to people and place, is an important focus for understanding contemporary issues such as health, equality, and sustainability, and how they might be addressed.