US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Michelle Kondo

Michelle Kondo, Ph.D.

Research Hydrologist
100 N. 20th Street, Suite 205
United States

Phone: 215-988-1619
Contact Michelle Kondo, Ph.D.

Current Research

Michelle Kondo, Ph.D. completed doctoral training in Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington, and postdoctoral training in environmental health and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Kondo's research evaluates environmental impacts on health disparities. She is interested in addressing physical, chemical and social stressors that affect health disproportionately in low-resource communities. Her research addresses the following questions: What are the health consequences of environmental disparities? By which physiological and psychosocial mechanisms do environments affect health? And, what impact can place-based and nature-based initiatives have on preventing and reducing health disparities? She is also interested in evaluating the influence of community participation in place-based initiatives on health outcomes. Her current projects include:

Health and Safety Effects of Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) in Philadelphia and other communities uses vegetation and underground infiltration facilities to manage stormwater, with the goal of reducing combined sewer overflows. This project evaluates some of the other value-added impacts of GSI on residents.

Health Impacts of Combined Sewer Overflows

Exposure to contaminated wastewater and drinking water can present potential human health risks. Better understanding those risks can inform how management is implemented. This project seeks to understand and minimize health risks, for example via exposure to pathogens, associated with combined sewer overflows.

Changes in Public Health and Crime Associated with Greening of Vacant Land

Post-industrial cities throughout the Eastern US are developing innovative programs to reuse vacant lots. Cities are increasingly combining goals of vacant land stabilization with sustainability and public health and safety initiatives; vacant lots present opportunities to promote economic development, improve health and safety, and provide ecosystem services such as stormwater management. This project employs quasi-experimental and experimental methods in evaluating impacts of vacant lot reuse programs on health and safety.

Design and Evaluation of Prescriptions for Nature Programs

Partnerships between doctors, hospitals, non-profit groups and land managers are developing across the US to initiate “Parks Rx” or “Nature Rx” programs which incorporate support for families in spending more time outdoors in to the medical system. This project evaluates effectiveness of Nature Rx programs in implementation and in increasing patient use of outdoor spaces.

Research Interests

Manuscripts in Preparation or Under Review

Heckert, M., Kondo, M.C. Surveyed Uses and Perceptions of “Cleaned-and-Greened” Vacant Lots.

Kondo, M.C., Hohl, B.C., Han, S., Branas, C.C. Effects of Greening and Community Reuse of Vacant Lots on Crime.

Kondo, M.C., Han, S., Branas, C.C. Impacts of green stormwater infrastructure at public versus private sites on health and safety.

Kondo, M.C., Han, S., MacDonald, J., Donovan, G. Association between tree mortality due to emerald ash borer and public safety: a county-level analysis.

Kondo, M.C., Han, S., Donovan, G., MacDonald, J. The Effect of Trees on Urban Crime: Evidence from the Spread of the Emerald Ash Borer in Cincinnati.

Past Research

Dr. Kondo's past research has investigated patterns of air pollution in goods-movement communities; air pollution-related stress and risk perception; and methods of community engagement in research and planning.


Kondo, M.C.; South, E.C.; Branas, C.C. (in press) Nature-based strategies for improving urban health and safety. Journal of Urban Health.

Kondo, M.C.; Sharma, R.; Yang, Y.; Burstyn, I. (in press) Heavy metal concentrations in urban green stormwater infrastructure soils. Journal of Environmental Quality.

Kondo, M.C.; Keene, D.; Hohl, B.; MacDonald, J.; Branas, C.C. 2015. The effects of a new vacant building remediation strategy on safety. Plos One, 10(7):e0129582.

South, E.C.; Kondo, M.C.; Cheney, R.A.; Branas, C.C. 2015. Neighborhood blight, stress, and health: A walking trial of urban greening and ambulatory heart rate. American Journal of Public Health, 105(4):909-913.

Kondo, M.C.; Low, S.C.; Henning, J.; Branas, C.C. 2015. Association between green infrastructure installment and surrounding health and safety. American Journal of Public Health, 105(3):e114-e121.

Kondo, M.C.; Gross-Davis, C.A.; May, K.; Davis, L.O.; Johnson, T.; Mallard, M.; Gabbadon, A.; Sherrod, C.; Branas, C.C. 2014. Place-Based Stressors Associated with Industry and Air Pollution. Health & Place, 28:31-17.

Kondo, M.C.; Mizes, C.; Lee, J.; Burstyn, I. 2014. Black carbon concentrations in a goods-movement neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA. Environmental Monitoring & Assessment 186(7):4605-4618.

Kondo, M.C.; Mizes, C.; Lee, J.; Burstyn, I. 2014. Towards participatory air pollution exposure assessment in a goods movement community. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 8(3).

Kondo, M.C.; Bream, K.D.W.; Barg, F.K.; Branas, C.C. 2014. A random spatial sampling method in a rural developing nation. BMC Public Health 14:338.

Ketterer, T.; West, D.W.; Sanders, V.P.; Hossain, J.; Kondo, M.C.; Sharif, I. 2013. Correlates of patient portal enrollment and activation in primary care pediatrics. Academic Pediatrics, 13(3), 264-271.

Kondo, M.C.; Rivera, R.; Rullman, S. 2012. Protecting the idyll but not the environment: Second homes, amenity migration and rural exclusion in Washington State. Landscape and Urban Planning, 106(2), 174-182.

Kondo, M.C. 2012. Immigrant organizations in pursuit of inclusive planning: Lessons from a municipal annexation case. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 32(3), 319-330.

Kondo, M.C. 2012. Influences of gender and race on immigrant political participation: The case of the Trusted Advocates. International Migration, 50(5), 113-129.

Porter, L.; Sandercock, L.; Umemoto, K.; Bates, L.K.; Zapata, M. A.; Kondo, M.C.; Zitcer, A.; Lake, R.W.; fonza, a.; Sletto, B.; Erfan, A. 2012. What's love got to do with it? Illuminations on loving attachment in planning. Planning Theory & Practice, 13(4).

Why This Research is Important

Media Interviews and Spotlights


  • University of Washington, Ph.D. Urban Design and Planning 2008
  • University of Washington, M.U.P. Urban Design and Planning 2001
  • Carnegie Mellon University, B.S. Civil & Environmental Engineering 1999

Professional Experience

  • Associate Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, Center for Public Health Initiatives
    2010 - Current
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, Department of Biostatistics & Epidemiology
    2013 - 2014
  • GPS/GIS Instructor, University of Pennsylvania, Guatemala Health Initiative
    2012 - 2013
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice
    2010 - 2013
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Seattle University, Institute of Public Service
    2009 - 2010
  • Fellow, University of Washington, NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) in Urban Ecology
    2003 - 2005
  • Environmental Consultant, Environmental Science Associates, Water and Wastewater Division, San Francisco, CA.
    2001 - 2003


Research Highlights


Air Pollution as a Psychosocial Stressor

A Forest Service scientist and her research partners found that air pollution contributes to physical and psychosocial conditions that act as co ...


Last updated on : 11/17/2015