US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
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Michelle Kondo

Michelle Kondo, Ph.D.

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

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

Curriculum vitae (182 KB PDF)

Current Research

Michelle Kondo, Ph.D., is a scientist with the USDA-Forest Service, Philadelphia Field Station. She 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 general research interests include:

  • Environmental strategies for violence, injury and disease prevention
  • Environmental health and environmental justice
  • Geospatial and community-based research methods

Her research addresses the following broad 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 violence, injuries, and disease? She is also interested in evaluating the influence of community participation in place-based initiatives on health outcomes. Some of her major projects include:

Changes in public health and safety associated with greening of vacant land and other greening and blight-reduction initiatives

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. Dr. Kondo’s research employs quasi-experimental and experimental methods in evaluating impacts of vacant lot reuse and other greening programs such as green stormwater infrastructure on health and safety.

Viability 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.

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.


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

  • Visiting Scholar, Barcelona Institute of Global Health
    2018 - Current
  • Adjunct Lecturer, Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University
    2017 - Current
  • Adjunct Scholar, Center for Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania
    2014 - Current
  • 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 ...


Can “cleaned and greened” lots take on the role of public greenspace?

Vacant lots are a problem that cities are increasingly addressing through greening efforts. Questions remain about if and how these green space ...


Community Greening Can Reduce Crime

In Youngstown, Ohio, vacant lots greened by community members experienced reductions in violent assaults, while vacant lots greened by contracto ...


Does urban tree cover play a role in reducing violence in cities?

Green space and vegetation may play a protective role for urban violence.


Economic benefits from violence reduction associated with remediation of abandoned buildings and vacant lot greening

Abandoned buildings and vacant lots are blighted spaces seen daily by many urban residents and may create physical opportunities for violence by ...


Elemental Concentrations in Urban Green Stormwater Infrastructure Soils

A study by a Forest Service scientist and her partners found that in an urban area, soils in green stormwater infrastructure facilities appear t ...


Green Stormwater Infrastructure Reduces Crime

Forest Service scientists tested the effects of green stormwater infrastructure installation on health and safety outcomes across Philadelphia ...


Greening Vacant Lots Reduces Crime, Increases Use

A study by a Northern Research Station (NRS) scientist and partners found that residents living near vacant lots that were cleaned and greened r ...


Low-cost Urban Building Improvement Can Reduce Crime

In a study by a Forest Service scientist and her partners, Philadelphia’s “Doors-and-Windows Ordinance,” which requires repairs to abandon ...


Philadelphia Study Links Tree Canopy Growth to Decrease in Human Mortality

Cities are investing in programs to expand tree cover and the myriad of benefits trees provide, such as cleaner and cooler air. In the first cit ...


Seeing a Greened Vacant Lot May Lower Stress

Studies by Forest Service scientists showed that walking adjacent to greened vacant lots decreased participants' heart rate significantly more t ...


Turbidity of drinking water supplies in relation to incidence of gastrointestinal illness

From examination of empirical studies of the relationship between drinking water turbidity and the number of acute gastrointestinal illness case ...


Last updated on : 08/26/2021