Erik Porse, PhD

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Engineering | Public Policy | Water Systems | Ecology

I am a researcher typically found working at the boundaries of fields.  I use systems analysis to study urban and environmental systems, often with a focus on water.  My background is interdisciplinary and I have over 10 years of professional and academic experience.

My primary pursuits are research, teaching, and the inception stage of ideas.  I enjoy teaching to diverse audiences of students and professionals.  In 2009, I organized and led the Earlham East Africa study abroad program, an experiential education program focused on urban development, rural sustainability, and ecology.

Outside of academics, I am the co-founder of a Philadelphia-based non-profit, the Sustainability Nexus.  In the past, I worked as an intelligence analyst, a systems engineer installing U.N. nuclear monitoring stations, a technology policy analyst, and a technical writer.  These jobs led me to many hip, stately, urban, pristine, and dirty places around the world.

Current Affiliations

University of California, Los Angeles:  Postdoctoral Scholar within the California Center for Sustainable Communities and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, working to understand Los Angeles water systems.

Engineers Without Borders @ UC Davis:  Project manager for an on-going project to upgrade water and energy infrastructure at D-Q University, a local tribal college in Winters, CA.

The Sustainability Nexus:  Co-founder and board member of a Philadelphia-based non-profit working to promote entrepreneurship and collaboration within the sustainability community of the city.


My PhD is from the University of California, Davis, in Civil and Environmental Engineering (Water Resources).  I was also an NSF IGERT Trainee in the Responding to Rapid Environmental Change (REACH) IGERT.  My Master’s degree comes from George Mason University in Science and Technology Public Policy, and my Bachelor’s degree comes from the University of Hartford in Acoustical Engineering and Music.

Some Past Affiliations

Technical University of Denmark:  PhD Fellow collaborating with DTU researchers on adaptive planning approaches for urban drainage systems.

University of California, Davis:  PhD Candidate and NSF IGERT trainee.

Davis Energy Group:  Technical writer who assembled really big documents.

Sustainable Cities International:  Affiliate Researcher doing watershed-scale flood analysis for urban development planning in Los Cabos, Mexico.  The research helped inform a master plan for the El Zacatal arroyo.

TechVision 21:  Policy Analyst for federal science, technology, and innovation related to renewable energy and biofuels.

U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service:  Intelligence Analyst working on issues of international relations and technology transfer.

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory:  Research Engineer

About the Blog

Cities are systems of overlaying technological, environmental, and social networks. How these networks interact in predictable and unpredictable ways is my area of interest.  The nature of systems, however, means that to study one, you have to be curious about many.  The blog is a research notebook for explorations into the dynamics of urban systems.

Additional Note

Probability that the site is completely up-to-date: Not likely with high confidence.

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