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Donovan Finn

Associate Professor

Faculty Director, EDP



- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Masters 2004 - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Topics:

community-based planning, disaster recovery, resilience policy, urban design and placemaking


  • Bio/Research


    Dr. Finn teaches courses in the Sustainability Studies Program’s Environmental Planning, Policy and Design major. Trained as an urban planner, Dr. Finn has worked as a community planner in East St. Louis, IL with the University of Illinois ESLARP center, and consulted with local governments in Illinois and Missouri on growth management and sustainable development policy while a research associate at the University of Illinois LEAM laboratory.

    His current research focuses primarily on sustainability and resiliency planning in the New York region and the role of public participation in effective planning outcomes. He also works regularly with non-profit organizations and local governments in New York City and Long Island on issues of sustainability, resilience, and public participation.

    Dr. Finn teaches a number of the core courses in the Environmental Planning, Policy and Design major/minor. His classes emphasize critical thinking, teamwork and effective communication. Most of his courses include an applied design or planning project in which students apply material learned in the course to a real-world place or issue. See this Newsday article about one of Dr. Finn’s class projects for an example.

    An advocate for undergraduate research, Dr. Finn works regularly with students interested in pursuing their own directed research and regularly includes undergraduate students in his own research projects.

    Prior to Stony Brook, Dr. Finn taught courses in urban planning, urban policy and sustainable design at Hunter College (City University of New York) and The New School in New York City.

  • Publications


    Finn, D. and Pawlowski, T. (2022). Hurricane Recovery Fails the Financially Vulnerable. Planning Magazine.

    Finn, D., Mandli, K., Bukvic, A., Davis, C.A., Haacker, R., Morss, R.E., O'Lenick, C.R., Wilhelmi, O., Wong-Parodi, G., Merdjanoff, A.A. and Mayo, T.L., 2022. Moving from interdisciplinary to convergent research across geoscience and social sciences: challenges and strategies. Environmental Research Letters.

    Finn, Donovan Finn (2020) Streets, Sidewalks and COVID-19: Reimaging New York City’s Public Realm as a Tool for Crisis Management. Journal of Extreme Events Online Ready.

    Green, T. and D. Finn (2020) A Return to State-Led Integrated Regional Planning? Emerging Approaches from Three U.S. States. State and Local Government Review.

    Finn, D., Chandrasekhar, D., & Xiao, Y. (2019). A Region Recovers: Planning for Resilience after Superstorm Sandy. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 0739456X19864145.

    Chandrasekhar, D., Xiao, Y., Rothfeder, R. and Finn, D. (2018). What drives household recovery after disasters? A case study of New York City after 2012 Hurricane Sandy. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.

    Xiao, Y., Wu, K., Finn, D. and Chandrasekar, D. (2018) “Community Businesses as Social Units in Post-Disaster Recovery,” Journal of Planning Education and Research.

    Finn, D. and Marshall, J.T. (2018) “Superstorm Sandy at Five: Lessons on Law as Catalyst and Obstacle to Long-Term Recovery Following Catastrophic Disasters.” Environmental Law Reporter News and Analysis. Vol 48. June, 2018. 10494-10519.

    Finn, D., Chandrasekhar, D. and Xiao, Y. (2016) “Planning for resilience in the New York metro region after Superstorm Sandy” in edited collection Spatial planning and resilience following disasters: International and comparative perspectives, Greiving, Ubaura & Tesliar eds. Bristol: Policy Press. 117-135.

    Finn, D. and Brody, J. (Forthcoming, 2014) "Community Design at Middle Age: Idealism and Entrepreneurship Revisited." Journal of Architectural and Planning Research.

    Finn, D. (Forthcoming, 2014) "DIY Urbanism: "Opportunities and Challenges for Planners".

    Journal of Urbanism.

    Finn, D. (2014) "Give residents more say in land use and planning." Op-Ed in The Queens Chronicle. January 30, 2014.

    Finn, D. (2013) "New York Neighborhoods Fight Land Grabs: Public Parks Going to

    Professional Teams." Progressive Planning Magazine. 194: Winter, 4-9.

    Finn, D. and McCormick, L. (2011) "Urban Climate Change Plans: How Holistic?" Local Environment, 16:4, 397-416.

    Finn, D. (2011) "Growing Greener in the City: Open Space Advocacy for Environmental

    Justice in Jackson Heights" Progressive Planning Magazine. 187: Spring, 13-16.

    Kaza, N., Finn, D., and Hopkins, L.D. (2010) "Updating plans: a historiography of decisions

    over time" Journal of Information Technology in Construction, 15, 159-168.

    Finn, D. (2008). PlaNYC2030: Does Greener Really Mean Greater? Hunter College Center

    For Community Planning & Development, "Sustainability Watch" working paper.

    Finn, D., Hopkins, L.D. and Wempe, M. (2007) "The Information System of Plans Approach: Using and Making Plans For Landscape Protection" Journal of Landscape and Urban Planning, 81:1-2, 132-145.

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