Dorothy Ibes

Lecturer, Environmental Science and Policy Program and Center for Geospatial Analysis

Office: Swem 213A (CGA)
Phone: (757) 221-4440

Areas of Specialization

Urban parks and public space, public health and city parks, urban sustainability, human-environment dynamics in the built environment, science communication, and urban resource management.


Ph.D., Urban Geography, School of Geographical Science & Urban Planning, Arizona State University

M.S., Environmental Geography, Dept. of Geography, Texas State University

B.A., Journalism and Documentary Film, School of Journalism and Mass Comm., University of Minnesota—Twin Cities

Research and Teaching

Dr. Ibes’s research promotes the evolution of healthy, sustainable human settlements. To accomplish this, Dr. Ibes narrows in on a key element of healthy, sustainable, livable, and vibrant cities: parks and public space. These are vital and treasured public lands where human and natural systems converge and interact, yet their role in the sustainable city has been undermined by inadequate research, planning, design, and management that fails to acknowledge the unique challenges and opportunities these areas present. Many park spaces are underutilized and mismanaged, though these public amenities are key to improving the mental, physical, and social health of city residents, as well as the sustainability of the urban ecosystem. Access to these spaces has proven powerful in the treatment and prevention of depression, stress, anxiety, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. Further, even small park spaces have been hailed for their ability to support and protect critical ecosystem services in cities. Necessarily, this work is deeply interdisciplinary, integrating both quantitative and qualitative methods and theory from human-environment geography, public health, urban planning and design, sustainability science, environmental justice, urban ecology, documentary film, and science communication.

Dr. Ibes directs the Parks Research Lab at William & Mary. The lab conducts interdisciplinary, use-inspired research and develops community parks and public space projects including the Greater Williamsburg Area Park Prescription program (GWA Park Rx), the William & Mary Greenspaces Map project, and the Parks and Health documentary film. Dr. Ibes has advised 16 undergraduate students in the Parks Lab from Public Health, Environmental Science & Policy, Psychology, Neuroscience, Government, Film and Media Studies, and other complementary disciplines.

At The College, Dr. Ibes teaches Science Communication, Parks & Public Health Research, Campus Parks Research, Introductory GIS, and other courses for Environmental Science & Policy and the Center for Geospatial Analysis.

Selected Publications

2015  Ibes, Dorothy CA multi-dimensional classification and equity analysis of an urban park system: A novel methodology and case study application. Landscape and Urban Planning. 137: 122-137. (selected as “Editor’s Choice” for Volume 137)

2014 Ibes, Dorothy C. Sustainable urban park systems. Cities and the Environment (7)2: 1-30.

2012 Kelli L. Larson, Dorothy C. Ibes, and Elizabeth A. Wentz. Water Resource Consumption at the Neighborhood-Level: Perceived Versus Actual Water Scarcity Risks in Phoenix, AZ. Book chapter in Geospatial Approaches to Urban Water Resources, in the Springer Series: Geotechnologies and the Environment: Planning and Socioeconomic Applications.

2011 Ibes, Dorothy C. American environmentalism and the city: An ecosystem servicesperspective. Cities and the Environment 4(1): 1-22.

2011 Turner, V. Kelly and Dorothy C. Ibes. The impact of homeowners associations onresidential water demand in Phoenix, Arizona. Urban Geography 32(8): 1167-1188.

2011 Larson, Kelli, Dorothy C. Ibes, and David White. Gendered perspectives on water scarcity risks: A tripartite approach. Environment and Behavior 43(3): 415-438.