Subhro Guhathakurta


Professor, School of City and Regional Planning
Director, Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization
(404) 385-0900

View Guhathakurta's C.V.


Subhro Guhathakurta joined Georgia Tech in 2011 as the director of the Center for Geographic Information Systems and professor in the School of City and Regional Planning. He was previously associate director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University (ASU) and among the founding faculty members of ASU’s School of Sustainability. Professor Guhathakurta was instrumental in developing the Urban Modeling and Simulation Lab in ASU’s College of Design. He also serves as the lead member of several research centers at ASU including the GeoDa Center for Geospatial Analysis and Computation, Decision Center for a Desert City, and the project on Sustainable Urban Systems, Technologies, and Infrastructure (SUSTaIn). He is an author of 5 books and monographs and over 70 scientific papers. His article on the interface between urban modeling and planning theory was awarded the Chester Rapkin Award for the best paper (1999) in Journal of Planning Education and Research. His editorial contributions include books such as "Integrated Urban and Environmental Models: A Survey of Current Applications and Research" (Springer-Verlag, 2003) and "Visualizing Sustainable Planning" (Springer 2009). He has held visiting appointments at the Center for Urban Spatial Analysis at University College London, the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, and at the Center for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. More recently, he held the German National Science Foundation (DFG) Mercator Guestprofessorship at Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Educational Background

1991 - Ph.D. (City and Regional Planning), University of California - Berkeley 

1987 - Master of Community and Regional Planning, Iowa State University - Ames

1985 - Bachelor of Architecture, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India


Geographic information systems


Planning support systems


International development


Research Ambitions

Given that the majority of the world's population now lives in cities, the key to future sustainability of the planet, most likely, will be found in better planning and organization of its urban regions (UH-HABITAT 2009). Knowledge of our climate and social-ecological systems has also grown rapidly, but this knowledge has yet to influence important decisions at all levels – from households to world leaders. I attribute this weak response in making strategic decisions to: 1) the hyper-complexity of the planetary human-social-ecological systems making it difficult to trace the aggregate impact of individual and collective choices; 2) lack of a decision framework to evaluate the costs of action and inaction; and 3) unavailability of appropriate mechanisms to easily evaluate alternative developmental scenarios. My research objectives addresses these challenges through research in the development of a computational infrastructure for assessing how decisions made about urban growth and change by urban actors (households, firms, civic leaders, etc.) relate to sustainability outcomes. In addition, I develop metrics and benchmarks for assessing the sustainability outcomes and seek out intuitive communication and visualization techniques to make them relevant to non-experts.

Research Groups/Labs

Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization (Georgia Tech)

Sustainable Urban Systems, Technologies, and Infrastructure (SUSTaIn lab – ASU)

Geoda Center for Geospatial Analysis and Computation (GeoDa – ASU)

Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC – ASU)

Recent Publications

Botchway, N., Guhathakurta, S., Lee, S. & Leous, A. (forthcoming). Quality of Life and Health in Atlanta. In H. Etienne and B. Faga (editors) Planning Atlanta. Chicago, IL: Planners Press.

McAslan, D. M. Prakash, D. Pijawka, S. Guhathakurta, and E. Sadalla. Measuring Quality of Life in Border Cities: The Border Observatory Project in the US-Mexico Border Region. In Community Quality-of-Life Indicators: Best Cases VI (edited by R. Phillips, S. Joseph, and D. Rahtz). Heidelberg: Springer, in press.

Golub, A., S. Guhathakurta, and B. Sollapuram. Spatial and temporal capitalization effects of light rail in Phoenix: from conception, planning, and construction to operation. Journal of Planning Education and Research. In Press.

Guhathakurta, S., Zhang, G., Pangaluru, M., & Sivakumar R. (2013) Walk Route: A new methodology to find the optimal walking route in the city of Atlanta. In Chapter 18: Planning Support Systems for Sustainable Urban Development (edited by S. Geertman). Heidelberg: Springer.

Zhang, Ge., Guhathakurta, S., Dai, G., Wu, L. & Yan, L. (2013). The control of land-use patterns for stormwater management at multiple spatial scales. Environmental Management 51(3).

Lee, S. and Guhathakurta, S. (2013) Bridging Environmental Sustainability and Quality of Life in Metropolitan Atlanta’s Urban Communities. In Chapter 9: Community Quality-of-Life Indicators: Best Cases VI (edited by R. Phillips, S. Joseph, and D. Rahtz). Heidelberg: Springer.

Guhathakurta, S. (2012). Examining Sustainability through Urban Models. In Understanding Sustainable Cities: Concepts, Cases and Solutions (Pijawka, D and M. Gromulat, eds.). Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.

Pijawka, D., S. Guhathakurta, E. Sadalla, K. Collins, M. Prakash, and D. McAslan.  Urban Indicators for Border Areas: Measuring and Tracking Community Conditions in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region. In Chapter 6, Remaking Metropolis: Global Challenges of the Urban Landscape. Edited by E. Cook and J. Lara. Routledge: 2012.

Engel, Daniel, Sebastian Petsch, Hans Hagen, and Subhrajit Guhathakurta. 2012. Neighborhood relation diagrams for local comparison of carbon footprints in urban planning. Information Visualization 11: 124-135.

Aggarwal, R. M., S. Guhathakurta, S. Grossman-Clarke, and V. Lathey. 2012. How do variations in Urban Heat Islands in space and time influence household water use?:  The case of Phoenix, Arizona. Water Resources Research 48 (6): W06518.

Frijia, Stephane, Subhrajit Guhathakurta, and Eric Williams. 2011. Functional unit, technological dynamics, and scaling properties for the life cycle energy of residences. Environ. Sci. Technol. 46 (3): 1782–1788. doi:10.1021/es202202q.

Guhathakurta, Subhrajit, and Hans Hagen. 2011. From the Guest Editors. Special Issue on “Planning Support Toolkits for Building Sustainable Communities”.  Journal of Urban Technology. 18 (4): 1–3. doi:10.1080/10630732.2011.648430.

Petsch, S., S. Guhathakurta, L. Heischbourg, K. Müller, and H. Hagen. 2011. Modeling, monitoring, and visualizing carbon footprints at the urban neighborhood scale. Journal of Urban Technology 18 (4): 81–96.

Guhathakurta, S., and Y. Cao. 2011. Variations in objective quality of urban life across a city region: the case of Phoenix. Investigating Quality of Urban Life: Theory, Methods, and Empirical Research 44: 135.

Guhathakurta, S. and Gober, P. (2010). Linking Urban Heat Islands to Water Use in Phoenix: A Path Analysis. Journal of Planning Education and Research. 30 (1) 40-51.

Myint, S., Jain, J., & Guhathakurta, S. (2010). Patterns and Rates of Land Use and Land Cover Change: A Case Study of Ambos Nogales (Arizona and Sonora) 1985 - 2004. Journal of Latin American Geography, 9(3): 245 - 274.

Mushkatel, A, Guhathakurta, S., Thompson, J.D., and Franczak, M. (2009). Housing Choice, Outcomes, and Neighborhood Characteristics in Seriously Mentally Ill/Homeless Housing Programs: Analysis of a Phoenix Survey of SMI/Homeless Population. International Journal of Public Administration, 33: 481-519.

Recent Funded Projects

Urban form and energy use explored through dynamic networked infrastructure model (with Prof. Eric Williams). National Science Foundation (Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation Award #1031690). 2011-2013.

Decision Center for a Desert City II: Urban Climate Adaptation. Co-Investigator (Pat Gober and Charles Redman, directors, together with other Co-Investigators). National Science Foundation: Decision Making Under Uncertainty (award #0951366). 2010-2015.

The Economic Impact of Phoenix Light Rail. Co-PI with Aaron Golub. Maricopa Association of Governments. 2009-2011.

Assessment of Perceptual and Objective Quality of Life Indicators in the U.S.-Mexico Border: Towards a Border-wide Longitudinal Database (San Diego-Tijuana Longitudinal Survey). Lead investigator with Co-principal Investigators David Pijawka and Edward Sadalla. Funded by Southwest Center for Environmental Research and Policy, US Environmental Protection Agency. 2006-2011.

Visualization of Large and Unstructured Data Sets Applications in Geospatial Planning, Modeling, and Engineering. Lead Personnel with International Research Training Group headed by Prof. Hans Hagen, Technische Universitat Kaiserslautern. Funded by Deutsche Forshungsgemeinschaft (German National Science Foundation). 2005-2014.

Digital Phoenix Project. Lead Principal Investigator and Research Coordinator (Management committee also consisting of Co-principal Investigators Yoshihiro Kobayashi, Janet Holsten, Tim Lant, and Mookesh Patel). Funded through Herberger Institute 2006-2009.


Recent Courses

PUP598 | Modeling and Simulating Urban Environments

CP 8300 | Advanced Urban & Regional Theory

Dissertations supervised 

Joonwon Joo (2008)

Vasudha Lathey (2008)

Ariane Middel (2009)