Susan Hanson, Professor Emerita at Clark University, is an urban geographer with interests in transportation, gender and economy, local labor markets, and sustainability. Her research has examined the relationship between the urban built environment and people’s everyday mobility within cities; within this context, questions of access to opportunity, and how gender affects access, have been paramount. Her publications include Ten Geographic Ideas that Changed the World (Rutgers University Press), Gender, Work, and Space (with Geraldine Pratt) (Routledge), The Geography of Urban Transportation (4 editions) (Guilford Press), journal articles, and book chapters. Hanson has edited several academic journals including The Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Urban Geography, and Economic Geography and has been the geography editor of the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1st and 2nd editions. She has led the School of Geography at Clark, served as president of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), and is a former Guggenheim Fellow, a recipient of the Honors Award and of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the AAG and of the Van Cleef Medal from the American Geographic Society. In 2000 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the NAS.

Research Interests

As a geographer I have concentrated on the relationship between people and the urban built environment in two detailed studies. The first, on people's everyday travel-activity patterns, examined the way that different groups make use of the city and showed how urban spatial structure configures household travel. This study reconceptualized travel as being rooted in spatially and temporally complex activity patterns. The second, on gender and urban labor markets, focused on occupational segregation, geographic opportunity structures, and connections between work and home. This study identified the spatial processes by which individuals, households, and firms--through their daily rounds of interactions--create and maintain labor market inequalities. It also developed the concept of geographic rootedness and demonstrated its importance by documenting how conditions of fixed location shape human capital formation and the emergence of segmented labor markets. My current work is proceeding along two lines: One seeks to understand how gender, geographic opportunity structures, and geographic rootedness affect entrepreneurship in cities. The other seeks to understand the emergence of sustainable versus unsustainable practices in urban areas.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 64: Human Environmental Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 53: Social and Political Sciences