Interdisciplinary and Global Studies

Contact Information

Project Center, 211b
Phone: +1-508-831-5522

Robert Hersh

Before coming to WPI in 2004,  Bob worked for a number of years as a Fellow at Resources for the Future, a non-profit organization in Washington, DC that conducts research and policy analysis on environmental quality and natural resources,  and as the Brownfields Director at the Center for Public Environmental Oversight (CPEO).  His broad substantive interests include regional food systems, contaminated site cleanup and revitalization, community participation in environmental decision-making, ethnographic filmmaking, and more recently, development projects in squatter settlements in Southern Africa.  His research has been sponsored by foundations, thinks tanks, and federal agencies.

At WPI, Bob directs the Sustainable Food Systems Project Center, advises off campus projects in Africa, and teaches a research methods course that prepares students for project work when they go abroad.  He enjoys the collegiality of his IGSD colleagues and admires their commitment to student learning.  In his own teaching and project advising, he enjoys working with students and seeing them progress as they become more engaged in the social, cultural, and intellectual demands of their projects. 

Research Interests

  • food systems
  • community development
  • participatory video
  • brownfields revitalization
  • shack settlement upgrading


  • B.A. Sussex University
  • M.A. University of Michigan
  • M.A. Tufts University
  • Certificate in Environmental Management Concentration in Landscape Ecology United Nations Environmental Programme

Featured Publications

  •  Michael Elmes, Scott Jiusto, Gail Whiteman, Robert Hersh, & Greig Guthey, “Teaching Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation from the Perspective of Place and Place-Making”, Academy of Management Learning & Education  Vol 11 (3), September 2012
  • Robert Hersh, Using Historical Records to Assess Environmental Conditions at Community Gardens, Center for Public Environmental Oversight, Mountain View, CA. 2012
  • Robert Hersh, A Community Guidebook to Brownfields Cleanup and Redevelopment, American Planning Association, (Chicago, IL: APA Press) 2010
  • Robert Hersh, Taking Root: Land Tenure and Community Gardens in Providence, Rhode Island, Center for Public Environmental Oversight: Mountain View, CA 2010

Labs and Centers

  • Sustainable Food Systems Project Center

Professional Highlights

  • United Nations Environmental Protection (UNEP) Fellowship
  • Member of Federal Advisory Committee to implement the “All Appropriate Inquiry” provision of the Brownfields Revitalization Act
  • Email a Friend
  • Bookmark this Page
  • Share this Page