Faculty Bio: Mehdi Pourpeikari Heris

Mehdi Heris
Assistant Professor

Room #:
1645 HW

(212) 772-5518


Urban data analytics, applied GIS, urban heat and microclimates, and urban form policy analysis

Common Courses Taught

URBG 710: Urban Data Analysis
URBP 787: Introduction to GIS for Urban Policy and Planning
URBP 787.1M: Advanced GIS for Urban Environmental Analysis
URBP 787.1N: Designing Resilient Cities


Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Design, University of Colorado Denver
M.A. in Planning Research & Theory, University of Sheffield, UK
M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning, University of Tehran, Iran


Mehdi Heris is an Assistant Professor in Urban Policy and Planning at Hunter College. His broad research is focused on bridging the science of urban ecosystems with planning policies and processes. Mehdi collaborates with city planners in multiple cities, including the City of New York, Denver, CO, and Cambridge, MA, to develop policies regarding heat mitigation and green infrastructure.

In his research, he explores how urban form regulations and planning procedures impact environmental variables such as urban heat. Mehdi teaches geospatial methods for urban form and policy analysis and mentors students in using GIScience and programming for planning applications.

As an expert in the application of geospatial sciences in urban environments, he has done extensive research on the environmental benefits (heat mitigation, rainfall interception, and air quality) of urban trees by building open-source national-scale models. He has published several datasets, including a national rasterized building dataset and Denver’s tree cover.

As a primary investigator, Mehdi leads a project that has received funding from NASA’s Earth Science Division Applied Sciences Program through their Equity and Environmental Justice funding program. This project started in Fall 2022 and is about building an Urban Heat Mitigation Portal for the City of New York and Jersey City. The New York City’s Mayor’s Office for Climate and Environmental Justice (MOCEJ), the department of City Planning of Jersey City, and community groups such as WE ACT for Environmental Justice are partnering with Hunter College in this project. Mehdi is also leading a project which involves the analysis of NYC’s roofscapes, which is funded by the PCS CUNY Research Award program. The project mapped the roof reflectivity and morphology of all buildings in New York. His work has been published in Landscape and Urban PlanningJournal of Planning Education and Research; Ecosystem Services, Scientific DataRemote Sensing; and Regional Studies, Regional Science.