Dr. Allison Lassiter’s research and teaching develop transformative methods for managing urban water resources in the context of climate change, from watershed-based approaches to “smart water” technologies. She implements interdisciplinary, mixed methods studies, drawing from economics, remote sensing, hydrology, systems engineering, and city planning. Her work currently focuses on evaluating the threat sea level rise poses to drinking water systems, prospective adaptation alternatives, and tools for improving uptake and implementation of alternatives. She complements her research by participating in national-level meetings on water management, such the U.S. EPA’s Creating Water Resilient Utilities water-finance workgroup or the Aspen Institute-Duke Nicholas School of the Environment Water Forum.
While her research primarily examines the United States, Dr. Lassiter’s work is increasingly global. Since 2019, she has joined Penn’s delegation to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties. She delivered a keynote address at the UNFCCC’s 2023 National Adaptation Planning (NAP) Expo on scaling adaptation of urban water with decentralized systems. She is developing a supplement to the NAP technical guidelines on transforming the water sector, targeted to the UN member Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and is co-leading a sub-group of the LDC Expert Group on monitoring and evaluating adaptation outcomes (NAP Tracking).
Dr. Lassiter has been featured in many popular media outlets, including The New York Times, Scientific American, and WHYY. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and her research is also supported by Microsoft and Group on Earth Observations (GEO)’s Planetary Credits Computer program, Pennsylvania Sea Grant, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Prior to coming to Penn, Dr. Lassiter received a BS in Computational Biology from Cornell, Masters in City Planning from MIT, a PhD in Environmental Planning from UC Berkeley, and was a postdoctoral research fellow in Economics at Monash University, working with Australia’s CRC for Water Sensitive Cities.
At Penn, she teaches classes on water policy (final projects here), sustainable cities, and smart cities (Introduction to Smart Cities readings here, Sensing the City labs and final projects here). Dr. Lassiter is a recipient of the G. Holmes Perkins Teaching Award.