Catherine Brinkley

Catherine Brinkley

Position Title
Assistant Professor

Community & Regional Development


Research Interests
• Community Food: Healthy Food Access, Farm-City Networks, One Health
• Community Energy: On-Farm Clean Energy Solutions, Sustainable Development

As a veterinarian (VMD) and a city planner (PhD), I approach community health through the lens of One Health, considering health shared among humans, animals and the environment. The Urban Planning background gives my research a focus on place-based policies and interventions. The veterinary training underpins a whole systems approach. How we grow and distribute food has a profound impact on the health of the planet. Similarly, diversifying our reliance on renewable energy can help ease some of the demands we have on our resources and communities.

As such, my research is primarily focused on integrating agricultural ecosystems services with urban areas. I have developed several lines of inquiry investigating value-added agricultural networks which create opportunities, such as local food security and peri-urban on-farm clean energy solutions. I am currently mapping local food sales and value-added farm amenities to end users, generating a rural-urban integration land-use model, which is tested nationally through multivariate spatial regression in GIS. I connect this regional work with local field work on fresh food access and cost in low-income neighborhoods.

I am also investigating district heating. In district heating, instead of every building having its own boiler, heat is produced and then distributed through pipelines to buildings. District heating can be 80% more efficient than traditional heating and electric systems. Many countries that have broadly adopted district heating have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions, diversified their energy portfolio with more renewable energy options, and can make use of locally harvested biomass, such as forest and agricultural byproducts.

My research is bolstered by the Inspiration Award (2009), the largest monetary award in the veterinary profession ($100,000); a Fulbright Fellowship (2005); and a Watson Fellowship (2004).

Select Publications

Brinkley, C. (2014). Decoupled: successful planning policies in countries that have reduced per capita GHG emissions with continued economic growth, Environment and Planning C. 32(6): 1083-1099.

Vitiello, D and Brinkley, C (2014). Hidden History of Food System Planning, Journal of Planning History. 13(2): 91-112.

Brinkley, C and Vitiello, D (2014). From Farm to Nuisance: Animal Agriculture and the Rise of Planning Regulation, Journal of Planning History. 13(2): 113-135.

Brinkley, C, Chrisinger, B, and Hillier, A. (2013). Tradition of Healthy Food Access in Low-income Neighborhoods: Price and Variety of Produce Vending Compared to Conventional Retail, Journal of Agriculture Food Systems and Community Development. 41(11): 155-169.

Brinkley, C. (2013): Avenues into Food Planning: A Review of Scholarly Food System Research, International Planning Studies. 18(2): 243-266.

Brinkley, C., Birch, E., and Keating, A. (2013). Feeding cities: Charting a research and practice agenda toward food security. Journal of Agriculture, Planning, Food Systems and Community Development. 34(8): 81-87.

Brinkley, C. (2012). Evaluating the Benefits of Peri-Urban Agriculture. Journal of Planning Literature. 27(3). 259-269.

World Livestock 2012: Livestock in Food Security. (2011). Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.


Veterinary Medical Degree. University of Pennslyvania.


Ph.D., City and Regional Planning. University of Pennslyvania.


M.S., Virology. Göteborg University, Sweden.


B.A., Biology and Russian Area Studies. Wellesley College.

Curriculum Vitae

Faculty CV