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316 Gladfelter Hall
1115 W. Berks St.



Environmental policy, Land use, Japan, Asia, Protected areas


Robert J. Mason holds an MA in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Toronto, and received his PhD in Geography from Rutgers University in 1986. He joined Temple’s Department of Geography and Urban Studies in 1986, following a short period as visiting lecturer at Ohio State University. He taught for several years at Temple University Japan in Tokyo. After returning to the Main Campus in Philadelphia, he became Director of the new program in Environmental Studies. During the 2004-05 academic year, Dr. Mason was on leave from Temple, holding the Bryant Drake Guest Professorship in the Department of Biosphere Sciences at Kobe College in Nishinomiya, Japan.

Dr. Mason’s research and teaching focus on environmental policymaking and land-use management. He is the author of Collaborative Land Use Management: The Quieter Revolution in Place-Based Planning (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), Contested Lands: Conflict and Compromise in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens (Temple University Press, 1992) and–with cartographer Mark Mattson–the Atlas of United States Environmental Issues (Macmillan, 1990). Professor Mason also has written articles and book chapters about metropolitan growth management, greenline parks (parks with a mix of public and privately-owned lands), conservation land trusts, and management issues in New York State’s Adirondack Park and New Jersey’s Pinelands National Reserve. His current interests include evolving policy responses to environmental shocks, Delaware River watershed issues, metropolitan growth management, suburban sprawl, and protected areas at the state (New Jersey, Pennsylvania), regional, and national levels in the United States.

Additional Japan and China interests include the evolving role of Japan’s citizen environmental organizations at the national level, metropolitan land use and sprawl issues in China, and management of Japan’s Shirakami Sanchi World Heritage Area. Shirakami Sanchi is an area of ancient beech forest situated in the Tohoku region of northern Japan. Dr. Mason holds a special visiting faculty appointment at Northeastern University in Shenyang, China. Professor Mason teaches courses in basic human-environment interactions, environmental policy issues in the United States, environmental problems in Asia, political ecology, environmental impact assessment, and environmental aspects of tourism.

Selected Publications

  • Mason, Robert J. 2015. Preservation and Preemption in Northern Japan’s Shirakami Sanchi World Heritage AreaManagement of Environmental Quality 26(3): 448-465.
  • Zou, Yonghua, Robert Mason, and Ruijun Zhong. 2015.Modeling the Evolution of Post-Olympic Beijing: An Empirical Analysis of Land Prices and Development Intensity. Urban Geography 36.
  • Mason, Robert J. 2014. Japan’s Evolving Civic Environmentalism. In Liam Leonard and Sya Kedzior, eds.,Occupy the Earth: Global Environmental Movements (Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing), 37-61.
  • Zou, Yonghua, Wanxia Zhao, and Robert J. Mason. 2014.Marketization of Collective-Owned Rural Land: A Breakthrough in Shenzen, China. Sustainability 6: 9114-9123.
  • Mandarano, Lynn and Robert J. Mason. 2013. Adaptive Management and Governance of Delaware River Water Resources. Water Policy 15(3): 364-385.
  • Mason, Robert J. 2012. Metropolitan Philadelphia: Sprawl, Shrinkage, and Sustainability. In Brian C. Black and Michael J. Chiarappa, eds., Nature’s Entrepôt: Philadelphia’s Urban Sphere and its Environmental Thresholds (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press), 187-206.
  • Gladfelter, Sierra and Robert J. Mason. 2012. Beyond Boundaries: An Assessment of the Yosemite National Park Geotourism Initiative. Special Issue of Tourism Planning & Development on Rural Tourism 9(4): 355-368.
  • Ying, Tang, Robert J. Mason, and Ping Sun. 2012. Interest Distribution in the Process of Coordination of Urban and Rural Construction Land in China. Habitat International 36(3): 388-395.
  • Mason, Robert J. 2011. Ecoregional Planning: Retreat or Reinvention? Journal of Planning Literature 26(4): 405-419.
  • Mason, Robert J. and Liliya Nigmatullina. 2011. Suburbanization and Sustainability in Metropolitan Moscow. Geographical Review 101(3): 316-333.
  • Mason, Robert J. 2008. Collaborative Land Use Management: The Quieter Revolution in Place-Based Planning. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Mason, Robert J. 1992. Contested Lands: Conflict and Compromise in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  • Mason, Robert J. and Mark Mattson (cartographer). 1990. Atlas of United States Environmental Issues. New York: Macmillan. Received American Library Association Dartmouth Medal for Outstanding Reference Work.

Courses Taught

  • Political Ecology (graduate, undergraduate)
  • Hazards Geography (graduate, undergraduate)
  • U.S. Environmental Policy Seminar (graduate)
  • Environmental Policy Issues
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Watershed-Level Environmental Education (graduate)
  • Problems of Environmental Quality (graduate/undergraduate)
  • Senior Research Seminar in Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Problems in Asia
  • Environmental Issues in Japan
  • Geography of Travel and Tourism
  • Research Methods (Environmental Impact Assessment) in Environmental Studies
  • Research Design in Environmental Studies
  • Research/Field Methods (Geography & Urban Studies)
  • Sustainable Environments
  • Environment and Society (and similar courses under other titles)
  • Introduction to Physical Geography (including laboratory supervision)
  • Nature and the Metropolis
  • American Places: Home, City, Region
  • Geography of U.S. and Canada
  • World Regional Geography
  • World Urban Patterns
  • Introduction to Geography
  • Urban Studies Internship