Meet a Social Scientist: Dr. Michael Duncan from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning

What is your name?
Dr. Michael Duncan.

What kind of work do you do in the College?
I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida State University. I teach, do research and engage in service in the department, profession and community.

Why did you decide to become an academic?

After being a decent but apathetic student in high school, I was surprised to find out how much I enjoyed college and how well I was doing in my classes. I particularly enjoyed my anthropology and human geography courses that focused on the relationship between human behavior and settlement patterns. During my freshman year, even before I had decided on a major, I decided I wanted go as far as I could with my education and pursue an academic career where I could continue to study for a living.

What do you find most fulfilling about your job?

There are two things that I find equally fulfilling:

1)  I occasionally hear from practicing transportation planners about how my research has influenced their work. As urban planning is a highly applied field, the goal for our research is to inform practice, and it is highly gratifying when this happens.

2) There are some key issues in the field of transportation planning where the conventional wisdom is misguided. I have the opportunity to help educate future planning professionals about the flaws with the conventional wisdom so that they are in position to improve these practices.

What are you working on or teaching right now that has your excited professionally?

My teaching and research have focused on bike planning for several years now, but the increasing popularity of e-bikes has reinvigorated my interest in this area. I personally purchased an e-bike about two years ago (before the pandemic), and I have seen firsthand the potential e-bike to replace car trips with more sustainable travel. I look forward to expanding my research and teaching to address how we plan for the increased adoption and usage of e-bikes.

Michael Duncan | Department of Urban & Regional Planning

Dr. Michael Duncan is a Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida State University. His research interests include transportation planning and policy, transportation and land use connections, station area planning, bike/pedestrian planning, and travel behavior. You can learn more about Dr. Duncan here.

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