Mehdi Heris
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Colorado Denver

While pursuing his PhD in design and planning at the University of Colorado Denver, Mehdi P. Heris also contributed to several research projects in the Program in Environmental Design and Urban Futures Lab at CU Boulder.  Mehdi's main research focus includes urban policy analysis and the ways policies influence urban form, environment and climate. He extensively uses GIS to evaluate the built environment and policy effects. In his dissertation, he explores the ways planning and design regulations, such as zoning and design guidelines can influence the micro-climate of cities. To link planning and design knowledge with the physics of climate, energy modeling, remote sensing, and GIS, he develops geo-spatial processes using Python and open source libraries, such as GDAL, Numpy, Gh (Rhino-Grasshopper), Scipy, matplotlib, and PySal. Applying the experience he gained as a professional GIS analyst and as a planning and design researcher, he remains committed to the promotion of geo-spatial data analyses and methods for the critical evaluation of policy and environment.

Mehdi began his undergrad studies in urban planning at the University of Tehran in 1999. He obtained his master’s degree in urban and regional planning at the same school. For his master’s thesis he modeled pedestrian movement using agent-based modeling to simulate pedestrian relations with land use and density. In 2007, he was granted the Chevening Scholarship by the British Council to undertake graduate studies in planning research and theory at the University of Sheffield. His master’s thesis was a comparative study of intensification policies in Tehran, London and Auckland. After finishing his masters degree, he went back to Iran and worked as a GIS analyst and planner in planning consulting firms. In 2011, he started the doctoral program in Planning and Design at University of Colorado at Denver.



  • Heris, Mehdi P., Ariane Middel and Brian Muller. 2020. Impacts of form and design policies on urban microclimate: Assessment of zoning and design guideline choices in urban redevelopment projects. Landscape and Urban Planning. 202: 103870.
  • Heris, Mehdi P.Brian Muller and Alana M. Wilson. 2019. Why Planning Matters in Microclimate Management and Urban Heat Mitigation. Journal of Planning Education and Research