You are in section Faculty and Staff, in section Faculty Directory, on page Kareem M. Usher.

Kareem M. Usher, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, City and Regional Planning Section
292 Knowlton Hall

Dr. Kareem Usher is an assistant professor of city and regional planning in the Knowlton School. Dr. Usher received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, a Masters of Urban Planning degree from the University of Louisville also located in Louisville, and a doctoral degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. His research interests focus on urban food systems and he engages this topic at the intersection of food access, social justice, regional governance and community economic development. Dr. Usher’s work involves utilizing mixed-methods and community-based participatory research methodologies to explore perceived as well as objective measures of access to healthy food of food-insecure families in low-access (‘food gap’) communities.

These interests are currently being expressed through his work in communities regionally and internationally. Dr. Usher is currently leading a project in the (South) Linden neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio that aims to develop a ‘food processing hub’ that would provide employment for previously incarcerated persons while supporting Ohio State University’s efforts to increase the amount of local and sustainable food served to its students. He is also collaborating on a ‘food aggregator’ initiative in Mansfield, Ohio, and a project in the Toledo District of Belize where Dr. Usher and collaborators explore the drivers of food insecurity and agroecological change in the Maya milpas of southern Belize.

Affiliated Faculty Positions

Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT) – Discovery Theme
Environmental Sciences Graduate Program
Center for Latin American Studies
Food Innovation Center
Ohio Religion and Sustainability Speakers Bureau
Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
Center for African Studies
Humanitarian Development and Innovation
The STEAM Factory at The Ohio State University


CRPLAN 2110: Creating Innovative Cities and Regions
CRPLAN 3520: Planning Ethics
CRPLAN 5001: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 
CRPLAN 5798: Planning Study Abroad
CRPLAN 5880: Food as the Foundation for Sustainable Settlements
CRPLAN 6350: The Socially Just City 
CRPLAN 6970: International Development Studio

Recent Work

Measuring Changes in Maya Household Food Consumption in Belize

We are an international, transdisciplinary research team working with local farmers from three Mopan-Q’equchi’ Maya villages in the Toledo District of Southern Belize – Santa Cruz, Aguacate and Jalacte, and residents to develop new epistemologies to increase food security as we confront the impacts of climate change and urbanisation. The Maya milpa study explored the drivers influencing the change in forest ecology, its effects on milpa production and practices and food security in the three villages.

Selected Publications

Gragg, Richard, Anandhi, Aavudai, Jiru, Mintesinot and Usher, Kareem. 2018. A Conceptualization of the Urban Food-Energy-Water Nexus Sustainability Paradigm: Modeling from Theory to Practice. Frontiers in Environmental Science.


Usher, Kareem M. (2015). Valuing all knowledges through an expanded definition of access. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 5(4). 109-114.  


Sweeney, Glennon, Rogers, Christy, Hoy, Casey, Clark, Jill K., Usher, Kareem, Holley, Kip, & Spees, Colleen. (2015). Alternative agrifood projects in communities of color: A civic engagement perspective. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 5(4) 69-75.  


Kaiser, Michelle L., Usher, Kareem, & Spees, Colleen. (2015). Community food security strategies: An exploratory study of their potential for food insecure households with children. Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk, 6(2).


Gragg, Richard S., Mitchell, M. Miaisha, Usher, Kareem M., Schensul, Stephen, & Schensul, Jean. (2015). Collaboration of Community and University Scholars: Training in the transformation of research for community development. Practicing Anthropology, 37(4), 44-48.