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Buffalo Co-Lab

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Buffalo Co-Lab advances an equitable economy and democratic community, collaboratively integrating scholarly and practical understanding to strengthen civic action.

Buffalo Gains Economic Geographer

Economic Geographer Russell Weaver

Russell S. Weaver, PhD, has been named Economic Geographer, Senior Extension Associate, in the ILR Buffalo Co-Lab. Russell has a M.A. in Economics and a Ph.D. in Geography from SUNY at Buffalo. He comes to Cornell ILR from Texas State University, where he has been an assistant professor of geography since 2014.

Russell is the lead author of Shrinking Cities: Understanding Urban Decline in the United States (NY: Routledge, 2016) with S. Bagchi-Sen, J. Knight, and A. Frazier. His research portfolio includes 37 articles in refereed journals, including Applied Mathematics, Berkeley Planning Journal, New Urban Research, Ecological Economics, The Review of Regional Studies, Journal of Geography, Urban Science, and National Civic Review. He serves on the Review Board for the Journal of Extension.

The winner of multiple teaching excellence awards, Russell’s teaching includes courses on community geography/community development, quantitative data analysis, community planning and design, GIS and spatial thinking, and collaboration for the creation of a spatial studies minor.

Among other relevant professional experience, Russell was In-house Social Scientist/Statistician for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Washington, D.C., responsible for designing and analyzing group voting behavior using GIS tools, spatial and conventional statistical methods, communicated in policy briefs and reports regarding proposed law changes. He has also worked as staff for local elected officials in Western New York, including as senior legislative aid, with focus on neighborhood and community development, including full-time employment while completing graduate studies. Working as AmeriCorps VISTA site supervisor in Buffalo, he co-founded CityCorps, a partnership between the Buffalo Common Council and WNY AmeriCorps, to provide citizens with resources including GIS maps and spatial data. He was previously a visiting assistant professor of geographic Information science and environmental studies at University of Redlands, where he leveraged GIS to monitor environmental issues in distressed communities in southern California.

Russell is a member of American Association of Geographers, International Society of Ecological Economics, Community Development Society, Omicron Delta Epsilon (International Economics Honor Society), Appalachian Studies Association and Rural Sociological Society. He has a record of many research and consulting collaborations with local and state governments, community organizations, and professional and policy organizations.

This new position with ILR Buffalo Co-Lab will focus on the economy of Western New York State, analyzed within the context of both NYS and U.S. trends, and through the lens of improving sustainable economic development, bettering the lives of those who work, and creating a more equitable, inclusive regional economy.

Russell (Rusty) will be in residence in Buffalo beginning July 2019. Meanwhile, he can be reached at