Mikhail Chester is leading research efforts to develop an understanding of how urban systems have been deployed, frameworks for assessing their energy and environmental impacts, and strategies for transitioning infrastructure systems for twenty-first century needs. His goal is to develop the science for understanding how embedded infrastructure design enables the emergent behaviors that we often consider to be unsustainable, and for analyzing and breaking path dependencies that will aid in transitioning to lower energy and environmental impact futures.
His graduate work through 2008 largely focused on transportation infrastructure and since then he has focused more broadly on the interface of infrastructure and urbanization processes. Approximately half of his work is focused on the assessment of transportation systems and the other half land use, water, and energy systems, including their interdependencies. He has begun studying the role that infrastructure plays in contributing to extreme heat events in the U.S. Southwest. His long-term research goals are to advance understanding of how urban infrastructure design should balance the life-cycle benefits and costs of integrated systems with sensitivity to social-equity, economic growth, and future climate-constraints.
He holds a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from University of California, Berkeley.