Sarah Hinners

Assistant Professor – Research
Acting Director, Ecological Planning Center


Sarah Hinners is a landscape and urban ecologist. She holds a B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies from McGill University and a PhD. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. As a scientist in a planning department, she sees her role as bridging the gap between research and real-world applications. As Acting Director of the Ecological Planning Center, she works closely with natural scientists, engineers, planners and community partners to find innovative ways to build cities that are economically, socially and ecologically healthy, functional, resilient and equitable. She teaches Principles of Ecology for Planners in the Urban Ecology core curriculum.

Dr. Hinners’ research interests focus on the ecological, economic and social roles and value of green infrastructure in and around cities. Her PhD. research examined the effects of suburban development and preservation of suburban open space on the community ecology of wild bees in the Denver, Colorado metropolitan area. Currently, she is working on mechanisms that facilitate inclusion of ecological land cover data and green stormwater infrastructure in urban growth scenario planning. In addition, she works with community partners to integrate green infrastructure tools and plans into local planning processes.

Within the Metropolitan Research Center, Dr. Hinners has been involved in coordinating the development of the planning software Envision Tomorrow Plus, and continues to explore new avenues and applications for ET+, including water supply and demand modeling and climate scenarios. With colleagues A.C. Nelson and Michael Larice, she is also working on a new project, funded by HUD’s 2013 Sustainable Communities Initiative, which examines the economic, affordability and quality of life outcomes of several modern North American streetcar projects.

While in graduate school, Dr. Hinners co-authored a lab manual of animal behavior and her research has been published in a variety of ecological journals. She is married to a molecular biologist, the mother of two lively boys, and an avid (although not expert) urban gardener and beekeeper.