Julie L Cidell

 Julie Cidell

Contact Information

251 CAB
605 E Springfield
Champaign, IL 61820

Office Hours

  • Wed. 2-4 P.M.
Associate Professor
View CV


Julie Cidell is a native of the Chicago area with a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Minnesota.  She has published papers on airport expansion, the suburban logistics landscape, the geography of chocolate, and green buildings.  She has worked as a transportation engineer in Boston and taught physical geography in northern and southern California.  Currently, she is an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where her work focuses on two main areas: the political economy of transportation, and green buildings and public policy.

Research Interests

  • transportation
  • green buildings
  • urban sustainability
  • urban political ecology

Research Description

At the broadest level, my research in urban, political, and economic geography focuses on urban infrastructure, specifically transportation and green buildings. Using the theoretical frameworks of cultural economy and urban political ecology, I ask how local government and individual actors matter in struggles over large-scale infrastructure and policy development and the corresponding environments that are produced. I incorporate insights from cultural economy on how economic and cultural activities are intertwined and from urban political ecology on the discursive and material construction of urban environments. In so doing, I seek to broaden the study of transportation within the discipline of geography and to understand how changes in urban sustainability go hand in hand with changes in urban governance.


  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota
  • M.A., University of Minnesota
  • B.A., University of Chicago

Distinctions / Awards

  • Beckman Fellow, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois, 2012-13
  • Finalist, Nystrom Award, Association of American Geographers


  • "The Conventions of Building Green: The Role of Public Policy in the U.S. Green Building Industry." National Science Foundation


  • GEOG 105, The Digital Earth
  • GEOG 204, Cities of the World
  • GEOG 379, Intro to GIS
  • GEOG 465, Transportation and Sustainability
  • GEOG 587, Qualitative Research Methods
  • GEOG 595, Graduate Research Seminar

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

. Spatial variation among green building certification categories: Does place matter? A rejoinder to Pushkar Landscape and Urban Planning 112 2013.
The effect of municipal policy on U.S. green building activity Journal of Planning and Environmental Management 2013.
When runways move but people don’t: the O’Hare Modernization Program and the relative immobilities of air travel Mobilities 2013.
Fear of a foreign railroad: transnationalism and (im)mobility in Chicago’s suburbs Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 37 4 2012, p. 593-608.
Cidell, Julie Flows and pauses in the urban logistics landscape: the municipal regulation of shipping container mobilities Mobilities 7 2 2012, p. 233-246.
Cidell, Julie Just passing through: the risky mobilities of hazardous waste transport Social Geography 7 2012, p. 13-22.
Cidell, Julie Distribution centers among the rooftops: the global logistics network meets the suburban spatial imaginary International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 35 4 2011, p. 832-851.
Content clouds as a method of exploratory qualitative data analysis Area 42 4 2010, p. 514-523.
A political ecology of the built environment: LEED certification for green buildings Local Environment 14 7 2009, p. 621-633.
Cidell, Julie Building Green: The Geography of LEED-Certified Buildings and Professionals Professional Geographer 61 2 2009.
Concentration and Decentralization: The New Geography of Freight Distribution in U.S. Metropolitan Areas Journal of Transport Geography doi:10.1016/j.jtrangeo 2009.06.017 2009.
Cidell, Julie, Heike Alberts, and John Bowen Missed opportunities: The restructuring of Berlin's airport system and the city's position in international airline networks. Regional Studies 43 5 2009, p. 739-758.
Cidell, Julie, and Alexander Beata Spatial Variation Among Green Building Certification Categories: Does Place Matter? Landscape and Urban Planning 91 3 2009, p. 142- 151.
Cidell, Julie Challenging the contours: critical cartography, local knowledge, and airport noise. Environment and Planning A, 40 5 2008, p. 1202-1218.
Air transportation, airports, and the discourses and practices of globalization Urban Geography 27 7 2006, p. 651-663.
Alberts, Heike, and Julie Cidell Chocolate consumption, manufacturing, and quality in Europe and North America Geography 91 3 2006, p. 218-226.
Cidell, Julie, and Heike Alberts Economy, culture, and the multi-national histories of chocolate Geoforum 37 6 2006, p. 999-1007.
Cidell, Julie O’Hare International Airport and Land Use Compatibility Bulletin of the Illinois Geographical Society 48 1 2006, p. 1-19.
Cidell, Julie The place of the individual in the politics of scale Area 38 2 2006, p. 196-203.
Cidell, Julie The Regionalization of Air Travel in Central New England Journal of Transport Geography 14 1 2006, p. 23-34.
Cidell, Julie Rethinking the Economic Impacts of Mega-Projects: The Spatial Distribution of Airport-Related Economic Development Critical Planning Journal 11 2004.
The Conversion of Military Bases to Civilian Airports: Existing Conversions and Future Possibilities Journal of Transport Geography 11 2 2003, p. 93-102.

Book Contributions

Cidell, Julie From hinterland to distribution center: the Chicago region’s shifting gateway function Cities and Flows edited by Peter Hall, compiled by Markus Hesse. From hinterland to distribution center: the Chicago region’s shifting gateway function Edited by Peter Hall, Compiled by Markus Hesse, New York Routledge 2012.

Encyclopedia Entries

“Environmental Imaginaries,” “Green Buildings,” and “Transportation Geography.” Encyclopedia of Geography London SAGE Publications 2010.