Ryan James

Research Emphases

Regional Development, Location Analysis, Spatial Models, Urban and Regional Planning, GIS

Specific Research Endeavors

I am a broadly trained economic geographer, holding graduate degrees in Geography and City and Regional Planning. The insights and approaches from both disciplines shape my research, teaching and service. As a geographer, I am interested in understanding how regions grow and interact in the spatial economy. As a planner, I engage the community, bring those insights to locally focused research and help inform local development policy. My current scholarly research utilizes spatially explicit models and GIS to capture multiple theories of development, while accounting for local context and policy action. Similarly, my engaged work utilizes GIS and analytic methods to helping inform the planning process in the DeKalb area.

Frequently Taught Courses

GEOG 204: Geography of Economic Activities
GEOG 256/556: Maps and Mapping/Fundamentals of Mapping
GEOG 455: Land Use Planning
GEOG 459/559: Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 464/564: Location Analysis
GEOG 490/690: Community Geography
GEOG 601: Practice of Geography
GEOG 659: Regional Planning
GEOG 661: Advanced Quantitative Methods for Geographic Research
GEOG 662: Advanced Urban Geography
GEOG 663: Geographic Research Procedures
GEOG 664: Advanced Economic Geography
GEOG 761: Advanced Spatial Modeling and Regression Techniques
GEOG 790: Advanced Seminar

Publications (Peer Reviewed)

2016    James, R. D., Campbell, H.S.  Exploring the Role of Unearned and Non-Wage Income on Regional Income Convergence. Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy 46 (2), 110-131.

2016    James, A. C., James, R.D.  Economic Change and Regional Overlap: Did Being Appalachian Influence County Level Economic Change During the Rust Belt – Sun Belt Transition? Journal of Appalachian Studies 22 (2), 160-186.

2016    Campbell, Jr., H. S., James, R. D., Kunkle, G. M. Sustained Firm Growth and Regional Income Convergence. Papers in Applied Geography, 2 (1), 49-65.

2015    James, R. D., Sharp, B. M.  Regional Income Growth in Illinois: Exploring the Role of Urbanization, Innovation, and Wages. Illinois Geographer, 57 (1), 19-46.

2015    James, R. D., James, A. C.  Regional Income Convergence in Appalachia: Exploring the Factors of Regional Economic Growth in a Transitioning Economy. Southeastern Geographer, 55 (2), 166-194.

2014    James, R. D., Campbell, H. S. The Impact of Space and Scale on Conditional Convergence: Test Results From the United States 1970-2004. Annals of GIS, 20 (1), 11-21.

2013    James, R. D., Moeller, D. J. Income Convergence, Product Cycles, and Space: Exploring How Wages Influence Growth in the Spatial Economy. Industrial Geographer, 10, 1-29.

2013    James, R. D., Campbell, H. S. The effects of space and scale on unconditional beta convergence: test results from the United States, 1970–2004. GeoJournal, 78 (5), 803-815.

2010    James, R. Where is the South? Using Beta Convergence to Define a Fuzzy Region. Southeastern Geographer, 53(3), 346-365.

Book Review

In Press     James, R.D. Review of Calculating Property Relations: Chicago’s Wartime Industrial Mobilization, 1940-1950, Wilson, Robert, University of Georgia Press. Illinois Geographer.

Research Reports and Planning Documents (Student Co-Authors Underlined)

2017    Al-Yasiri, E., Cooper, B., Dahlgren, S.,  James, A.C., James, R. D., Miller, R., Rafter, A., Seijas-Clark, C. Planning for Accessibility and Usage of Welsh Park. DeKalb: DeKalb Park District.

2016    Al-Yasiri, E., Bennett, N., Eichleberg, I., Irizarry, A., James, R., Lobbezoo, J., Ocasio, R., Taylor, M.  Food Pantries in DeKalb, Il: Are They Accessible?  DeKalb: DeKalb Community Gardens.

2014    Anderson, C., Guderley, S., James, R., Laurinaitis, M., Long, D., Ochalek, J.  Visioning South Fourth Street: Developing Goals and Action Strategies.  DeKalb: City of DeKalb.

2013    Campbell, H. S., James, R. D., Kunkle, G. M. Firm Growth and Regional Income Convergence Is There a Connection?. Cassopolis, MI: Edward Lowe Foundation.


Associate Professor

Office: Davis Hall 203


Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Contact Us

Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences
Davis Hall, Room 118
815-753-6872 (Fax)

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