Sungmin Lee, PhD

Assistant Professor (Affiliate)

Plant Science and Landscape Architecture

Research Interests

My research areas lie in healthy and safe environments, focusing on environmental and design strategies to create healthy places and defensive design strategies to reduce environmental barriers to healthy living. Safe and health neighborhoods where people live, work, and play are the prerequisite for individual health and well-being. My research goal is to understand the underlying factors that influence health and safety of individuals and to identify environmental facilitators and barriers to healthy living. I have actively participated in several research projects funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and Scott and White Hospital, focusing on the relationships between built environments and physical activities across the life-course. My specialty is to generate and analyze both micro-scale environmental variables captured through audit tools and macro-scale variables through the Geographic Information System (GIS). My future research agenda includes healthy aging and safe environments, health disparities and environmental inequalities, active transportation for children, and healthy food environments and obesity.

As the neighborhood environments where people live, work, and play are heavily associated individual health behavior, it is important to collaborate together among health professionals, psychologists, and urban planners to promote community health. My current/future research on the relationship between built environment and health has rooted on the Social Determinants of Health focusing on a broad range of socioeconomic and environmental health. This research approach is consistent with InCHIP’s mission highlighting the multidisciplinary research, which can promote the creation of new scientific knowledge and theoretical frameworks

Also, my research on design and health highlights that key environmental design changes (e.g., improving street conditions, increasing proximity to park, promoting neighborhood safety, etc.) can be applied in neighborhood environments to promote active health behavior. The findings from the research on design and health can be easily disseminated to stakeholders, designers, educators, and policy makers by providing the evidence-based design to promote health and wellness.


PhD, Texas A&M University (Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning), 2018
MLA, Seoul National University (Landscape Architecture and Rural Systems Engineering), 2009
BS, Seoul National University (Landscape Architecture and Rural Systems Engineering), 2007


Lee, S., Lee, C., Ory, M. G., Won, J., Towne, S. D., Wang, S., and Forjuoh, S. N. (2017) Fear of Outdoor Falling among Community-Dwelling Middle-Aged and Older Adults: The Role of Neighborhood Environments, The Gerontologist, gnx123.

Lee, S., Lee, C., and Rodiek, S. (2017) Neighborhood Factors and Fall-Related Injuries among Older Adults Seen by Emergency Medical Service Providers. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(2), 163.

Towne, S. D., Won, J., Lee, S., Ory, M. G., Forjuoh, S. N., Wang, S., and Lee, C. (2016) Using Walk Score™ and Neighborhood Perceptions to Assess Walking among Middle-Aged and Older Adults. Journal of Community Health, 41(5), 977-988.

Sungmin Lee
Contact Information
Phone(860) 486-0892
Mailing Address1376 Storrs Road, Unit 4067 Room 113, Storrs, Connecticut 06269-4067