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Kwame Owusu Daaku

Dr. Kwame Owusu-Daaku

  • Position: Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator
  • Department: Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Office Location: Building 13, Room 317
  • Campus: 850.474.3314


Kwame N. Owusu-Daaku, an Associate Professor, is a qualitative researcher with interests in human geography, urban planning, and international development. He teaches courses related to human geography, environmental management and planning, and sustainability and is also interested in community engagement, and civic scholarship. His current research interests include climate change adaptation and resilience, brownfield redevelopment, international development, STEM education, and the social aspects of biophysical science.

Kwame has been awarded external funding from the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program of the National Science Foundation, the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

Degrees & Institutions

Ph.D. Geography, University of South Carolina, 2017
MS Urban and Regional Planning, University of Iowa, 2013
BSc Development Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, 2009


His research focuses on the impacts of climate change and pollution on marginalized groups in coastal and inland coastal communities and the efforts of these groups to build resilience to these impacts. Specifically, he is interested in the ways in which climate change adaptation and brownfield redevelopment influence the practice of planning, producing new and unique impacts on marginalized populations in both rural and urban settings, locally and internationally. The goal of his research program is to pair this focus on unequal impacts with strategies such as STEM education through citizen science to build awareness of -- and inspire action to improve – socio-environmental problems.

His international research has examined sea defense systems as an adaptation to climate change in the Volta River Delta of Ghana from the perspectives of multiple stakeholders and how such projects responded to (or failed to respond to) the needs of the populations for which these projects were intended. He has also worked on climate change adaptation projects in Ghana, Mali and Malawi. Locally, he has collaborated on community engagement projects with the Environmental Protection Agency - Region IV on brownfields redevelopment and/or disaster recovery projects in the Florida counties of Escambia, Calhoun, and Gulf. 

Current Courses

  • Urban Planning (Fall)
  • Environmental Management and Planning (Spring)
  • Environmental Science, Politics, and Policy (Fall)
  • Introduction to Environmental Science (variable Fall and/or Spring)
  • Honors: Systems Thinking and Interdisciplinary Research (Fall)
  • Environment and Economy (Spring)
  • Environmental Writing (Summer)
  • Environment and (International) Development (Directed Study-any semester)
  • Community Engagement in Environmental Science (odd Spring)
  • Environmental Aspects of Urban Growth (variable Summer)

Classes Taught

  • Seminar in Environmental Issues: Climate Change Adaptation

Special Interests

Improving instruction and mentoring, planning and public education, STEM education, socio-environmental change and justice, social theory, ethnography, science communication, transdisciplinary research, Peace Corps, coastal protection infrastructure, deltaic environments


Peer-reviewed journal articles

Dibble, R., Owusu-Daaku K.N. (2023) Expanding the Definition of Environmental Justice in Superfund Redevelopment: A Case Study of the American Creosote Works Inc. Site. Environmental Justice

Owusu-Daaku K.N. (2020) Engaging students in planning for superfund site remediation and redevelopment. Journal of Environmental Management Volume 278, Part 2, 15 January 2021, 111567

Owusu-Daaku K.N., Rosko, H. (2019) The Discursive Construction of Adaptation Subjects via the Ada Sea Defense System in the Volta River Delta of Ghana. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space

Owusu-Daaku K.N. and Onzere S.N. (2019) The Application of Ethnography in Agricultural Research: A tool for diagnosing problems and sustaining solutions. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development 19(1): 14090-14112 

Owusu-Daaku K.N. (2018) (Mal)Adaptation Opportunism: When Other Interests Take Over Stated or Intended Climate Change Adaptation Objectives (and Their Unintended Effects). Local Environment 23 (9): 934-951


Peer-reviewed chapter in edited volume

Owusu-Daaku K.N., Johnson, B. Diko, S. (2024) Environmental Justice Leadership-in-Training (EJ-LIT): A University-Professional Organization Partnership for Preparing the Next Generation of Environmental Justice Leaders in Heim LaFrombois, M., E., Mittal, J., [eds] The Routledge Handbook of University-Community Partnerships in Planning Education. Routledge

Owusu-Daaku K.N., Devine, M. (2023) Factors Influencing Considerations for Urban Planning as a Field of Study and/or Career Choice Among Environmental Science Students in Diko, S., Hollstein, L., Pallazzo, D., [eds] The Routledge Companion to Professional Awareness and Diversity in Planning Education. Routledge

Owusu-Daaku K.N. (2021) Rationalities of Government and Webs of Relations(hips) in the Funding and Implementation of Sea Defense Systems in the Volta River Delta of Ghana in McCusker, B., Ahmed, W., Ramutsindela, M., Solis, P. [eds] The Routledge Handbook of Development and Environment. Routledge

Owusu-Daaku K.N. and Diko S.K. (2018) Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Initiatives in Africa: The Case of the CDKN “Working with Informality to Build Resilience in African Cities” project in Galderissi, A., Colucci, A. [eds] Smart, Resilient and Transition Cities: Emerging Approaches and Tools for a Climate-Sensitive Urban Development. Elsevier

Keywords: climate change adaptation and resilience, land revitalization planning, political ecology, international development, justice and equity, qualitative research, Ghana