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Chris Laingen

Assistant Professor, Geography

My research interests are at the intersection of how human and natural systems affect the American rural and agricultural landscape.  Much of my work has focused upon the changing agricultural land use of the northwestern Corn Belt, specifically in the Dakotas, along with how those LULC changes affect environmental goods and services.  More broadly, I am interested in defining - in simple terms - what some of the coupled human and natural socio-economic drivers are that have caused, are causing, and will continue to cause change on the rural landscape.  These include shifts in climate, technology, trade, and economics.  All of my work involves the utillization of GISci tools (Esri, Erdas, Envi, and other open source software).

On campus, I am affiliated with:
Department of Geology and Geography
Center for Clean Energy, Research, and Education (CENCERE)
GIScience Center (under construction)

Co-host, with Cameron Craig of WEIU-TV's "Illinois' Skies"
Four episodes per year, beginning March 2014

Areas of Expertise

  • Demographics/Census
  • Environment
  • Geography


PhD, Geography - Kansas State University (2009)
MS, Geography - South Dakota State University (2003)
BS, Geography, minor in GIScience - South Dakota State University (2001)

Research Interests

Spatial Analysis of:
Coupled Humand and Natural Systems
Rural and Agricultural Geography (Midwest/Great Plains)
Socioeconomic Drivers of LULC Change
Land Use and Upland Bird Populations
Agriculture and Sustainability
Dynamics Between Agriculture and Conservation

Contact Information

Phone: 217-581-2999