Daniel Hess

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Daniel Hess

Daniel Hess

Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Overview Teaching / Research News Work

Daniel Hess is a professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at UB. Hess served as chairperson of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning from 2017 through 2022. Central to Hess's research is addressing interactions between housing, transportation, land use, and other public concerns. He develops new pathways for understanding the complex socio-economic and ethnic landscape of cities and spatial inequalities. He also explores equal access to resources from urban neighborhoods, focusing especially on the changes in gay neighborhoods and the LGBTQ+ population diffuses to other metropolitan locations.

Big changes areon the horizon. We can expect transformations related to autonomous vehicles to happen fast and significantly change urban landscapes and travel behavior.

Hess guides his research, scholarship and teaching with a drive to understand cities as more walkable and suitable to the mobility needs of all ages, a passion he connects to his upbringing in Kenmore, a first-ring suburb of Buffalo with ‘old urbanism’ features. His interests were further defined while working as a transportation planner in Boca Raton, Florida. Walking to work one day along a busy, multi-lane highway he was stopped by a police officer concerned with his safety (because he was walking, not driving). According to Hess, “I then knew I wanted to pursue a career in urban planning so that I could help educate the next generation of urban planners with a holistic understanding of urban transportation systems that don't favor the automobile system over other modes of travel.”

The recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, Hess has taught core courses in the environmental design bachelor’s program, directed award-winning studios in the Master of Urban Planning program, and led eight study abroad courses in England, Estonia, Latvia and Russia. A dedicated teacher and mentor, Hess engages students in all aspects of his research, including collection of primary data and the design and implementation of analysis methods. Hess says his continued connection with graduates of the program keeps his teaching and instruction current while building professional networking opportunities for students.

A member of the faculty since 2002 and former associate chairperson and chairperson of the department, Hess is also a 1997 graduate of UB's Master of Urban Planning program. 


  • B.S. (civil and environmental engineering), Clarkson University
  • M.U.P., University at Buffalo, State University of New York
  • Ph.D. (urban planning), University of California, Los Angeles

Selective activities, honors and awards

  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellowship
  • Fulbright Scholar Award, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Visiting Scholar at Columbia University
  • UB Presidential Commission on Academic Excellence and Equity
  • Board of Advisors, Center for Transportation Excellence
  • Founding Board of Advisors, All Aboard Erie
  • Chester Rapkin Prize
  • UB Exceptional Scholar Award
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower Fellow, Federal Highway Administration

Public Service

Hess consults with federal, state, and local agencies so that his research can lead to more effective planning. For example, he was part of a team that explored design concepts and programs for adding transit-oriented development along Buffalo’s Metro Rail corridor. He managed a grant from the Mineta Transportation Institute to investigate the barriers that keep older adults from riding traditional fixed-route transit. He also directed a grant from the Federal Transit Administration to investigate how public involvement can be used to expand alternative transportation financing schemes.