Dapper Don Janelle, Professor Emeritus


Don Janelle: We all know him; he’s the dapper dresser with a big smile and easy way with words who had something to do with the NCGIA and now does something with the Center for Spatial Studies. Aye, there’s the rub—we all know him, but we really don’t know much about him. Part of the problem is that he’s not UCSB Geography “faculty,” despite the fact that he was on the faculty of the U.S. Air Force Academy for four years and on the faculty of the University of Western Ontario for 30 years, where he chaired the Department of Geography for five years, served as Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, and is a Professor Emeritus.

Currently, Professor Emeritus Don Janelle serves as Program Director for the Center for Spatial Studies (spatial@ucsb) and for the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (CSISS). He has served in many elected leadership roles for prominent geographic organizations over the years, including Councilor to the AAG, Chair of the East Lakes Division AAG, Board of Directors of the International Geographical Congress, and Councilor at Large to the Canadian Regional Science Association. He served as editor of The Canadian Geographer and on the editorial boards of the Annals of the AAG, the East Lakes Geographer, The Professional Geographer, and The Canadian Journal of Regional Science, and he has served on several other key committees, including the Publications Committee of the International Geographical Congress, the Adjudication Committee of the Canada-United States Fulbright Program, and the Executive Committee of the Canadian Association of Geographers. Dr. Janelle also is a recipient of the 2000 Edward L. Ullman Award for Career Contributions to Transportation Geography and the 2009 Ronald F. Abler Honors Award for Distinguished Service from the Association of American Geographers (AAG).

Janelle’s research and publications are based broadly within geography and affiliated social and behavioral sciences. Primary themes include space-time analyses of individual behavior, the time-geography of cities, the temporal-spatial ordering of social systems, locational conflict analysis, social issues in transportation, and the role of space-adjusting technologies in structuring new patterns of social and economic organization. He has authored more than 100 journal articles and book chapters and has co-edited five books, of which the three most recent include: Information, Place, and Cyberspace: Issues in Accessibility; WorldMinds: Geographical Perspectives on 100 Problems; and Spatially Integrated Social Science.

In a 1965 presentation to an AAG regional meeting, Donald Janelle coined the term “time-space convergence rate” to measure the pace at which human settlements grow closer to each other in time-space as transportation technologies become more advanced (Janelle, D. 1968. “Central Place Development in a Time-Space Framework.” The Professional Geographer 20(1): 5-10). He built on his theory of time-space convergence for a Ph.D. dissertation at Michigan State University (1966), developing a model to represent processes of economic development and centralization over space as advances in transportation technology alter place utilities (Janelle, D. 1969. “Spatial Reorganization: a Model and Concept.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 59(2): 348-364).

Don has collaborated with Professor Michael Goodchild for over 40 years and has coauthored 16 items with him since 1983 alone. Mike and Don began their collaboration when advising graduate students at the University of Western Ontario in the early 1970s. In the late 1970s, they initiated the Time Geography of a Canadian City Project, exploring how space-time diaries inform diurnal population movements and human activity patterns in Halifax Nova Scotia. Don joined the UCSB Department of Geography in 2000 when he took over as Program Director for the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science: “The decision to come to UCSB was an easy one. The objective of CSISS to spread geographical understanding more broadly across disciplines for research and teaching matched my geo-missionary zeal. And the quality of UCSB geography and the prospect of living in such a beautiful environment were strong draws.”

Apart from his academic pursuits, Don admits to being an avid cyclist (“I began commuting to work by bike on a regular basis in 1970 and currently bike to work most days of the week”), as well as a committed do-it-yourselfer, “sometimes calling in the pros to bail me out of a mess.” Don pursues the transportation history of Maine as a research hobby, most recently exploring early nineteenth century stagecoach networks, and he and his wife Barb spend a month each year in Maine where they “enjoy a lake-side cottage in the woods, cutting new trails, kayaking, hiking, thinking, and preparing for the next project.” For more about Don, see his website). By the way, Don disputes the “dapper” description: “My wife and son would really be mystified at the thought that I was a dapper dresser — you haven’t seen me around the house. My wife complains that I’m still wearing stuff from high school (she, of course, exaggerates a bit).”

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Professor Emeritus Donald G. Janelle

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Don on the Santa Barbara Blue Canyon Trail which follows Escondido Creek through a narrow canyon past weathered sandstone outcroppings and blue-green serpentine rock. The lush canyon has stands of oak, sycamore, and alder trees

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Don in the Camden Hills State Park in Maine

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Don on a hike (led by Fiona Goodchild) on the Chorro Grande trail in Ventura County in February 2000

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Professor Emeriti Waldo Tobler and Don Janelle at the 2010 retirement reception for Professor Emeritus Terry Smith (another former colleague at the University of Western Ontario)

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Don in the Santa Ynez mountain range above Santa Barbara