Jesse Jones

Mentor: Dr. Albertus Wang
College of Design, Construction, and Planning
"During the summer of 2015, I participated in the University of Florida’s East Asia program directed by Professor Albertus Wang from the UF School of Architecture. We visited Hong Kong, Osaka, Kyoto, Beijing, and Xi’an. These destinations provided a unique opportunity to observe a diverse spectrum of urban planning techniques, ranging from Hong Kong’s unprecedented vertical density to Beijing’s three millennia long evolution of growth practices. Well documented comparisons between these different approaches to the built environment can provide insight for planners and policy makers alike wishing to determine what combination of practices lead to the most sustainable urban designs. Public focus on reducing the impact of our built environments is increasingly important to the planet and all humanity as the world’s expanding population continues to put a strain on limited resources. I aim to develop useful research that will contribute to the ability of future development to foster sustainability, preserving the planet's limited resources."


Sustainability in the Built Environment


Organic and Sustainable Crop Production

Research Interests

  • Sustainable Development
  • Communal Living
  • Renewable Energy

Academic Awards

  • US State Dept. NSLI-Y Mandarin Language Immersion Scholarship recipient (2011-2012)
  • Mu Alpha Theta (Florida state finals 2011)
  • University of Florida Summer Merit Study Abroad Scholarship (2015)
  • University Scholars Program 2015-2016


  • Ethnoecology Club
  • CSA (community supported agriculture) member with Swallowtail Farms
  • Running Club


  • returnee coordinator at AFS Intercultural Programs
  • established Katrina Kids charity with family
  • volunteered at disabled children’s center in China

Hobbies and Interests

  • Photography
  • Backpacking
  • Cooking
  • Sustainability

Research Description

City Design Impact on Sustainability
My research project for the University Scholars Program involves performing a case study of a vertically dense city (Hong Kong) and a horizontally dense city (Beijing) that analyzes how sustainability is addressed through design, both positively and negatively. I will preface my project with precedent analysis of our country’s own best showcase for a livable urban environment: Portland, Oregon. The profiles created for these cities will be analyzed for effectivity on a whole system scale, as well as being compared and contrasted amongst one another. The purpose will be to determine how development practices in each location affect not only the physical environment, but social and economic conditions as well. These aspects will be evaluated through factors, such as density, public transport, amount of preserved land, quality of life, and financial standing. The ultimate objective for this case study is to highlight what current practices being implemented can best lend themselves towards improving livability in future urban environments.