Professor of Geography and Environmental Sciences. Director of the Urban Risk Center.   Land Use and Land Tenure, Urban Risk Assessment, and GIS Specialist.                              Florida State University-Panama


Alexander Coles is a Full Professor of Geography and Environmental Science and Director of the Urban Risk Center at Florida State University, Panama Canal Campus.  He is a Land Use, Land Tenure, Urban Risk Assessment, and GIS Specialist.  Before joining FSU-Panama, Dr. Coles taught Geography-related seminars and courses for the Departments of Geography and Global Health at the University of South Florida (USF). Previous to joining USF, Dr. Coles was a Research Associate Professor at the Payson Center for International Development and Technology Transfer as well as for the Roger Stone Center for Latin American Studies, both centers at Tulane University, Louisiana.  

He also headed the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) area at the Center for Environmental Programs at Xavier University of Louisiana. Also, he served as an adjunct faculty in the Department of Geography at the University of New Orleans.

Dr. Coles has ample experience in Evaluation Research, Survey Research Management, Fieldwork Methodology, Policy Research, Spatial Analysis, Risk Assessment, and Geographic Information Systems. For several years he has combined teaching, research, and consulting in the areas of peasant communities-based systems, rural and urban environments, hazards, risk and disasters, and GIS applied workshops for urban analysis.   Most recently, he is focusing his research and teaching interests in risk and resilience of urban spaces.

Dr. Coles has been a consultant for several international organizations (USAID-Land Tenure Center at UW-Madison, World Bank, IDB, IFPRI, ISNAR, SNV, ICMH, WFP, Terra Institute and several small NGOs and “Campesino” organizations) in the areas of GIS, Community Mapping, Policy Research for Fragile Lands Management and Land Tenure Analysis and Urban Risk Analysis. He was a founding member of the Neotropical Ecology Institute at Tulane University and for seven years –back in the 1990s, was a member of the Research Advisory Committee for the Palo Verde Biological Station, Organization for Tropical Studies, Costa Rica, representing Tulane University.

Dr. Coles earned his Ph.D. in Land Resources from the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1993. At that same university, he received a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning in 1984. His Geography degree was completed at the Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica in 1978.