Steven French's teaching, research, and consulting activities are primarily in the areas of land use, GIS applications in city and regional planning and the impacts of urban development. He is a member of the American Planning Association, the American Institute of Certified Planners, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association.
Dr. French has a long involvement in teaching and research on the application of database management techniques and geographic information systems (GIS) to urban development. He has prepared several parcel-level GIS databases for local communities. One recent project produced a 1.3-million parcel database for the Atlanta metropolitan area. As a consultant to San Luis Obispo and Placer Counties in California and Westchester County , New York , he conducted user needs assessments to design geographic databases to serve the needs of the planning, engineering and tax assessor departments in county governments. He has recently developed GIS-based inventories of essential facilities for the Mid-America Earthquake Center. He is the co-author of the Planning Advisory Service Report GIS: Assessing Your Needs and Choosing a System for the American Planning Association, as well as numerous journal articles discussing GIS applications.
Prior to obtaining his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1980, he was a professional planner in Colorado in both public and private practice. During the 1987-88 academic year, Dr. French served as the Visiting Professor of Resources Planning in the Civil Engineering Department at Stanford University.