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Maurie Cohen

Professor, Humanities | Humanities


Maurie's research is centered in the field of environmental/sustainability social science




Image for publication on The Future of Consumer Society: Prospects for Sustainability in the New Economy






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Dr. Maurie Cohen is a professor in the Department of Humanities at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and director of its Science, Technology and Society program. He is a co-founder and executive board member of the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI), an international knowledge network comprising academics, policy makers and NGO representatives working at the interface of material consumption, sustainable systems innovation and economic transition ( Dr. Cohen is also the Editor of Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy, an open-access journal dedicated to the wide dissemination of academic research and professional insights on sustainability science and studies (

Dr. Cohen´s books include Putting Sustainability into Practice: Applications and Advances in Research on Sustainable Consumption (with Emily Huddart Kennedy and Naomi Krogman); Innovations in Sustainable Consumption: New Economics, Socio-technical Transitions, and Social Practices (with Halina Szejnwald Brown and Philip Vergragt); Exploring Sustainable Consumption: Environmental Policy and the Social Sciences (with Joseph Murphy); Risk in the Modern Age: Social Theory, Science, and Environmental Decision Making; and The Exxon Valdez Disaster: Readings on a Social Problem (with J. Steven Picou and Duane Gill). He holds a master´s degree in urban and regional planning from Columbia University (1987) and a PhD in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania (1993).

See his personal website at

Areas of Expertise

Socio-Technical Transition ManagementSustainable ConsumptionSustainability ScienceEnvironmental Social ScienceEnvironmental PolicyAlternative Mobility Futures


University of Pennsylvania

Ph.D., Regional Science


Columbia University in New York City

M.S., Science, Urban and Regional Planning


New York University

B.S., Science, Marketing


Media Appearances

How to hack McMansions

Archinect News  online


Citing research published in the journal Housing, Theory & Society by Maurie Cohen, a professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology, Peters argues that "if the world used resources sustainably and equitably, the average home for a single person would be no larger than 215 square feet, and a four-person family would live in no more than 860 square feet."

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How much do our oversized McMansions need to shrink to be sustainable?

Fast Company  online


“New construction of homes keeps getting bigger and bigger,” says Maurie Cohen, a professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology and author of a new paper reporting these conclusions, published in the journal Housing, Theory & Society. “It drops off during periods of recession, but then it recovers. And this was sort of part of an effort of trying to begin a discussion about developing a new housing paradigm that’s not so much focused on ‘bigger is better.'”

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The end of the road for motormania

NewScientist  online


Phil Goodwin at the University of the West of England in Bristol says the same applies to the UK, where young people are the most prominent in dropping out of the great car society. Maurie Cohen, an environmental scientist at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, says “Gen Y-ers are quite cool to the automobile.” The modern James Dean is a rebel without a car.

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Research Focus

The Intersection of environmental social science, sustainability science, and environmental policy

My research is located at the intersection of environmental social science, sustainability science, and environmental policy. Primary areas of activity focus on sustainable consumption, alternative mobility futures, and socio-technical transition management, I serve as the Editor the journal Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy

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COVID-19 Can Help Wealthier Nations Prepare for a Sustainability Transition

Future Earth

Maurie Cohen, Joseph Sarkis, Patrick Schröder, Magnus Bengtsson, Steven McGreevy and Paul Dewick


COVID-19 could inadvertently contribute to meaningful progress toward meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

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Climate-governance entrepreneurship, higher-order learning, and sustainable consumption: the case of the state of Oregon, United States

Climate Policy


The ongoing devolution of climate policy-making to sub-national levels has prompted growing interest in policy entrepreneurship by individuals who are politically and technically creative and institutionally resourceful.

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Degrowth within – Aligning circular economy and strong sustainability narratives

Resources, Conservation and Recycling


This perspective calls for building greater understanding of overlapping and conflicting considerations between the sustainability principles that inform current conceptions of circular economy and degrowth.

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Reforming local public finance to reduce resource consumption: the sustainability case for graduated property taxation

Sustainability Science


The customary mode of flat rate-property taxation used in the United States and many other Anglospheric countries encourages the consumption of ever greater volumes of energy and materials by relatively affluent households and exacerbates social inequalities. Transition from an invariable tax rate on residential real estate to a graduated schedule could enhance local sustainability by ameliorating the trend toward larger houses and associated increases in resource appropriation.

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A novel Ruminococcus gnavus clade enriched in inflammatory bowel disease patients

Genome Medicine


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that is associated with changes in the gut microbiome. Here, we sought to identify strain-specific functional correlates with IBD outcomes. We performed metagenomic sequencing of monthly stool samples from 20 IBD patients and 12 controls (266 total samples).

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Institutionalization processes in transformative social innovation: Capture dynamics in the social solidarity economy and basic income initiatives

Social Change and the Coming of Post-Consumer Society


Researchers, policy actors, and practitioners have begun to acutely apprehend the current combination of deeply rooted crises concerning the economy, ecology, and other domains. Scholars argue that structural, multi-dimensional, and sustainabilityoriented transitions are needed to address persistent and systemic challenges (Grin et al., 2010; Jackson, 2010), or what have been called “wicked problems”(Brown et al., 2010).

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