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Benjamin Stanley

Benjamin Stanley

Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Arizona State University
PO Box 872402
Tempe, AZ 85287-2402


  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Ben Stanley received a PhD from the School of Sustainability in 2013, and previously earned an MA from ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and a B.A. in Urban Studies from Columbia University. He pursues a highly interdisciplinary array of research surrounding urban studies and sustainability, and has published ten peer-reviewed articles and book volumes on topics including the political economy of urban property development, suburban retrofitting and sustainable design, and the comparative urban history of segregated populations, urban open spaces, and equity in access to services. His articles have appeared in Urban Affairs Review, Urban Geography, Urban Studies, and the Journal of Urban History, and he is under contract to publish a book in 2017 entitled Transparent Urban Development that investigates the disruptive influences of property speculation and non-local ownership on downtown Phoenix’s local community, its property development market, and concurrent public efforts to promote local, arts-based sustainable development. Stanley also serves as postdoctoral researcher on the Urbanism through the Ages project, part of the Late Lessons from Early History initiative at ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change. The project brings together faculty from archaeology, political science, geography, and sociology to investigate and compare premodern cities from all time periods and places. The project group most recently received an NSF grant to map and compare spatial access to urban services across 23 premodern cities, using GIS mapping and a mix of archaeology, urban history, and other social science data to investigate the socio-political, religious, and commercial factors that align with equitable access to services like food.

Outside of academia, Stanley has worked as an independent consultant providing data analysis for the proposed creation of a business improvement district in the Roosevelt Row area of downtown Phoenix. He is also an urban photographer and explorer who has exhibited his photography in museum and gallery settings, including on Roosevelt Row. A native of New York, he lived in Phoenix for ten years before moving to Port Angeles, WA with his wife and daughter in 2015.


  • PhD, Sustainability, Arizona State University, 2013
  • MA, Geographical Sciences, Arizona State University, 2009
  • BA, Urban Studies, Columbia University, 2003


Journal Articles


Dennehy, T., B. W. Stanley and M. E. Smith. 2016. Social inequality and access to services in premodern cities. Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 27(1):143-160. DOI: 10.1111/apaa.12079. (link )

Smith, M. E., T. Dennehy, A. Kamp-Whittaker, B. W. Stanley, B. L. Stark and A. M. York. 2016. Conceptual approaches to service provision in cities throughout history. Urban Studies 53(8):1874-1590. DOI: 10.1177/0042098015577915. (link )

Smith, M. E., B. L. Stark, W. Chuang, T. J. Dennehy, S. L. Harlan, A. Kamp-Whittaker, B. W. Stanley and A. M. York. 2016. Comparative methods for premodern cities: Coding for governance and class mobility. Cross-Cultural Research 50(5):415-451. DOI: 10.1177/1069397116665824. (link )

Stanley, B. W. 2016. Leveraging public development initiatives for private gain: The political economy of vacant land speculation in Phoenix, Arizona. Urban Affairs Review 52(4):559-590. DOI: 10.1177/1078087415579733. (link )

Stanley, B. W., T. J. Dennehy, M. E. Smith, B. L. Stark, A. M. York, G. L. Cowgill, J. Novic and J. Ek. 2016. Service access in premodern cities: An exploratory comparison of spatial equity. Journal of Urban History 42(1):121-144. DOI: 10.1177/0096144214566969. (link )


Stanley, B. W. 2015. Local property ownership, municipal policy, and sustainable urban development in Phoenix, AZ. Community Development Journal 50(3):510-528. DOI: 10.1093/cdj/bsu062. (link )


Stanley, B. W. 2012. An historical perspective on the viability of urban diversity: Lessons from socio-spatial identity in ninettenth century Algiers and Cape Town. Journal of Urbanism 5(1):67-86.

Stanley, B. W., B. L. Stark, K. L. Johnston and M. E. Smith. 2012. Urban open spaces in historical perspective: A transdisciplinary typology and analysis. Urban Geography 33(8):1089-1117. DOI: 10.2747/0272-3638.33.8.1089. (link )


York, A. M., M. E. Smith, B. W. Stanley, B. L. Stark, J. Novic, S. L. Harlan, G. L. Cowgill and C. G. Boone. 2011. Ethnic and class-based clusering through the ages: A transdisciplinary approach to urban social patterns. Urban Studies 48(11):2399-2415.

Book Chapters


Stanley, B. W., A. Golub, M. Zingoni, W. Warman and C. Solorio. 2015. Chapter 11: Retrofitting the cul-de-sac in suburban Arizona: A design proposal. Pp. 217-240 Retrofitting Sprawl: Addressing Seventy Years of Failed Urban Reform. University of Georgia Press. Athens, GA. ISBN: 978-0-8203-4819-3.



Stanley, B. W. 2011. An historical perspective on the viability of urban diversity: Lessons from socio-spatial identity construction in nineteenth century Algiers and Cape Town. Presentation at the 12-16 April 2011 Association of American Georgraphers Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA.

Stanley, B. W. 2011. Visual rupture: A Jacobs-inspired attempt to frame constrasts in mixed-use neighborhoods. Presentation at the October 7, 2011 Phoenix Urban Research Lab, PURL HAM Visual Research Exhibition, Phoenix, AZ.


Stanley, B. W. 2010. City of Phoenix Green Jobs Partnership. Participant, January 14, 2010, City of Phoenix Green Jobs Partnership Roundtable, led by Mayor Phil Gordon and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Phoenix Convention Center.


Stanley, B. W. 2008. Embodied social capital through socio-spatial experience. Presentation at the 16 April 2008 Associate of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Boston MA.