Fellow, Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy
President and Co-Founder, Three3
Associate Editor, Futures
PhD, Northwestern University
Fields of Interest: Environmental and Energy Policy, Futures Studies, Sustainability, Climate Change, Decision-making under Uncertainty, Technology Policy, and Computers in Society
Three themes run through Dr. Tonn’s research and interests:
• Rigorous evaluation of low-income energy and other programs that promote equitable sustainable futures.
• Convergence of science and technology on sustainable designs for community-based, energy, industrial, and other
• Very long-term perspectives of sustainability with explicit concern for the well-being of future generations.
These three themes are illustrated in recently published papers and reports on the health benefits of low-income weatherization; obligations to future generations with respect to existential risks; and, a design for a sustainable suburban subdivision called Willow Pond. All told, Dr. Tonn has authored/co-authored over 300 publications. He is an Associate Editor for the journal Futures and is on the editorial board of Sustainability. Dr. Tonn received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University, a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University, and a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from Northwestern University. He previously held positions at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Recent notable projects and professional activities include:
• Co-Principal Investigator—Estimating the health and resilience benefits of improving the energy efficiency of affordable multifamily buildings, funded by The JPB Foundation
• Principal Investigator—Estimating the health and household benefits of weatherizing low-income homes in Knoxville, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
• Project Lead—East Tennessee Opioid Epidemic Foresight Process, funded by the East Tennessee Foundation
• Principal Investigator—Retrospective and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act period evaluations of the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program.
• Co-chair—National Science Foundation study panel on Societal Benefits and Implications of Converging Knowledge and Technology.