Mark D Bjelland

Mark Bjelland


  • B.C.E., Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota (High Distinction)
  • M.S.C.E., Environmental Engineering, University of Washington
  • M.C.S., Ethics, Regent College-Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Ph.D., Geography, University of Minnesota

Professional experience

  • Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies, Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Chair, City Planning Commission, Saint Peter, MN
  • Engineering Project Manager, Golder Associates, Burnaby, B.C.
  • Environmental Engineer, Barr Engineering, Minneapolis, MN


  • Hometowns: Minneapolis, MN; Seattle, WA; Vancouver, Canada
  • Activities: bicycling, nordic skiing, kayaking, jazz and gospel music
  • Favorite Authors: Sigrid Undset, Dostoyevsky, Austen, C.S. Lewis

Academic interests

  • urban geography
  • sustainable communities
  • geographic information systems
  • environmental justice
  • faith-based placemaking
  • spatial demographic analysis

Research and scholarship

Current Projects

  • Post-Industrial Spaces: The New Inner City and What Was Left Behind
  • Local Elites, Philanthropy, and the Remaking of Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Placemaking and Community Development by Faith-Based Organizations


Recent Publications

Bjelland, M. and Vander Veen, M., forthcoming 2023. “Portland’s Post-Industrial Neighborhoods,” Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers.

Bjelland, M., Kaplan, D., and Malinowksi, J. 2021. Introduction to Geography, 16th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Bjelland, M. 2020. Good Places for All, Grand Rapids, MI: Calvin Press.

Bjelland, M. and Montello, D. 2020. Human Geography: Landscapes of Human Activities, 13th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Bjelland, M. 2019. “From Stewardship to Place-Making and Place-Keeping,” in Beyond Stewardship: New Approaches to Creation Care, D. Warners and M. Heun, eds. Grand Rapids, MI: Calvin Press.



  • U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission, Cardiff University Scholar
  • German-American Fulbright Commission, German Studies Award           

In the news


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