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About | Dr. Russel



I teach courses in sustainable design, environmental science as well as water and sanitation. My primary research focuses are on planning, designing, and implementing sustainable water and sanitation (WASH) services in low- and middle-income countries. I helped to co-found and currently lead the “re.source" sanitation research initiative, originally funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Re.source is focused on exploring extremely low-cost, resource recovery and sanitation solutions. (Integrated Mobile Sanitation Solutions in Peri-urban Settings: Haitire.source).


I have conducted extensive research on the topics of non-networked water supply and sanitation in Mozambique and Haiti. Where I worked on a large rural water improvement impact evaluation in Nampula, Mozambique. I specifically studies the caloric energy women expend when fetching water. My primary research topics include 1) water, energy, and resource recovery from waste streams; 2) sustainable delivery of water services in rural and urban settings; 3) development and analysis of entrepreneurial-based sanitation service delivery models and 4) informal urbanization.


I am the current Chair of the Container-Based Sanitation Alliance. The CBS Alliance was formed in November of 2016. It is a coalition of CBS practitioners around the world with extensive experience in developing and providing CBS services. The goal of the Alliance is to formalize the CBS approach, help sanitation services to reach scale, and achieve sustainable impact in urban areas around the world. Container-Based Sanitation was officially added to the list of improved sanitation options by Joint Monitoring Programme in 2019. Find out more at

I am also a co-founder of the Landscape for Humanity initiative at the University of Oregon. L4H works with landscape as the fundamental framework for creating spatial change that supports social and environmental justice. L4H does this through design, research and real-world projects. 


I was born and grew up in Oregon till around the age of 10 before attending High School in Papua New Guinea. After graduating from Ukarumpa International Secondary School, I went on to receive a BS in Environmental Biology and MS in Environmental Science from Taylor University. I also spent time studying at Keble College, Oxford University. My early research focused on dialectic variations in the Florida Scrub Jay female hiccup call and was conducted in Florida, primarily at Canaveral National Seashore. After completing my studies at Taylor, I joined the Peace Corps and served as a Biology teacher in Mozambique for two years. I then extended my service for a third year as the Peace Corps Volunteer Leader for Project Development, where I performed financial oversight, assisted in planning and helped realize several nationwide projects that focused on women’s empowerment, skills training, HIV prevention and science education. Following my time in the Peace Corps, I returned to study civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University where I helped to develop some of the earliest design iterations and research on container-based sanitation. In 2016, I joined the University of Oregon.



Department of Landscape Architecture

University of Oregon

Environmental Studies Program

University of Oregon

African Studies Program

University of Oregon

Global Health Program

University of Oregon

Oregon State University Courtesy Faculty

in Environmental Science Graduate Program

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Civil and Environmental Engineering

Stanford University, Stanford, CA (2019)



Civil and Environmental Engineering   

Stanford University, Stanford, CA (2012)



Environmental Science

Taylor University, Upland, IN (2005)



Environmental Biology

Taylor University, Upland, IN (2003)



The re.source Lab

I helped to co-found the re.source sanitation research initiative during my time as a graduate student at Stanford University. I run the the re.source lab at the University of Oregon where it continues to be a venue for students and researchers to prototype extremely low-cost, sanitation and water services solutions for dense informal settlements and rural communities. 

Find out more here


Landscape for Humanity


I am a co-founder and project lead for Landscape for Humanity (L4H).  The initiative is researching the use of modular landscape approaches to help augment basic amenities for vulnerable, informal, and houseless communities.

Check out more here.


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Container-Based Sanitation and the CBS Alliance


2.6 billion people in the world do not have access to safe sanitation. One billion people live in urban slums, and that number is growing. Slum residents currently have a lose-lose choice between overcrowded public toilets, open defecation, and private latrines that are expensive to build and maintain. Few squatters and renters can invest in an immobile asset like a latrine. Narrow alleys make it difficult and unhygienic to empty the latrines that do exist. This results in dangerous and undignified living conditions and significant environmental degradation.


As part of multiple teams, I have helped to develop portable, low-cost household toilet and entrepreneurial service models to deliver safe, dignified sanitation to vulnerable urban populations. 

My research seeks to develop modeling and assessment tools that facilitate the scaling of operations in communities around the world. As part of this effort, we seek to identify the key cost and revenue drivers of household container-based human waste collection systems, as well as the data that are necessary to assess the system feasibility and plan in new locations. I also serve as the Chair of the Container-Based Sanitation Alliance.

Read more about the solution and associated research:

CBS Alliance website, 



current work with SOIL.

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The Cost of Water Fetching

This research focuses on the cost and benefits of rural water infrastructure in northern Mozambique. Specifically, I use data gathered from indirect calorimetry measurements in laboratory settings, field-based caloric energy expenditure measurements, and large household surveys, to calculate a more complete set of costs associated with water fetching. The goal of this work is to understand how the burden of water fetching (often a gendered activity) is accounted for when placing new water sources. 

Read the research:

K. Russel, et al. Estimating energy expenditure of head-hauling water and grain grinding from heart rate monitor measurements in northern Mozambique. Public Health Nutrition. Find It Here



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| Courses

Summer 2024

   - ENVS 202: Intro to Environmental Science (online)

Fall 2024

   - LA(ENVD) 410/289: Foundations of Environmental Design

   - ENVS 631:

Winter 2025

   - LA 337: Design for a Sustainable World (online)

   - LA 410/510: Principles and Practices of Sustainable Design (online)

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