Skip Navigation

Center for a Livable Future


About the Center for a Livable Future

As the world's population and consumer demand continue to grow, there is urgent need to improve human health, prevent disease and meet basic needs for food, water and shelter equitably for all people. The challenge of our time is to meet these goals as population increases while protecting the environment, preserving biodiversity and conserving finite resources.

The mission of the Center for a Livable Future is to promote research and to develop and communicate information about the complex interrelationships among diet, food production, environment and human health, to advance an ecological perspective in reducing threats to the health of the public and to promote policies that protect health, the global environment and the ability to sustain life for future generations.

Building upon available expertise and our comparative advantage as part of Johns Hopkins University, the Center pursues its mission in the following ways:

  • Supporting and conducting interdisciplinary research through collaboration with experts in a variety of fields
  • Educating and training students and professionals through doctoral fellowships, graduate courses and curricula
  • Communicating projects and activities to a wide range of internal and external CLF constituents
  • Generating resource materials and providing technical expertise for policy, advocacy, and outreach initiatives
  • Partnering with organizations which complement the Center’s resources and expertise in order to improve our food system overall and strengthen local and regional capacity.

Message from the director

Robert Lawrence

Robert S. Lawrence, MD
Center for a Livable Future

The core concept at the Center’s founding in 1996 was best expressed by James Grant, the late director of UNICEF, who warned of the ‘vicious spiral’ of population growth, poverty and environmental degradation—each component exacerbating and accelerating the trend toward destruction of the biosphere.

From this perspective emerged the vision of the Center as a 'do-tank'—an interdisciplinary academic resource that could play a role in interrupting the spiral.

From its initial focus on the interconnections among animal agriculture, human diet and nutrition, and public health, the Center developed an innovation grants program, support for doctoral fellows, courses, conferences, and seminars. LEED gold-certified offices reflect our commitment to a livable future. Our work continues to evolve as we pursue new opportunities in research, education, outreach and policy linking food systems, ecology and public health.  The journey continues…”

Robert S. Lawrence, MD