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Moira O'Neill

Moira O’Neill is an Associate Research Scholar at the Urban Community and Health Equity Lab and in the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor. She also holds academic appointments at UC Berkeley’s Institute for Urban and Regional Development and Center for Law, Energy and the Environment at Berkeley Law.

O’Neill’s interdisciplinary research and teaching focuses on land use, climate, and resilience. Her current work examines state and local government efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change while also addressing inequality. She is the Principal Investigator on an empirical legal study of land use regulation in high-cost cities, the Comprehensive Assessment of Land Use Entitlements Study (CALES). CALES contributes new data to housing policy debates about which regulations promote housing affordability, integration, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. She has provided legislative testimony on findings from CALES, and this work has supported recent California legislation to increase transparency around local government regulation of residential development. CALES has received support from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, California Community Foundation, and California’s Air Resources Board. Most recently, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she is collaborating with UCLA scholars to explore how CALES data, in conjunction with other research methods, can inform fair housing questions.

O'Neill’s research on sustainable public school meal reform initiatives nationwide has supported district-level and state policy implementation of sustainable school meal improvements that promote healthy eating and a circular food system. This work has received support from California’s Department of Food and Agriculture, the Stupski Foundation, the Berkeley Food Institute, and Columbia University’s Population Research Center. O'Neill, with colleagues, has also received support from California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control to examine whether local regulation of nonmedical outdoor cannabis cultivation is advancing state policy to bring cultivation out of the illegal market to protect public health and the environment.

Prior to academia, O'Neill represented public entities and universities throughout California. She received her Juris Doctor, Order of the Coif, from University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2006 with numerous academic honors and awards, including recognition through membership in the Thurston Society. She also served as the Executive Managing Editor for the Hastings Law Journal and worked as a teaching assistant in the Legal Educational Opportunity Program for first-year Civil Procedure, Property and Environmental Law courses. After graduating law school, she clerked for the Honorable Saundra Brown Armstrong of the United States District Court, Northern District of California.

Before teaching in Columbia GSAPP, Moira taught in UC Berkeley’s Department of City and Regional Planning in the College of Environmental Design and at Berkeley Law. O’Neill has taught Introduction to Environmental Law and Planning, Land Use Controls, State and Local Government Law, Local Government Law and Politics, and Community Development.

She is originally from Oakland, California.


Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
Pla6052‑1 Spring 2021
Planning Law
Moira O'Neill
TU 9 AM - 11 AM
3 Points
Pla6573‑1 Spring 2020
Community Development Planning
Moira O'Neill
TH 11 AM - 1 PM
3 Points
Pla6621‑1 Spring 2019
Local Government Politics and Law
Moira O'Neill, Howard Slatkin
TU 5 PM - 7 PM
3 Points

Moira O’Neill (2020) Increasing community engagement in collective impact approaches to advance social change, Community Development, 51:1, 17-35, DOI: 10.1080/15575330.2020.1714684

Moira O’Neill, Mahasin Mujahid, Malo Hutson, Amanda Fukutome, Raine Robichaud, and Jaime Lopez (2020), Investing in Public School Kitchens and Equipment as a Pathway to Healthy Eating and Equitable Access to Healthy Food. J School Health, 90: 492-503. https://doi.org/10.1111/josh.12894

Moira O’Neill, Beth Spitler, Christelle Rohaut, Malo Hutson (2019), Advancing a Circular Economy Through School Meal Programs. Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly.

Jovanna Rosen, Moira O’Neill, Malo Hutson (2018), The Important Role of Government in Comprehensive Community Initiatives: A Case Study Analysis of the Building Healthy Communities Initiative. Journal of Planning Education and Research. doi:10.1177/0739456X18814296

Moira O’Neill featured in Just Food (Berkeley Food Institute)

To learn more about this episode, “Ecoliteracy: Teaching Children About the Origins of Food,” please visit the Berkeley Food Institute.

To learn more about this episode, “Rethinking School Lunch: Health Equity,” please visit the Berkeley Food Institute.