Moira O’Neill is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Urban Planning program at Columbia GSAPP. She is also an Associate Research Scientist of Law and Planning at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development at UC Berkeley, where she leads the Law and Governance Research Group. Her research is interdisciplinary, focusing on urban planning, land use, and local governance topics. At present she is leading two large studies, one that examines the impact of local land use entitlement processes on residential development timelines and another that explores the impact of public school districts implementing school meal reform requiring land use and procurement shifts to simultaneously improve student health and the local food system.
Moira is also the co-founder and principal of a private consulting firm, The NIAM Group, which specializes in strategic planning, policy analysis, negotiation, and community development for public entities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector. Moira also practiced law for six years, representing cities and public entities throughout California. Her legal work experience also includes clerking for the Honorable Saundra Brown Armstrong of the United States District Court, Northern District of California, serving as an extern to the Honorable Martin J. Jenkins (then of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California), and working as a law clerk in the office of the Environment and Natural Resources Unit, Civil Division, United States Attorney.
Moira received her juris doctor, Order of the Coif, from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2006. As a law student, Moira received numerous academic honors and awards, including recognition through membership in the Thurston Society, the awarding of the Hastings Academic Excellence Scholarship annually, multiple Witkin Awards for Academic Excellence, and recognition as a 2004-2005 Regional Champion in the ABA’s National Moot Court Competition. 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.
Prior to her teaching in Columbia GSAPP, Moira taught in UC Berkeley’s Department of City and Regional Planning in the College of Environmental Design and at the School of Law. Courses taught include Introduction to Environmental Law and Planning, Land Use Controls, Local Government Law, and Community Development.