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, the Comprehensive Assessment of Land Use Entitlements Study (CALES). CALES contributes new data to housing policy debates about which regulations promote housing affordability and integration. 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. This work has received support from California’s Department of Food and Agriculture, the Stupski Foundation, Berkeley Food Institute, and Columbia University’s Population Research Center. Most recently, California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control awarded O’Neill and colleagues support 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 was a public law attorney in 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.
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 O’Neill has taught include Introduction to Environmental Law and Planning, Land Use Controls, Local Government Law, and Community Development. She holds additional research appointments at University of California, Berkeley’s Institute for Urban and Regional Development and the Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment (CLEE) at Berkeley Law.