Biography 2018-02-23T11:08:40+00:00

Julian Agyeman Ph.D. FRSA FRGS is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University in Medford-Boston, MA, USA. He is the originator of the increasingly influential concept of just sustainabilities, the full integration of social justice and sustainability, defined as:

the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.

Trained initially as an ecologist and biogeographer, he has become better known as a critical urban planning and environmental social science scholar. Using his combined science and social science background to help frame his perspectives, research and scholarship, he thrives at the borders and intersections of a wide range of knowledges, disciplines and methodologies which he utilizes in creative and original ways.

His focal areas of research and expertise are:

just sustainabilities in policy and planning;

environmental and food justice;

planning in, and for, sharing cities;

planning in, and for, intercultural cities.

A recognized expert and thought leader, he is one of the top 15 most highly cited US and Canadian urban planning faculty. His wide ranging and influential publications include Mind the Gap: Why do people act environmentally and what are the barriers to pro-environmental behavior? the most highly cited journal article written by a US or Canadian urban planning academic. In addition to its theoretical contributions, Mind the Gap has had widespread practical impact, influencing government policy, Think Tank and planning documents worldwide, including the UK, USA, Australia,  Canada,  New Zealand, and the European Commission.

He is the author or editor of 11 books including Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (MIT Press 2003), Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice (NYU Press 2005), Cultivating Food Justice : Race, Class and Sustainability (MIT Press 2011), Introducing Just Sustainabilities: Policy, Planning and Practice (Zed Books 2013), Incomplete Streets: Processes, Practices, and Possibilities (Routledge 2014) and Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities (MIT Press 2015), which was one of Nature’s Top 20 Books of 2015. His latest book is Food Trucks, Cultural Identity, and Social Justice: From Loncheras to Lobsta Love (MIT Press 2017). His next book, Immigration, Immigrants, Agriculture and Food in North America, is under contract with MIT Press.

He is Series Editor of Just Sustainabilities: Policy, Planning and Practice published by Zed Books and Co-Editor of the Routledge Series Equity, Justice and the Sustainable City. He is also Contributing Editor to Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development and a member of the Editorial Board of the Australian Journal of Environmental Education. He sits on the Academic Board of The Future of Places (KTH Stockholm). He also sits on the Board of Directors of EcoDistricts (Portland, OR) and the Advisory Boards of Shareable (San Francisco), Participatory City (London), Urban Sharing (Lund, Sweden), Sharecity (Dublin), and Cities for People/Future Cities (McConnell Foundation, Montréal).

His recent OpEds include Innovation should serve livelihoods, not lifestyles (The Boston Globe, October 2017), Trump spills the beans on who grows Americans’ food The (Boston Globe, February 2017), Apps don’t make a city smart (The Boston Globe, August 2016), How to build smart, sharing cities (The Boston Globe, January 2016) and ‘Smart Cities’ Should Mean ‘Sharing Cities’ (TIME, September 29 2014).

He was co-founder in 1988, and chair until 1994, of the Black Environment Network (BEN), the first environmental justice-based organization of its kind in Britain. He was co-founder in 1996, and is now Editor-in-Chief of Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. He was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA) in 1996, and in 2016 he became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS).

A highly sought after speaker, in addition to many keynotes around the world, he has delivered a number of key lectures including  the Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Homily and Keynote at Bates College in 2012; the Zube Annual Lecture at UMass Amherst in 2013; the The Wrigley Lecture at Arizona State University in 2014; the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Lecture at Wellesley College in 2014; the George B. Hartzog, Jr. Lecture at Clemson University 2015; the Big Thinking Lecture at the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (Canada) Annual Conference at the University of Toronto, 2016, and the Walker Ames Endowed Public Lecture at the University of Washington in February 2017.

His most recent Curriculum Vita highlights his wide-ranging achievements. His Google Scholar citations highlight the (academic) impact of his work. To keep up with his latest ideas, visit his Just Sustainabilities Blog and follow him on Twitter @julianagyeman

During the academic year 2017-18, Julian is a Visiting Professor at McGill University, School of Urban Planning in Montréal, and a McConnell Foundation Cities for People Fellow.