Serena Alexander

Assistant Professor,

Urban and Regional Planning

Current Research Activities

Broadly speaking, my research focuses on the intersection of climate action planning and transportation emissions. Because discussions of equity and climate justice are a big part of planning for climate change,  my research often analyzes how planning tools and policy measures designed to reduce emissions impact social equity and vice versa.

Three of the most recent projects that I’ve led examined topics such as:

1) how can cities use climate action plans (CAPs) to ensure that on-demand mobility and autonomous vehicles (AVs) help reduce, rather than increase, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and inequitable impacts from the transportation system.

2) how can cities in California harmonize climate mitigation and adaptation into their transportation and land-use planning efforts.

3) how can California ensure that off-site vehicle miles traveled (VMT) mitigation efforts tied to SB743 are equitably and proportionately distributed.

What contributed to your research interests?

I was first introduced to the subject of climate action planning during my graduate studies in 2010. At that time, many cities were trying to find ways to respond to the state level mandates for greenhouse gas emissions reduction. The field of climate action planning has grown and evolved since then, but climate change remains one of the most challenging issues of our times. 

How does your research relate to current issues?

My research is always a reflection of current issues faced by our communities.  COVID 19 has further exposed the problems in our society that remained unresolved for decades, such as racial inequity, and disparities in adaptation capacity. Communities have long used climate action plans as tools to fight for environmental justice and build strength and resilience to combat disasters. It is interesting to investigate how these planning practices have changed to respond to new challenges faced by our communities. 

Social Media: SJSU People

Other languages: Persian, Armenian

Keywords: climate action planning, environmental planning, transportation planning, climate resilience, adaptation planning, mobility equity, autonomous vehicles, greenhouse gas emissions.