Jesse Keenan

Lecturer, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Jesse Keenan's research looks at climate change adaptation and the built environment, including aspects of design, engineering, financing, regulation and planning. As a social scientist and a member of the faculty of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, Keenan also holds concurrent appointments as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and as a Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Keenan’s research has partnered with a variety of global actors, including Audi, Carnegie Corporation, EPA, Goldman Sachs, Google, MoMA, NASA, States of California and Massachusetts, the White House and the U.N. Keenan’s books include Blue Dunes: Climate Change by Design (Columbia University Press), Climate Change Adaptation in North America: Experiences, Case Studies and Best Practices (Springer) and Climate Adaptation Finance and Investment in California (Routledge). Keenan holds degrees in the law (J.D., LL.M.) and science of the built environment (M.Sc.), including a Ph.D. from the Delft University of Technology.

Podcast Guest Appearances

A Tale of Two Cities: Miami and Detroit

Climate change is upending Miami’s real estate markets, turning one of its poorest neighborhoods into some of the most desirable real estate around. It’s a phenomenon known as “climate gentrification,” a term coined by urban studies professor Jesse Keenan.

In a 2018 paper, Keenan writes that while gentrification is most often driven by supply – that is, a surplus of devalued property that invites development and transformation – climate gentrification is the opposite.