Earth Institute Staff Directory

Moira O'Neill

Associate Research Scholar, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP)

Associate Research Scholar , Sabin Center for Climate Change Law , Columbia Law School


BIOGRAPHY: Moira O'Neill is an Associate Research Scholar in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, (GSAPP), and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. She is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment at BerkeleyLaw (UC Berkeley School of Law).

O'Neill's research is at the intersection of local government law and urban planning. She is the Principal Investigator of two studies that focus on how state and local entities are addressing climate change. One project focuses on how local and state land use regulations interact to slow or accelerate equitable infill development. The other project explores state and local efforts to implement sustainable school meal reform.

Within GSAPP, O'Neill teaches Community Development and Local Government Law & Politics. She previously taught Introduction to Environmental Law and Planning, Land Use Controls, and Local Government Law at UC Berkeley in the Department of City and Regional Planning and the School of Law.

O'Neill's research and teaching build on more than a decade of professional experience in legal practice and consulting for local government entities. Before practicing law, she clerked for the Honorable Saundra Brown Armstrong of the United States District Court, Northern District of California, served as an extern to the Honorable Martin J. Jenkins (then of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California), and worked as a law clerk in the office of the Environment and Natural Resources Unit, Civil Division, United States Attorney. O'Neill received her J.D., Order of the Coif, from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2006.


Developing Policy from the Ground Up: Examining Entitlement in the Bay Area to Inform California's Housing Policy Debates (

Examining the Local Land Use Process in California to Inform Policy and Process, Working Paper #2 (

Advancing a Circular Economy through School Meal Programs, Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly (2019) (