Michael Mendez

Alum, PhD Designated Emphasis in STS

PhD, City and Regional Planning
University of California, Berkeley
CSTMS Research Unit: Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies
DissertationClimate Change from the Streets: A Community-Based Framework for Addressing Local and Global Environmental Health Impacts
Advisor(s)Jason Corburn, Malo Hutson, and David Winickoff
Degrees MCP in Urban Studies & Planning :: Massachuestts Institute of Technology (MIT) (2003)
BA in Urban Studies & Planning :: California State University Northridge (2001)

Research Areas

As subnational governments undertake leadership roles in climate governance, policy formulation is increasingly emerging as an expert-driven process that emphasizes global greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions as the goal and geographically-neutral economic and technological fixes as the solution. In this process, community-based strategies that integrate climate change interventions with population health outcomes are often excluded. This research asks how environmental justice advocates are engaging strategically in the policymaking process in order to legitimize or contest regulatory policies regarding climate change. Through an extensive analysis of California’s climate policies and interviews with key stakeholders, this research highlights the challenges the state faces in influencing global climate policy while addressing the needs of local communities that are already adversely impacted by air pollution. I demonstrate that the implementation of climate policies can either serve to exacerbate or redress underlying environmental health inequities in disadvantaged urban communities. In particular, this research examines the environmental justice strategies that are challenging a priori policy expertise to produce new local, place-based conceptualizations of climate change that underscore population health and community well-being.

Michael Anthony Mendez is currently a Ford Foundation and UC Chancellor Fellow in UC Berkeley’s Department of City and Regional Planning with a designated emphasis in Science & Technology Studies (STS). His academic background is strongly motivated by over a decade of experience in the public and private sectors, where he conducted applied research and actively engaged in the policymaking process. This experience includes working for the California State Legislature as a Senior Consultant to the Assembly Select Committee on Environmental Justice and serving as Vice Chair of Sacramento’s Planning Commission. Most recently, Michael served as the Legislative Director of Academic and Biomedical Research for the University of California, Office of the President (UCOP). He holds two degrees in environmental planning and community economic development, including a graduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Michael has been appointed to several boards and commissions, including as a board member for the LGBT advocacy organization, Stonewall Sacramento and he is currently a gubernatorial appointee to the California State Mining and Geology Board.

last updated: March 20th, 2018