Charisma Acey

Job title: 
Research Director of IURD, Associate Professor of City & Regional Planning
Department of City and Regional Planning
Institute of Urban and Regional Development

Charisma Acey is an associate professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning. Her background includes work, research and travel to countries in West Africa, southern Africa and Central America. Her work focuses on local and regional environmental sustainability, with a focus on poverty reduction, urban governance, environmental justice, food justice and access to basic services. Her work relies on both quantitative and qualitative, community-based research approaches. Current and past research projects, teaching and service learning courses have focused on addressing barriers to sustainable development such as human-environment interactions at multiple scales in urban areas around the world, poverty and participation and voice in local governance and development, the financing and sustainability of publicly provided services and utilities such as water and sanitation, sustainability of local and regional food systems, and environmental justice domestically and globally.

Recent and ongoing research includes fieldwork in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda exploring sustainable household scale alternative energy solutions and access to basic services such as water and sanitation. She also has worked on participatory re-zoning for local healthy food systems, urban agriculture, and sustainability planning in the San Francisco East Bay, Columbus, Ohio, and Portland, Oregon. Prior to joining UC Berkeley, Professor Acey was an assistant professor of city and regional planning in the Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture at The Ohio State University, with a joint appointment with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity where she worked on global food justice issues and mapping geographic differences in resources and opportunities at the metropolitan scale. For more than 20 years, Charisma has supported communities, non-profits, local governments, academia and industry develop interventions that improve equitable social and environmental outcomes for vulnerable, marginalized populations. Her background includes six years of international work as a senior manager for relief and development NGOs working in countries in West Africa, southern Africa and Central and South America. She has also served as a U.S. State Department Fellow in Malawi and an American Marshall Memorial Fellow to Europe.

Ph.D. Urban Planning, University of California, Los Angeles
Master of Public Policy, University of California, Los Angeles
B.A. English/Afro-American Studies, California State University, Northridge
American Marshall Memorial Fellow
Research interests: 

Sustainable urbanism in the U.S. and the developing world; environmental justice; environmental behaviors and governance; water and sanitation infrastructure; food systems planning and food security, political economy of poverty reduction and access to basic services; social equity and participatory decision making; public participation GIS and spatial analysis.