Department of Human Ecology
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Karen M. O’Neill is a sociologist studying coastal climate adaptation and other policies on land and water. This includes understanding who wins and who loses under different policies. Topics include biodiversity protections in the urban plans of large cities around the world, local slow growth and pro-growth movements and policies in small towns, river flood control, coastal storm vulnerability and hazard reduction, and projects to move people and infrastructure from the coast.
Karen has written or co-edited books on the rise of the U.S. program for river flood control and the growth of government power (Rivers by Design, Duke University Press), on race and Hurricane Katrina (Katrina’s Imprint, Rutgers University Press), and the book Taking Chances, on changes in institutions in response to Hurricane Sandy (Rutgers University Press). She was a member of teams in two international competitions for coastal resilience designs, one for the New Jersey shore after Hurricane Sandy, under the “Rebuild by Design” competition (Sasaki-Rutgers-Arup, finalist team), and the second to use the Mississippi River to replenish coastal land in Louisiana, under the “Changing Course” competition (Baird Engineering, one of three winning teams).