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Jesse M. Keenan


SRED 2020: Real Estate Transactions (Fall and Summer)

SRED 4510/6510: Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience (Fall)

SRED 6720: Advanced Sustainable Real Estate (Spring)

SRED 6050: Introduction to Sustainable Urbanism (Summer)

SRED 4350/6530: Infrastructure Planning and Financing (Spring)

Research and Teaching Interests:

Real Estate and Infrastructure; Climate Change Adaptation; Building Science and Economics; Environmental Finance; Federal, State and Local Climate Policy; Housing Studies


Jesse M. Keenan is an Associate Professor and social scientist within the faculty of the School of Architecture at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Keenan leads courses and seminars advancing the interdisciplinary fields of sustainable real estate and urban development. As a globally recognized thought leader, Keenan’s research focuses on the intersection of climate change adaptation and the built environment, including aspects of design, engineering, regulation, planning and financing. Keenan has previously advised on matters concerning the built environment for agencies of the U.S. government, governors, mayors, Fortune 500 companies, technology ventures, community enterprises and international NGOs. Keenan formerly served as the Area Head for Real Estate and Built Environment on the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Design; Fellow of Science, Technology and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government; and, as the Research Director of the Center for Urban Real Estate on the faculty of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. Keenan is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Keenan is the author of NYC 2040: Housing the Next One Million New Yorkers (Columbia University Press, 2014) and Climate Adaptation Finance and Investment in California (Routledge, 2018), which was awarded Amazon's 'Best Of' Award for "The Best Business and Leadership Books of 2018." Keenan is the co-editor of the books, Blue Dunes: Climate Change by Design (2nd Edition)(Columbia University Press, 2017) and North American Climate Adaptation: Fostering Resilience and a Regional Capacity to Adapt (Springer, 2017), which was published in both English and German. With colleagues from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Keenan is the co-editor of the forthcoming book, COVID-19, Systematic Risk and Resilience (Springer, 2021). Keenan is the also the co-author of a variety of design research monographs, including, Mobility Oriented Design: The Case for Miami’s Metrorail (Office of Urbanization, Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2019); Adapting Miami (Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2020), and Multiple Miamis (Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2020). 

Keenan’s research has been published in Science, Environmental Research Letters, Environmental Science and Policy, Environment Systems and Decisions, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, Natural Hazards Review, Climatic Change, Ocean & Coastal Management, Journal of Water and Climate Change, Architectural Science Review, Building Research & Information, Enquiry: Journal of Architectural Research, Journal of the American Planning Association, Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law, Social Research: an International Quarterly, International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, International Journal of Sustainable Urban Development, Journal of Legal History, Journal of Extreme Events, the Wharton Real Estate Review, the Cornell Real Estate Review, the Pace Environmental Law Review, Projections: MIT Journal of Urban Planning, the American Bar Association, Cambridge University Press, Reuters, Newsweek, Dezeen, Metropolis Magazine, John Wiley & Sons, Actar, Springer Nature, MoMA.org, and has been cited as an authority by national and international media, including on-air on Bloomberg TV, CBS News, CCTV (China), CNBC, DW-TV (Germany), Financial Times (U.K.), France 2 (France), KBS (Korea), NBC News, PBS, Reuters TV, TEDx, The Weather Channel, TVO (Canada), and Univision. Keenan’s research has been covered by global media, including The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The New Yorker, CNN, Rolling Stone, Bloomberg News, Popular Science, MIT Technology Review, Businessweek, Fortune, BBC, Reuters, Associated Press, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Financial Times, Vice News, NPR, Slate, The American Prospect, The Weather Channel, Washington Post, Fox News, NBC News, ABC News, Huffington Post, Salon, Grist, Dezeen, Mother Jones, Fast Company, Wired, PBS NOVA, Sierra Magazine, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Miami Herald, Scientific American and the Discovery Network. Keenan has an Erdős number of 4.

Keenan formerly served as the Chair and Vice-Chair for the U.S. Community Resilience Panel for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems, a federal interagency initiative formerly under the Obama White House Climate Action Plan, and as editorial team co-lead for the Built Environment at the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit at climate.gov. Keenan previously served as a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Regional Disaster Sheltering and Housing Recovery Planning Team and as an appointed member of Mayor Bloomberg’s NYC Task Force for Building Resiliency. Keenan served on the Climate Change Working Group for the 4th Regional Plan for NYC where he developed the Regional Resilience Trust Fund and co-authored the climate change section of the award winning plan. Keenan also served as a climate change advisor to the national organization of the American Institute for Architects (AIA). Keenan serves as Associate Editor (Built Environment) for the Encyclopedia of Climate Resilience (Nature Springer); as a member of the Editorial Board for The Handbook of Climate Change Resilience (Nature Springer) and the International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment (Emerald); and formerly served as an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management (Emerald). Keenan advised the U.S. government’s Rebuild By Design and the National Disaster Resilience Competitions and previously served as co-chair for the 2016 North American Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation. Keenan formerly served as Chair of Climate Adaptation Finance for IPCC Cities and as a Review Editor (Built Environment and Transportation chapters) of the 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA4), and current serves as a Review Editor (buildings) for WG III (AR 6) for the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Keenan formerly served as a Research Advisor for Secretary Bill Richardson; as a Research Advisor for Climate Adaptation for Governor Jerry Brown’s Office of Planning and Research for the State of California; and, as a Research Advisor to Governor Charlie Baker's Executive Office for Energy and the Environment for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. From 2018-2020, Keenan served as a Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (FRBSF) where he led the bank’s first major research initiative in climate adaptation. This research culminated in the edited volume, Strategies to Address Climate Change Risk in Low- and Moderate-Income Communities (FRBSF, 2019), which The New York Times described “one of the most specific and dire accountings of the dangers posed to businesses and communities in the United States...”(October 17, 2019). From 2019-2020, Keenan served as a Special Government Employee Advisor to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) where he co-led research efforts evaluating the impacts of climate change on financial stability. In this capacity, he served as an elected co-editor of the publication, Managing Climate Risk in the U.S. Financial System (CFTC, 2020)—the first major climate change publication by a U.S. financial regulator. 

Keenan has completed regional planning research in Brazil in collaboration with UN-Habitat; housing research in NYC for the Carnegie Corporation of New York; urban technology research sponsored by Google, CISCO and Airbnb; zoning research with the NYC Department of City Planning; public resilience planning research for the Rockefeller Foundation; adaptive capacity research with Goldman Sachs; adaptive building design research in Tokyo for Hulic Co., Ltd.; international housing finance research sponsored by the Open Society Foundation; resilience research with the National Security Council; mobility research for the Lennar Foundation; urban development and design research in Miami supported by the Knight Foundation; climate planning research for the Regional Plan Association; urban systems research in NYC for the Audi Urban Future Initiative; resilience design and decision-support with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and, socioeconomic indicator development for climate adaptation with the EPA and supported by the National Science Foundation. Keenan is one of the founding researchers of Kohn Pedersen Fox’s Urban Interface Laboratory and previously served as visiting faculty at the Bauhaus Academy in Dessau, Germany and at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. Keenan is a Fellow of the Forum + Institute for Urban Design and was previously a Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) Scholar and a Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. Keenan formerly served as Managing Editor to Silicon Valley’s first online housing and mortgage data service providers (formerly, housing.com) and began his research career working for the late Professor Charles Haar of Harvard Law School.

Keenan was among the first scholars to study the relationship between climate change and real estate, including the first to publish peer reviewed evidence of the existence of a climate change signal in a real estate market and in a mortgage market. Among other contributions, Keenan coined the term 'Climate Gentrification' at a public lecture to the New York City Bar Association in January of 2014. Keenan’s theory of Climate Gentrification has gone on to shape a global discourse on the relationship between climate change, social equity and applied economics.

Keenan currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for Hydro-Generated Urbanism at the University of Florida and the Board of Directors at America Adapts Media--the producers of the popular climate change podcast. Keenan formerly chaired the Keeping Currents initiative of the Van Alen Institute and served on the Advisory Board of the Mori Foundation’s Global City Power Index; the Advisory Committee of the Design First initiative of The Municipal Art Society; the Steering Committee of the Resilience Infrastructure Initiative at Stanford University and the Hoover Institution; and, as a juror for Architizer’s A+ Awards. Keenan was selected in 2012 as a ‘Thought Leader’ by the Journal of International Affairs.

Keenan’s work bridging the art and science of the built environment includes contributions to exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York: Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream (Community Growth REIT) in 2012; Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanism and Expanded Megacities (Community Growth Corporation) in 2014; Hong Kong Biennale (Archigram on the Margins: A Reinterpretation in the Face of Climate Change) in 2014, and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (Locavore Agritech) in 2010. Keenan has the distinction of being the first person to have exhibited an excel spreadsheet at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Keenan serves as Of Counsel to the law firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP and as an advisor to Silicon Valley technology firm of Jupiter Intelligence. Keenan holds degrees in the law (J.D., LL.M.) and science (M.Sc.) of real estate and the built environment, including a Ph.D. from the Delft University of Technology.

For speaking engagements, please contact the Leigh Bureau:
In the Americas: Eric Myers (eam@leighbureau.com)
In Europe, Middle East & Africa: Louise Dunn-Cahill (louised@leighbureau.com)
In Asia: Cecilia Lee (zy@leighbureau.com)