Julian Agyeman

Julian Agyeman

(617) 627-3394
503 Boston Avenue
Research/Areas of Interest:

Sustainability policy and planning; environmental and food justice; intercultural cities


  • PhD, Urban Studies and Environmental Education, University of London, London, United Kingdom, 1996
  • MA, Conservation Policy, Middlesex University, United Kingdom, 1987
  • PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education), University of Newcastle-on-Tyne, United Kingdom, 1982
  • BSc, Joint Honours, Geography and Botany, subsidiary Anthropology, Van Mildert College University of Durham, United Kingdom, 1980



Julian Agyeman Ph.D. FRSA FRGS is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning and Fletcher Professor of Rhetoric and Debate at Tufts University. He is the originator of the increasingly influential concept of just sustainabilities, which explores the intersecting goals of social justice and environmental sustainability, defined as:

the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now, and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.

Born and trained in the UK, he has a B.Sc. in Geography and Botany (University of Durham, 1980), an MA in Conservation Policy (Middlesex University, 1987), and a Ph.D. in Urban Studies (University of London, 1996). He identifies himself as a critical urban planning and environmental social science scholar.

His combined science and social science background, together with extensive experience in local government, consulting, working for, and board-level advising of NGOs and community-based organizations in the UK and US, helps frame his perspectives, research and writing. This enables him to thrive at the borders and intersections of a wide range of disciplines, knowledges and methodologies which he uses in creative and original ways.


He centers his research on critical explorations of the complex and embodied relations between humans and the urban environment, whether mediated by governments or social movement organizations, and their effects on public policy and planning processes and outcomes, particularly in relation to notions of justice and equity.

He believes that what our cities can become (sustainable, smart, sharing and resilient) and who is allowed to belong in them (recognition of difference, diversity, and a right to the city) are fundamentally and inextricably interlinked. We must therefore act on both belonging and becoming, together, using just sustainabilities as the anchor, or face deepening spatial and social inequities and inequalities.

His key research contributions are in:

just sustainabilities in policy, planning and practice;

environmental and food justice;

planning in, and for Sharing Cities;

planning in, and for intercultural cities.


With over 150 publications, he is the author, co-author or editor of 13 books, including Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (MIT Press, 2003), Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice (NYU Press, 2005), The New Countryside?: Ethnicity, Nation and Exclusion in Contemporary Rural Britain (Bristol University Press/Policy Press, 2006), Environmental Justice and Sustainability in the Former Soviet Union (MIT Press, 2009), Speaking for Ourselves: Environmental Justice in Canada (UBC Press, 2010), Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class and Sustainability (MIT Press, 2011), Environmental Inequalities Beyond Borders: Local Perspectives on Global Injustices (MIT Press, 2011), Introducing Just Sustainabilities: Policy, Planning and Practice (Zed Books, 2013), Incomplete Streets: Processes, Practices, and Possibilities (Routledge, 2014), Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities (MIT Press, 2015), one of Nature's Top 20 Books of 2015, Food Trucks, Cultural Identity, and Social Justice: From Loncheras to Lobsta Love (MIT Press, 2017) and The Immigrant-Food Nexus: Borders, Labor, and Identity in North America (MIT Press 2020). His latest book is Sacred Civics: Building Seven Generation Cities (Routledge 2022)


Worldwide, he is recognized as a public intellectual, an innovator and thought leader. His Google Scholar citations highlight the (academic) impacts of his peer reviewed work which have placed him in the top 15 most highly cited urban planning academics in North America. His wide-ranging and influential journal articles include Mind the Gap: Why do people act environmentally and what are the barriers to pro-environmental behavior? (2002). It is the single m