Robin Leichenko Selected as a 2023 Fellow to the American Association of Geographers

Robin Leichenko

By: Carol Peters, EOAS Communications

Honoring Leichenko, the AAG wrote, she “is an extremely creative, inquisitive, and giving academic and public scholar.”

Robin Leichenko
Robin Leichenko

The American Association of Geographers has named EOAS faculty member Robin Leichenko a 2023 AAG Fellow. “The AAG Fellows,” the AAG wrote, “is a recognition and service program that applauds geographers who have made significant contributions to advancing geography.”

Leichenko is a professor of the Department of Geography and Associate Dean of Social and
Behavioral Sciences in the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences. Leichenko is former and founding co-director of the Rutgers Climate Institute. Her research intersects the fields of economic geography and human dimensions of global environmental change, and examines how and why processes of global economic and environmental change differentially affect cities, regions and sectors, and the implications of these processes for questions of vulnerability, equity, and sustainability.

Honoring Leichenko, the AAG wrote that she “is an extremely creative, inquisitive, and giving academic and public scholar whose career has spanned economic and environmental geography, focusing over the past 20 years primarily on economic impacts and responses to climate change . . . she has served on multiple committees on responses to climate change, including serving as a review editor on the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), serving as co-chair of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, and serving as co-lead of the Society and Economy Sector of the New York State Climate Impact Assessment.” Leichenko has also served as chair of the Economic Geography specialty group for the AAG.

In 2019, Leichenko was appointed by New York City Mayor de Blasio to the leadership team for the fourth New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC). According to the official website of the City of New York, “The NPCC is an independent body that analyzes climate risks to New York City and advises on resiliency and adaptation to help ensure the city is prepared to withstand and emerge stronger from the multiple impacts of climate change.”

Leichenko’s work as a public scholar also extends to her willingness to speak with the media. In an October 2022 Patch article “Superstorm Sandy Taught NJ Some Hard Lessons, Rutgers Experts Say,” Leichenko described the impacts of climate gentrification in New Jersey,explaining,“Rebuilding and resiliency responses since Sandy have been highly uneven in coastal New Jersey. In many shore communities, we’ve seen larger, elevated homes replacing more modest one-story bungalows. These new homes are more climate resilient but also typically much less affordable than the homes they’ve replaced. This is sometimes described as a process of ‘climate gentrification,’ whereby climate resiliency efforts are associated with new housing development that bring in higher income homeowners or investors. In some respects, Sandy ‘cleared the deck’ for a lot of re-development in coastal New Jersey. Ensuring that this new development is accessible and affordable is a critical challenge going forward.”

Leichenko is coauthor of the 2019 book “Climate and Society: Transforming the Future” (with Karen O’Brien, Polity Press), which “explores social causes, consequences, and responses to climate change, and identifies openings and opportunities to create a more equitable and sustainable future.”

She also coauthored the book “Environmental Change and Globalization: Double Exposures” (with Karen O’Brien, Oxford University Press, 2008), which was awarded the 2009 Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography from the American Association of Geographers.