Featured Faculty: Adrienne Greve
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“My current future goals revolve around more effectively integrating theoretical understanding of complex systems and resilience into the day-to-day practice of planning.”

Dr. Adrienne Greve is an Associate Professor in the City & Regional Planning Department at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo, CA. Her research focuses on climate change and the planning response to it from greenhouse gas reduction to climate adaptation and climate-exacerbated hazards planning. She served as a Visiting Research Professor at the Research Center for Disaster Reduction Systems at Kyoto University in 2013 & 2014. Prior to her time in Japan, Adrienne served as co-principle investigator and project manager for development of a California Climate Adaptation Planning Guide for the California Office of Emergency Services and authored a book titled Local Climate Action Planning (2012) in collaboration with two co-authors. 

Adrienne has also been awarded contracts to develop climate action plans (CAPs) as part of the two-quarter studio sequence: Benicia, CA; San Luis Obispo, CA; and Cal Poly. She has worked and conducted research domestically, as well as in Japan (Tohoku Coast) and sub-Saharan Africa.

She holds a PhD in Urban Design and Planning from the University of Washington, a master's degree in Bioresource Engineering from Colorado State University, and a bachelor's degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Cornell University.

In the past, Adrienne worked as a surface water hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey.

Q: How long have you been a member of ACSP?
A: More than 10 years! 

Q: Have you won any awards?
A: Yes!

  • Academic Award, City of Sanger General Plan, 2016 California - American Planning Association Central Section, 2016
  • Sustainability in Academics Best Practice Award, Sustainable Environments Minor, Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice Awards Competition, California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, 2015
  • Award of Excellence - Innovation in Green Community Planning, City of San Luis Obispo Climate Action Plan, California American Planning Association, 2013
  • Award of Merit for Academic, City of Benicia Climate Action Plan, California American Planning Association, 2009
  • Faculty Medal, University of Washington Department of Urban Design and Planning, AY 2005-2006

Q: What's your favorite project you’ve worked on?
A: I tend to enjoy any project that I feel has a demonstrable long-term benefit for the community it serves. The projects that come to mind most are the Benicia CAP (the first done by a student planning studio) that was adopted 6 months after completion and is still being implemented. Many of those students have gone on to pursue climate-related planning careers. More recently the development of the California Adaptation Planning Guide in 2012 has since been called out in legislation for both use and update (both great indicators of use).

Q: What future goals do you have in your field?
A: My current future goals revolve around more effectively integrating theoretical understanding of complex systems and resilience into the day-to-day practice of planning. This is critically important for climate adaptation planning, which must also understand and address social, economic, and environmental justice issues.

Q: How has planning school changed your daily habits?
A: I think it has in two ways. First, planning in general focuses, quite pragmatically, on what do we do today to take a step toward the future. I like this practical, hopeful perspective. My outlook is more optimistic because of it. The other thing that being faculty in a planning school has forced is hope for the future (in the form of students). I have the privilege to interact with curious, enthusiastic, and sometimes challenging students every day. This forces a daily habit of keeping up with both popular and research literature on a host of issues that students are likely to encounter (they need to have considered these issues before facing them on the job). 

Q: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A: A mountain climber 

Q: How many different cities have you lived in and which was your favorite?
A: Nine different cities - Seattle and Kyoto are my favorites. 

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
A: Right now? I would go to Antarctica. 

Q: What is the title of the last book you read? What did you learn from it? 
A: Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World.

I found it both sad and inspiring. I appreciated the perspective on nature (its complexity and the interaction with human systems). It provided a context for the decisions that environmental planners make every day. 

Q: What’s your favorite color and how would you creatively incorporate it into a planning project?
A: Green - in planning, I would try very hard to turn the usual use of green to indicate sustainability on its head. Too often it is used as a marketing plot without substantive meaning. I would find a way to use it as an indicator of achieving a particular target or threshold. City departments or citizens could achieve a green rating when particular outcomes have been achieved.


The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world by seeking to:

  • recognize diverse needs and interests in planning;
  • improve and enhance the accreditation process, and;
  • strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement;
  • extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.


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