Jesse M. Keenan

Lecturer in Architecture

Area Head, Real Estate and the Built Environment MDes area group

Jesse M. Keenan is a member of the faculty of the Graduate School of Design where he teaches courses and conducts research in the fields of urban development and climate adaptation. Keenan serves as the Area Head for the Real Estate and Built Environment (REBE) degree program (MDes) and formerly served as the Research Director of the Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE.), as a member of the faculty at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. Keenan has previously advised on matters concerning real estate, housing and the environment for agencies of the U.S. Government, Fortune 500 Companies, not-for-profit community enterprises and international development NGOs. Keenan has previously held various teaching, research and visiting appointments at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, University of Miami School of Law, the University of Amsterdam and The Bauhaus Academy in Dessau, Germany.

Under two presidential administrations, Keenan has served as the Vice-Chair and Chair for the U.S. Community Resilience Panel, a federal interagency initiative formerly under the 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 a 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. Keenan also serves as a climate change advisor to the national organizations of the American Institute for Architects (AIA) and the America Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Keenan serves as Associate Editor (Built Environment) for the Encyclopedia of Climate Resilience (Nature Springer), as an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management (Emerald) and as a member of the Editorial Board for The Handbook of Climate Change Resilience (Nature Springer). Keenan advised the 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 has conducted climate adaptation research with various cities around the globe including Amsterdam, Boston, Miami, New York City (NYC), Rotterdam, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Stockholm and Tokyo. Keenan serves as an Expert Reviewer for the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and as a Review Editor of the 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA4).

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), 2012; Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanism and Expanded Megacities (Community Growth Corporation), 2014), Hong Kong Biennale (Archigram on the Margins: A Reinterpretation in the Face of Climate Change, 2014), MAK (Community Growth Corporation, 2015) and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (Locavore Agritech, 2010). 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; climate planning research for the Regional Plan Association; and, urban systems research in NYC for the Audi Urban Future Initiative. Keenan is one of the founding researchers of Kohn Pedersen Fox’s Urban Interface Laboratory.

Keenan is the author of NYC 2040: Housing the Next One Million New Yorkers (Columbia University Press, 2014) and is the co-editor of the books, Blue Dunes: Climate Change by Design (Columbia University Press, 2017) and North American Climate Adaptation: Experiences, Case Studies and Best Practices (Springer, 2017). Keenan has had works published by the Architectural Science Review, the Wharton Real Estate Review, the Cornell Real Estate Review, Natural Hazards Review, Environment Systems and Decisions, Projections: MIT Journal of Urban Planning, Building Research & Information, Journal of the American Planning Association, Journal of Water and Climate Change, Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, Enquiry: Journal of Architectural Research, Social Research: an International Quarterly, Journal of Legal History, Journal of Extreme Events, Pace Environmental Law Review, the American Bar Association, Cambridge University Press, MoMA.org, Reuters, John Wiley & Sons and has been cited as a housing and real estate authority by national and international media, including on-air on PBS, Reuters TV, Bloomberg TV and CNBC. Keenan’s research has been covered by global media, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American and the Discovery Network. Keenan serves on the Advisory Board of the Mori Foundation’s Global City Power Index, on the Advisory Committee of the Design First initiative of The Municipal Art Society, as a juror for Architizer’s A+ Awards and was previously selected in 2012 as a ‘Thought Leader’ by the Journal of International Affairs. Keenan formerly served as a policy advisor for numerous policy-makers, including the Secretary Bill Richardson. Keenan formerly served as Managing Editor to one of Silicon Valley’s first online housing and mortgage data service providers (formerly, www.housing.com) and began his research career working for the late Professor Charles Haar of Harvard Law School. Keenan is a Fellow of the Forum + Institute for Urban Design and was previously a Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) Scholar. Keenan serves as Of Counsel to the law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP. 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.