Skip to main content

Search NYU Steinhardt


Raul P. Lejano


Teaching and Learning

Raul Lejano is a scholar in environment, behavior, and collective action, whose foremost interests involve understanding people’s deep engagements with community and environment, and reflecting such in how we design policy and institutions from a relational perspective. His work on urban sustainability involves increasing resilience in vulnerable communities to risks from extreme weather events, environmental health risks, and social disenfranchisement. His research suggests strategies for reforming environmental governance around an ethic of care. Current projects include studying adapting to extreme weather in developing nations --e.g., empowerment workshops at Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, understanding the power of climate skepticism in different contexts, and exploring high-definition virtual simulations for flood risk communication. 

Beginning with his first book, Frameworks for Policy Analysis: Merging Text and Context (Routledge), he has developed approaches for integrating multiple analytical lenses in interpreting environmental situations. In his (co-authored) book, The Power of Narrative in Environmental Networks (MIT Press), a theory is advanced regarding the unique capacity of narrative to capture complex human motivations and human-nonhuman relationships. The theory is further developed in a forthcoming book, The Power of Narrative: Climate Skepticism and the Deconstruction of Science (Oxford Press). 

His work in the area of environmental learning emphasizes how ecological knowledge emerges from the capacity of a person to build relationships with others. Since people’s motivations are never merely utilitarian or affective or deontological, policies cannot be so simplistically designed. As an example, cities need to be analyzed not merely in objective terms but as a web of relationships. His latest work involves the role of narrative and relationality in moving people to act on climate change. Lejano received his doctorate in Environmental Health Science in 1998 from UCLA, and held faculty appointments at MIT, UCI, and HKU before coming to the Steinhardt School at NYU. As a doctoral student, he worked with Lloyd Shapley, recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics. 

Selected Publications

  • Lejano, R. P. (2019). Relationality and Social–Ecological Systems: Going Beyond or Behind Sustainability and Resilience. Sustainability, 11(10), 2760.
  • Lejano, R. (2019). "Ideology and the narrative of climate skepticism," Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (in press).

  • Lejano, R. P., & Li, L. (2019). Cooperative game-theoretic perspectives on global climate action: Evaluating international carbon reduction agreements. Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy, 8(1), 79-89.
  • Lejano, R. (2018). Climate change and the relational city. Cities. 85:25-29.
  • Lejano, R. et al. (2018). A Phenomenology of Institutions: Relationality and Governance in China and Beyond. Routledge, New York.
  • Lejano, R. P., Casas Jr, E. V., Montes, R. B., & Lengwa, L. P. (2018). "Weather, climate, and narrative: A relational model for democratizing risk communication," Weather, Climate, and Society, 10(3),579–594.
  • Lejano, R. and C. Del Bianco (2018), "The logic of informality: Pattern and process in a Sao Paulo favela," Geoforum 91:195-205.
  • Lejano, R. and D. Stokols (2018). "Analytics for local knowledge: Exploring a community's experience of risk" Journal of Risk Research 1-18. 

  • Lejano, Raul (2017). "Assemblage and relationality in social-ecological systems," Dialogues in Human Geography 7(2):192-196.

  • Lejano, R. and J. Dodge (2017). "The narrative properties of ideology: The adversarial turn and climate skepticism in the U.S.", Policy Sciences 50(2), 195-215.

  • Lejano, R. and E. Gonzalez (2017). "Sorting through differences: The problem of planning as reimagination," J. of Planning Education & Research 37(1):5-17.

  • Taufen Wessels, A. and R. Lejano (2017). "Urban waterways and waterfront spaces: Social construction of a common good," Journal of the Southwest 59(1/2):106-132.

  • Lejano, R. and R. Funderburg (2016). "Geographies of risk, the regulatory state, and the ethic of care," Annals of the American Association of Geographers 106(5):1097-1110.

  • Lejano, R., J. Tan, and M. Wilson (2016), "A textual processing model of risk communication: Lessons from Typhoon Haiyan," Weather, Climate, and Society 8(4):447-463.



Cities and Their Environments

The course focuses on recognizing & assessing the complex interrelationships between the city & its environment.The central problem is the alienation of urban residents from their surrounding
environments.Different frameworks for integrative analysis of human-environment relationships are used–from human ecology to geography to resilience. The intent is to re-conceptualize the city in

ways that make these phenomena explicit, & to communicate this to multiple publics.Students will also learn to conduct a quick sustainability assessment of a local neighborhood and develop a

communication plan for it.
Course #
ENYC-GE 2005


Raul P. Lejano ,