Christian Alexander

Law
Planning
Sustainability

ABOUT

Hello and welcome! I'm a lawyer, planner, researcher, writer, and sustainability advocate interested in building and maintaining healthy, equitable, thriving communities. I wear a number of hats, but strategic projects that are focused on sustainability, innovation, or social transformation (and particularly all three!) are the right fit for me. Born and raised in the U.S., I spend much of my time now in Cape Town, South Africa.

Learn more about my work as a . . .

Legal Experience

In the U.S. I work as an attorney with a boutique U.S. law firm where I focus on the development and operation of public transit and infrastructure projects, particularly rail transit and airports. My practice also covers other related areas, including land use and environmental law. In the past I've dabbled in technology, entrepreneurial, and international law.

Certification

Colorado Law Bar, USA and District of Columbia Law Bar, USA, Licensed Attorney.

Education

Juris Doctor, University of Colorado Law School (Boulder, Colorado).

Recognition

First Year Oral Advocacy Competition semifinalist; Deans List Fall 2010 semester; Resource Editor, Journal on Telecommunications and High Technology Law. Recognized as a "Promising Starts" attorney by the University of Colorado, 2013.

Planning Experience

I work as a consultant planner with experience in planning policy in local, national, and international contexts. I have worked on projects serving a range of clients, including national governments, international institutions, and non-profit organizations. The issues and topics I have worked on include urban development and sustainability, transportation, housing, food systems and peri-urban farming, and water. I also have design and data analysis experience, and am comfortable using a range of tools, including GIS mapping and design programs.

Certification

South African Council for Planners, Candidate Planner; Royal Town Planning Institute, UK, Licentiate Town Planner.

Education

Masters degree in City and Regional Planning (MCRP), with distinction, University of Cape Town (Cape Town, South Africa).

Recognition

Recipient, Western Cape Government Prize for best Regional Planning Project; South African Planning Institute (Western Cape) Prize for overall best student MCRP and MCPUD (Urban Development) courses (both years); Carl Borckenhagen Memorial Prize for best MCRP student.

Research Experience

I've been a member of a number of research teams at several universities helping to explore climate change mitigation on U.S. tribal lands, map food scarcity in Africa, explore corruption in the planning profession, and studying the impact of experimentation with drone technology in Africa. Most recently, I have been conducting field research with a research team from the University of Cape Town's African Centre for Cities Cities of Integrity program to better understand the role of professional identity and integrity as a tool to fight corruption among South Africa's and Zambia's planners.

Selected Academic Publications

Making space for drones: the contested re-regulation of airspace in Tanzania and Rwanda.
Co-authored with Andy Lockhart, Aiden While, Simon Marvin, Mateja Kovacic, and Nancy Odendaal. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographer . 2021.

Permissible Uses of Airport Property and Revenue.
Co-authored with Peter Kirsch. Transportation Research Board's National Airport Cooperative Research Program,Project 11-01, Topic 11-01. 2020.

NCRRP Legal Research Digest 3: Issues That Emerge When Public Entities Acquire a Real Property Interest in Rail Lines.
Co-Authored with Charles A. Spitulnik and Allison I. Fultz. Transportation Research Board's National Cooperative Rail Research Program. 2016.

18,000 Americans without Electricity: Illuminating and Solving the Navajo Energy Crisis.
Co-Authored with David Tarasi, Julie Nania, Bob Gregory, Naree Chan, and Doug Vilsack. 22 Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy 263. 2011.

On-Site Renewable Energy and Public Finance: How and Why Municipal Bond Financing is the Key to Propagating Access to On-Site Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.
Co-Authored with Jason R. Wiener. 26 Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Law Journal 559. 2010.

Education

B.A. History, cum laude, Amherst College (Amherst, Massachusetts).

SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability is a strong current running through my professional and personal lives. I’ve worked in a range of capacities to support forward-thinking solutions that address environmental issues while also enhancing human well-being. In the U.S. as an attorney with Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP I've helped implement public infrastructure projects that serve communities and promote sustainable and healthy lifestyles, such as the New York High Line, Denver Union Station, and the Atlanta BeltLine. I've also helped cities fight for healthy environments and climate resilience.

In Cape Town, I'm working with the PHA Food and Farming Campaign to produce an alternative vision for Cape Town's peri-urban agricultural land, one that promotes sustainable, local, small-scale agriculture in an environmentally sensitive manner. I've reported on water shortages in Cape Town and its impacts on food security and biodiversity.

I have also been involved in projects to hold multi-national corporations accountable for their climate change goals and to develop climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies for tribal communities in the United States. I have in-house legal experience with a leading U.S. residential and commercial photovoltaic solar installation company, and have worked as an advocate and community organizer for a range of environmental causes. I hold a graduate-level certificate in energy from the University of Colorado's Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute. I also write about the theory and philosophy of sustainability.

CITIES AND SOCIETY

My work on cities and society spans several disciplines and locations. In the U.S. as an attorney with Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP I help cities and government agencies navigate a range of complex legal issues in getting their infrastructure projects up and running smoothly. I'm proud of my involvement in many transportation projects, including rail-trails and transit lines, that allow people to move about efficiently and sustainably.

In my work as a planner I tackle the obstacles to achieving healthy, equitable, thriving communities. Doing so requires consideration of how human needs can be integrated within the physical and ecological context so as to harmonize the two. Creating and maintaining sustainable communities also necessitates the pursuit of environmental and social justice within communities.

In Cape Town I work on ways to promote food and water security through my affiliation with the PHA Food and Farming Campaign. In 2018 I worked on research of the impact of drone technologies in Africa, and have been involved in projects looking at low-income urban housing in Rwanda and ethics in the planning profession in Zambia and South Africa.

My masters dissertation in spatial planning at the University of Cape Town looked at the effects and potential of technological innovation in Cape Town's public transport networks. I applied Actor Network Theory to map out the socio-technical assemblages surrounding a particular transportation scenario in a suburb of Cape Town, and assessed the prospects for new applications of information and communications technologies.

WRITING

You can find some of my self-published writing on Medium.com. From time to time I also post on my blog Thought Process.



I've also written through and for other outlets:

Gauging corruption and integrity in planning systems of South Africa and Zambia
Royal Town Planning Institute Blog. 07.05.2021.

Confronting the City of Cape Town's PHA Myths
Cape Town Weekend Argus. 17.11.2019.

Cape Town's 'Day Zero' Water Crisis, One Year Later.
CityLab. 12.04.2019. Grist. 21.04.2019.

Cape Town's Controversial Plan to Solve Its Water Crisis for Good.
Earther. 29.03.2018.

Why Cape Town Is About to Run Out of Water.
Earther. 22.01.2018.

Creative Commons License Christian Alexander 2021