Monika Shankar is a Master of Urban and Regional Planning candidate at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California Los Angeles, with a focused concentration in Environmental Analysis and Policy. She is also pursuing a Leadership in Sustainability Certificate from the Institute of the Environment & Sustainability. Her graduate and professional work is situated at the intersection of urban planning and environmental justice, with a particular emphasis on assessing and developing strategies to address incompatible land uses due to stationary sources of pollution. In Los Angeles, the challenge of incompatible land uses – the siting of hazardous uses of land near sensitive populations – primarily impacts the region’s low-income communities and communities of color. Monika is committed to working with these communities, alongside advocates and policy makers, to identify viable land use strategies and policy vehicles to mitigate harm to human health and the environment. Her approach is inter-disciplinary, and rooted in community co-powerment and multi-stakeholder engagement.
While pursuing her graduate studies, Monika continues to work with Physicians for Social Responsibility-LA (PSR-LA), which she joined in 2013. As a Senior Program Manager, she is responsible for strategically guiding the organization’s work on air quality, land use and health, focusing especially on the implementation of the AB 617 Air Quality Project and the 500 Feet Initiative. During her tenure at PSR-LA, she served on the steering committee of ClimatePlan and the Jordan Downs Environmental Justice Coalition, and became a fellow at the Reach the Decision Makers Fellowship Program. Monika hopes to continue working within her existing network, while cultivating new partnerships, with the goal of advancing solutions rooted in justice and equity that improve environmental health conditions across Los Angeles.
Fellow at a Glance