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Costanza Rampini


Costanza Rampini

Assistant Professor

Department of Environmental Studies

climate change, climate justice, human adaptation, resilience, sustainable development, political ecology, sustainable water resource management, vulnerability

Current Research Activities

My work focuses on climate change impacts and solutions. Some of the questions that inform my research are: Who is most vulnerable to climate change impacts? Who pays the price of climate change solutions, and who benefits from them? Whose values and voices are prioritized in climate change solutions? Who gets left out? How can we help foster and promote resilience within a community? What are desirable and just ways to 'do' sustainable development that do not reproduce the same injustices as conventional development strategies? I am working on 3 research projects at this time. I continue to examine the interactions between climate change, floods, development efforts and state policies in the region of Northeast India. Additionally, I am working with the City of Santa Cruz on their climate change adaptation efforts, in particular I have helped the City do outreach and engagement with residents of the Beach Flats and Lower Ocean neighborhoods of Santa Cruz to learn about their experience with coastal and riverine floods, and to ask them about desirable solutions to keep their neighborhoods resilient to future seal level rise and floods. Finally, I am collaborating with faculty at UC Davis and several community organizations (North Santa Clara Resource Conservation District, Contra Costa Resource Conservation District, and Napa Resource Conservation District) to study the presence of homelessness encampments along urban streams in the San Francisco Bay Area. The goal is to understand the vulnerability of our urban streams and of the communities that live along their riverbanks to climate change impacts and help local agencies develop solutions that can improve the health of urban streams while also improving the lives of those experiencing homelessness. 

Research Connections to Current Events

Climate change and sustainable development are some of the more pressing issues of today, and my work helps illustrate who the winners and losers are when it comes to climate change impacts and solutions. As different countries, regions, cities, and communities try to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and implement strategies to cope with the impacts of climate change, it is key that they prioritize frontline communities - the first and most vulnerable to climate change. Through my research and my research methods, I help local agencies involve frontline communities in the early stages of designing and developing climate change solutions to make sure that these solutions are more equitable and benefit those who most need it. 

Personal Connections to Research

When I first began my PhD in 2009, the 'climategate' scandal exploded, and this led to people focusing lots of attention to the Himalayan region, its glaciers, and its rivers. This is what sparked my interest in doing research in Northeast India along the riverbanks of the Brahmaputra River - a mighty and destructive Himalayan river. During my time in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, I spoke with many local residents and I learned that dams - which are being promoted as a climate change and energy solution for the region - are having many negative impacts on local residents and making it significantly harder for them to live with recurrent summer floods. This led me to question the outcomes and fairness of climate change solutions. Today, I use the lessons that I learned while working with rural communities in Northeast India and apply them to my work in the Monterey and San Francisco Bay Area to help municipalities better understand the outcomes and equity of different climate change solutions. 

Social Media



Research Gate

Other Languages

French, Italian