Sean Kennedy

Assistant Professor

PhD, University of California, Los Angeles 2018

111 Temple Buell Hall, 611 East Lorado Taft Drive
Champaign IL 61820

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 217.333.3890

Dr. Kennedy’s research analyzes the relationship between environmental planning and regional development, with an emphasis on how urban sustainability initiatives shape economies and livelihoods in rural and peri-urban regions. His research and teaching interests span areas of urban sustainability, international planning, environmental governance, and regional development, with a geographic focus on Southeast Asia and the United States.

Dr. Kennedy has wide-ranging environmental policy experience across public, private and nonprofit sectors, including policy and research positions at the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency in Canberra, Australia, and the World Agroforestry Centre in Bogor, Indonesia. He received his Ph.D. in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2018. Upon the completion of his doctoral study, he worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA, where he contributed technical expertise and supported stakeholder engagement as part of the Los Angeles County Sustainability Plan.

Ongoing Research Projects

Adaptation for whom? Mainstreaming climate change adaptation and the (re)distribution of risk in Indonesia

This research examines the ways that the ‘mainstreaming’ of climate change adaptation is reshaping dynamics of environmental governance and exposure to risk in Indonesia. Understanding the intersection between climate adaptation efforts and the structural causes of climate vulnerability will support further analysis of the ways in which climate adaptation efforts (re)distribute risk, and in doing so, potentially work to ameliorate or deepen existing vulnerabilities in different contexts across Indonesia.

Renewable energy and the challenges of land use in Southeast Asia: a comparative analysis

Southeast Asia has abundant RE resources yet difficulties in acquiring land pose significant barriers to project development. To facilitate RE growth, several national governments have relaxed land use regulations by expediting permitting and lowering land acquisition costs for RE developers. This 12-month multidisciplinary project will compare how three emerging RE hotspots – Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines – are employing land use policy to facilitate large-scale RE development.

Selected Publications

Kennedy, S. (2018). Indonesia's energy transition and its contradictions: Emerging geographies of energy and finance. Energy Research & Social Science

Kennedy, S., Leimona, B & Yi, Z. (2017). Making a green rubber stamp: emerging dynamics of natural rubber eco-certification. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management

Kennedy, S. (2014). Eco-Certification of Natural Rubber: Demand, Supply, and Potential Implications of Private Global Environmental Governance Critical Planning, Vol. 21.

Teaching and Advising

Courses taught

Fall 2019

  • UP199: International Environmental Planning and Governance

Spring 2020

  • UP 494: Climate Action Planning

MUP Capstone Advising


  • Moazam Hakim: Sustainable Strategies for Climate Action and Resilience Planning in Conflicted Landscapes: The case of Srinagar City, India.
  • Mohsen Fatemi: Climate Action Plan - Illinois State Parks: Rock Cut State Park
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