Faculty Spotlight

Professor Hirokawa Named ‘Scholar of the Month’ by Center for Climate, Energy, Environment & Economics

Professor Keith Hirokawa

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Albany Law School Professor Keith Hirokawa is being acknowledged as the October 2016 "Scholar of the Month" by the Center for Climate, Energy, Environment and Economics (CE3) at University of North Carolina School of Law.

In its recognition of Professor Hirokawa, CE3 focused on three writings: "Urban Forests as Green Infrastructure," a chapter in his co-edited book Greening Local Government; "Sustainability and the Urban Forest: An Ecosystem Services Perspective" in Natural Resources Journal; and "Local Planning for Wind Power: Using Programmatic Environmental Impact Review to Facilitate Development" in Planning & Zoning Report.

“Professor Hirokawa’s expertise in land use and urban development issues creates a broad range of topics with which he can expand his research and provide helpful authority,” wrote UNC School of Law student Palmer Hilton. “In each of these articles, a common theme of application to local government zoning develops. Whether it is discussing urban forests or alternative energy projects like wind power, the viability of urban planning for these projects is crucial to their implementation.”

Professor Hirokawa, whose scholarship explores convergences in ecology, ethics, economics, and law, with particular attention given to local environmental law, ecosystem services policy, watershed management, and environmental impact analysis, has authored dozens of professional and scholarly articles. His work has been published in journals including the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, Gonzaga Law Review, Fordham Environmental Law Review, Albany Law Review, and the Washington University Law Review. He edited the book Environmental Law and Contrasting Ideas of Nature: A Constructivist Approach (Cambridge University Press, 2014), and co-edited Greening Local Government: Legal Strategies for Promoting Sustainability, Efficiency, and Fiscal Savings (American Bar Association, 2012) and Rethinking Sustainability to Meet the Climate Change Challenge (Environmental Law Institute, 2015).

“Professor Hirokawa’s expertise in land use and urban development issues creates a broad range of topics with which he can expand his research and provide helpful authority.”

Professor Hirokawa joined Albany Law School in 2009, bringing a philosophy of teaching "from the dirt," with his students out in the community and learning on-site. His students have examined files for a 60-acre development seeking approval, conducted simulated third-party negotiations at a local town hall, and collected data on indicator species — bugs — while examining a New York state program reliant on citizen monitoring. Last year, his environmental law students visited at a job site of local developer Mark Van Vleck.

He teaches courses involving environmental and natural resources law, land use planning, property law, and jurisprudence.

Prior to joining the faculty at Albany Law, Professor Hirokawa was an associate professor at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and an adjunct professor at the University of Oregon School of Law.  Professor Hirokawa practiced land use and environmental law in Oregon and Washington and was heavily involved with community groups and nonprofit organizations.

He studied philosophy and law at the University of Connecticut, where he earned his J.D. and M.A. degrees.  He earned his LL.M. in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from Lewis & Clark Law School.

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