Dr. C.N.E. Corbin studies the relationships between society and nature within the built environment by investigating the concept of the green city within the United States.
As an environmentalist and a political ecologist her work focuses on public green spaces and how urban “sustainable development” initiatives and environmental policies and practices impact and shape land-uses and public park access.
Dr. Corbin examines both sides of environmental (in)justice, the uneven distribution of environmental harms and the uneven development of environmental goods in which low-income residents and Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian (BILA) communities are disproportionately exposed to environmental hazards while also being prevented from benefiting from environmental amenities.
Corbin incorporates media studies and visual culture, often deploying speculative fiction and Afrofuturism, to understand how images represent and influence environmental, racial, and spatial understandings of urban spaces. Her research shows how historical processes of urbanization and current urban environmental policies, at scale, influence and contribute to the environmental injustices being (re)produced today, while also questioning what that could mean for future populations living in green sustainable cities.
Dr. Corbin completed her doctoral degree at the University of California, Berkeley in the department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management.
Her dissertation is titled, From Redlining to Greenlining: The Political Ecology of Race, Class, and Access to Green Space in Oakland, California from 1937-2020. She served on the Oakland Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission (PRAC) from 2015-2020 and was the chair of the PRAC from 2019-2020.
During her tenure with the PRAC, Dr. Corbin placed Oakland’s urban municipal parks within an environmental justice lens and took an Environmental Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (Environmental J.E.D.I.) approach to park policies and practices. She worked on the campaign team for Measure Q “The 2020 Oakland Parks and Recreation Preservation, Litter Reduction, and Homelessness Support Act,” which was successfully voted in by the City of Oakland on March of 2020, and she also contributed to Oakland’s 2020 Equitable Climate Action Plan.
As the PRAC chair and now a current board member of the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation, Dr. Corbin was a main author and contributor to the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation’s “Parks & Equity: The Promise of Oakland’s Parks a Survey of Oaklander’s Park Experiences and Perspectives Report,” completed in December 2020.
Corbin’s work is now exploring public parks beyond recreation by studying the relationships between public park infrastructures and social networks and examining how municipalities can create new strategies to serve vulnerable residents during climate change and severe weather events.