Melissa O. Tier

STEP Ph.D. Student
School of Public and International Affairs

Melissa Oberon Tier is a 4th-year PhD candidate at the Princeton School of Public & International Affairs in the Science, Technology, & Environmental Policy program. Her research on climate adaptation policy interweaves topics in multi-level governance, environmental justice, behavioral science, and urban planning. Her dissertation research includes: survey work on justice preferences in the design of urban climate adaptation flood policies, historical analysis of funding mechanisms for flood buyouts in the U.S., and a case study of a regional planning project hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Through these projects and others, Melissa is actively involved in community-based and co-produced work, including via the regional Megalopolitan Coastal Transformation Hub (MACH) and NYC Resilient Coastal Communities Project. She also co-teaches an Environmental Justice course with the NJ Prison Teaching Initiative, and previously worked as a Graduate Fellow at the NYC Mayor's Office of Climate & Environmental Justice. At Princeton, she is a member of the Center for Policy Research on Energy & the Environment, the Behavioral Science for Policy Lab, and the SPIA in NJ initiative.

Before joining the Princeton community, Melissa served for 5 years as the first Sustainability Program Manager at Swarthmore College, PA, helping to launch the Office of Sustainability and to facilitate environmental and climate institutional decision-making. She holds an MSc in Sustainable Urban Development from the University of Oxford and a BA in Psychology from Swarthmore.

Selected Publications

Caggiano, H., Kocakusak, D., Kumar, P., & Tier, M. O. (accepted). U.S. cities’ integration and evaluation of equity considerations into climate action plans. npj Urban Sustainability.

Tier, M. (2021). Overcoming contemporary reform failure of the National Flood Insurance Program to accelerate just climate transitions. Journal of Public & International Affairs, 32, online. 

Tier, M., Oppenheimer, M., & Nordenson, G. (2021). Memorandum on Federal Priorities for Climate Adaptation. Princeton University, Center for Policy Research on Energy & the Environment.

Tier, M. (2020). Multi-level and regional governance models for urban climate action: A case study of the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Conference paper. International Conference on Sustainable Development.