Subhashni Raj

Subhashni Raj, Faculty, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, UH Mānoa

Assistant Professor
Saunders 107D
(808) 956-6869

Areas of interest

Climate Change, Food Systems Planning, Climate Adaptation Planning, Environmental Planning


  • PhD. Urban and Regional Planning, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
  • M.U.P in Environmental Planning, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
  • B.Sc. in Microbiology, Chemistry and Zoology, Bangalore University


  • Jerome L. Kaufman doctoral fellowship in food systems planning, 2013-2017
  • Fulbright Scholar, 2011-2013


Subhashni began her career in microbiology, studying the impact of sea surface temperatures on coral health in Fiji. A failed sampling expedition made her realize that poor land-use was a much larger threat in the territorial waters of Fiji than climate change at the time. At this realization she pivoted and started a career in regional development, bringing integrated water resource management governance principles to Pacific Island Countries through SOPAC (now the Pacific Community). A chance meeting with Professor Coffman, then redirected her career trajectory towards urban planning. A Fulbright scholarship brought her to Buffalo, NY for her masters in urban planning, followed by a Kaufman fellowship for her doctoral work. She then returned to her native Fiji and worked for UN Women to lead their climate change programming. When opportunity came knocking, she and her husband moved to Davis, California to pursue a postdoc with Dr Catherine Brinkley. In pursuit of the Academic dream, she moved to Oahu in 2022, with her husband, Jeffrey Fine, and toddler (Nikhil).

Courses Instructed

  • PLAN 310 Introduction to Planning
  • PLAN 616 Community Based Planning
  • PLAN 625 Climate Change, Energy and Food Security in the Asia Pacific Region
  • PLAN 645 Land Use Planning

Academic, professional work

Subhashni’s research investigates the impact of climate change on the food and water pathways of marginalized communities and uses mixed methods (statistical and spatial analysis, interviews and policy analysis) to identify factors that alleviate and deteriorate community food and water security.

Selected Publications and Publications

Raj, Subhashni, Sam Roodbar, Catherine Brinkley, and David Wolfe. 2022. Food Security and Climate Change: Differences in impacts and adaptation strategies for rural communities in the Global South and North. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 5, 264.

Raj, Subhashni, Catherine Brinkley, John Ulimwengu. 2022. Connected and extracted: Understanding how centrality in the global wheat network affects global hunger using a network approach. Plos One, 17(6), e0269891.

Brinkley, Catherine and Subhashni Raj. 2022. Perfusion and urban thickness: The shape of cities. Journal of Land Use Policy, 115, 106015.

Brinkley, Catherine, Subhashni Raj, and Samina Raja. 2022. Planning for FEWsheds: The Role of Planning in Strengthening Food, Energy and Water Systems. Journal of Planning Literature.

Fuchs-Chesney, Jordana, Subhashni Raj, Tishtar Daruwalla, and Catherine Brinkley. 2022. Measuring a Community Food System using Network Analysis: A Case Comparison of Yolo and Sacramento County, California. Agriculture and Human Values.

McManamay, Ryan, Catherine Brinkley, Chris Vernon, Subhashni Raj, and Jennie Rice. Urban land teleconnections in the United States: A graphical network approach. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 95: 101822.

Raj, Subhashni, Samina Raja, Bree-Ana Dukes. 2017. Beneficial but Constrained: Role of Urban Agriculture Programs in Supporting Healthy Eating Among Youth. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition; 12(3): 1-23. doi: 10.1080/19320248.2015.1128865.

Brinkley, Catherine, Subhashni Raj and Megan Horst. 2017. Culturing Food Deserts: Identifying Healthy Food Access in situ. Built Environment; 43(3): 328-342

Current Research Projects (list and briefly describe only two or three – provide links to news articles or other places where your project was discussed/reviewed)

Agriculture and Food in California General Plans

Agriculture and urban land-uses often face off with intense competition for land and water. Recent reviews of food justice policies across the US provide a basis for considering strong and innovative planning efforts. This research offers the first comprehensive assessment of how many of such food policies, equity focused or not, are in play across California, the nation’s leading state in agricultural production.