Renee Roy Elias is a Senior Advisor at CCI where she leads stakeholder outreach and qualitative research analysis for projects on POC business displacement and climate investments and displacement. She was formerly Executive Director of the Center for Community Innovation (CCI) as well as a Lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Department of City and Regional Planning. Alongside her work at CCI, Renee serves as a strategy consultant to community development organizations nationally.Prior to her time at UC Berkeley, Renee served as the Director of Research and Advisory Services at the Public Health Institute, where she led major research initiatives on social determinants of health metrics and client projects to support partnerships between the community development, finance, and health sectors. Renee also worked extensively with community-based organizations to improve access to healthy foods in low-income communities and communities of color. This includes her work as an urban designer and planner at the Remaking Cities Institute and the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry (both at Carnegie Mellon University) where she developed urban agriculture design strategies for a reclaimed brownfield site and initiated an award-winning grocery store project in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, respectively. Renee formerly served as an adjunct faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University where she taught both undergraduate and graduate-level courses on urban food systems.
She has published academic articles and reports on anchor institutions, social determinants of health indicators, the healthy communities movement, and neighborhood change. Renee holds a PhD in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley; a Master of Science in Nature, Society, and Environmental Policy from the University of Oxford, England; and a Master of Urban Design and Bachelor of Architecture both from Carnegie Mellon University.