Sara Jane O'Neill

Senior Research Associate

As a Senior Research Associate for Sustainable Communities, Sara brings to Smart Prosperity Institute a true passion for finding ways to make our cities a better place to live, for now and far into the future. She started her education with an Honours Bachelor degree in Biology at Queen’s University before embarking on a Master of Environmental Design (Planning) degree at the University of Calgary. Here she worked on sustainable community planning and focused her main research on how municipalities implement change in stormwater management practices. She then worked as an environmental planner for Conservation Authorities in Ontario for a number of years, reviewing the impact of potential development on the environment. It was here that she discovered the importance of economics and policy in on-the-ground environmental decision-making and the impacts of those decisions on communities and people. Eventually she moved to Ottawa and enrolled in the inaugural class of the Master of Environmental Sustainability program at the University of Ottawa. Continuing her focus on community sustainability planning, Sara worked on projects looking at pricing signals for combatting urban sprawl as well as environmental justice issues in city sustainability planning.

Outside of the work realm, Sara prefers to be running amok in the wilderness, whether it be hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, biking, camping, or just taking pictures of the natural beauty of the world around us!