Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization

Division of Social Sciences, The University of Chicago

portrait of Sabina Shaikh
portrait of Sabina Shaikh

Sabina Shaikh

Senior Instructional Professor
Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization (CEGU)
Committee on Southern Asian Studies
Director of Academic Programs, Director of Undergraduate Studies, CEGU
Faculty Director, Chicago Studies
Faculty co-Lead, Environmental Frontiers Initiative, Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation

My work at the University involves developing pedagogy and research experiences for undergraduate environmental studies. My own research focuses on the relationship of humans to environmental change, related to health, livelihoods and migration. Our collaborative research on water sustainability in the Mekong Basin of Cambodia has been funded by the National Science Foundation and recently by through the Center for International Social Science Research, Social Science Research Center and the Neubauer Collegium at the University of Chicago.


Selected WORKS

Shaikh, S. and E. Talen (2023) Our Urban Future: An Active Learning Guide to Sustainable Cities. MIT Press. (In press, December)

Shaikh, S., A. Kolata, J. Johnson and M. Binford (2023) “Home and Away: Drivers and Perceptions of Migration Among Urban Migrants and their Rural Families in the Lower Mekong River Basin of Cambodia.” Migration and Development, 12(1).

Manohar, S., D. Downs, S. Shaikh, S. Mak, S. Sok, E. Graham, L. Miachon and J. Fanzo (2023). “Riverine food environments and food security: a case study of the Mekong River, Cambodia.” Bulletin of the World Health Organization (101)

Felkner, J., H. Lee, S. Shaikh, A. Kolata and B. Binford (2022). “The Interrelated Impacts of Credit Access, Market Access and Forest Proximity on Livelihood Strategies in Cambodia,” World Development (155)

Leitzel, J and S. Shaikh (2022). “The Economic Standing of Animals,” available at SSRN

Felkner, et al. (2022). “A Scientific Research Agenda for Water Sustainability in the Mekong,” available at SSRN

Jagai, J.S., A.K. Krajewski, S. Shaikh, L.A. Dwyer-Lindgren, D.T. Lob-dell, and R.M. Sargis (2019). “The Association Between Environmental Quality and Diabetes in the U.S., Journal of Diabetes Investigation.

Shaikh, S., R.M. Sargis., J.S. Jagai, C. Ashley and S. Zhou (May 2018). “Underutilized and Under Threat: Environmental Policy as a Tool to Address Diabetes Risk.” Current Diabetes Reports.

Sanderson A. and S. Shaikh (2017). “Economics, Sports & the Environment: Incentives and Intersections.” Handbook on Sport, Sustainability and the Environment, Routledge.

Oliver, D., et al. (2016). “Molecular tools for bathing water assessment: balancing socio-economic research with a rapidly developing science evidence-base.” Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment, 45(1).

Shaikh, S. (2012). “Benefit cost analysis for environmental decision making: using discounting to compare benefits and costs that occur at different points in time” in the Handbook of Metropolitan Sustainability. Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge.

Tallis, H., S. Pagiola, W. Zhang, S.L. Shaikh, E. Nelson, C. Stanton and P. Shyamsundar (2011). “Poverty Implications of Ecosystem Service Valuation” in Natural Capital: Theory and Practice of Mapping Ecosystem Services. Oxford University Press.

Harris, J and S. Shaikh “Value of Time Clustering and the Efficiency of Destination-Based Congestion Pricing” Environmental Practice, 13(1) March 2011.

Kozak, J, C. Lant, S. Shaikh and G. Wang. “The Geography of Ecosystem Service Value: The Case of the DesPlaines and Cache River Wetlands, Illinois.” Applied Geography, 31 (1), January 2011.


News and events

November 8, 2023. Should I give up meat? My car? Climate change expert says we need a cultural shift. The Rundown, WBEZ.

November 5, 2023. How Cities like Chicago Impact our Planet’s Health, Chicago Humanities Festival

February 2023: Interlocutor, The Profits of Distrust, by Manuel Teodoro, CEGU and Seminary Co-op Bookstore

October 2022: Moderator, Contemporary Environmental Crises: Perspectives from the Social Sciences and Humanities, CEGU

June 2022; Interview, Cook County Desirable Destination Amid Climate Change, Chicago Tonight, WTTW

April 2022: Speaker, “Migration as Adaptation to Environmental Change”, DePaul Migration Collaborative Inaugural Immigration Summit: Strategies for a Migrant Planet

April 2022: Moderator, The Fire This Time: City Mayors Grapple with Climate Change Costs to Their Communities, Institute for Politics, UChicago

March 2022: Interlocutor, Troubling the Water: A Dying Lake and Vanishing World in Cambodia, by Abby Seiff, Seminary Coop

October 2021: Interview, The Future of Cities in a Post-COVID-19 World, Chicago Tonight, WTTW

July 2021: Interview, How Climate Change Impacts U.S. and Global Migration. Chicago Tonight, WTTW

May 2021: News, UChicago scholar inspires students to engage with our environment, UChicago News

April 2021: The pandemic forced us to create habits that benefit the Earth and ourselves. Here’s which behaviors to keep. CNN

December 2021: From his home, Attenborough shows viewers a perfect planet. Chicago Tribune.



Shaikh, S. and E. Talen. Our Urban Future. MIT Press. Forthcoming 2023.

Becoming Urban: Understanding the Urban Transformation of Migrants to Phnom Penh, Neubauer Collegium, University of Chicago, University of Chicago 2020-2023

Becoming Urban: Understanding the Urban Transformation of Migrants to Phnom Penh, Center for International Social Science Research, University of Chicago. 2020-2021.

Economic, Social and Environmental Drivers of Rural to Urban Migration in the Lower Mekong River Basin of Cambodia. Social Science Research Center, University of Chicago 2018-2020



Economics and Environmental Policy (Autumn 2023)

Urban Design with Nature, co-taught with Emily Talen (Autumn 2023)

Environmental and Urban Studies BA Thesis Colloquium (Autumn 2022)

Water: Economics, Policy and Society

Urban Spaces and Unnatural Disasters: Humans-Nature Connections in Cities