Marcos Luna

Professional Details

Title Professor
Department Geography and Sustainability
Office Meier Hall 326F
Phone 978.542.6487
Resume Marcos Luna
Photo of Marcos Luna

Recent and Upcoming Courses

GPH 115 Global Climate Change: Causes and Consequences
GPH 301 Introduction to Quantitative Geography
GPH 366 Energy and the Environment
GPH 379 Environmental Justice
GPH 402 Study-travel Seminar
GPH 875 Directed Study in Geography
GPH 876 Thesis
GPH 904 Geographic Information Systems for Research and Analysis
GPH 942 Advanced Geographic Quantitative Methods

Professional Biography

I joined the Geography and Sustainability Department in 2004. I received my Ph.D. in Urban Affairs and Public Policy with a concentration in Technology, Environment and Society from the University of Delaware in 2007. I received my M.A. in Geography from California State University, Los Angeles in 2000. Before coming to Salem State University, I worked as an Environmental Analyst for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and before that, as a NASA-funded GIS consultant for Native American tribes in the Southwest and Northwest. I have participated in various health and environmental research and public service projects in Massachusetts, Delaware and California.

Professional Interests

My research focuses on environmental justice and applications of geospatial analytic techniques to social and environmental inequities. I have published research on the inequities of drinking water contamination, housing discriminationnatural gas leaks, urban noise, transit, energy, air pollution, and environmental policy.

I work with community organizations and policy makers on issues including environmental justice, housing and segregation, transportation, and climate change adaptation. I am an appointed member of a committee on environmental justice mapping for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. I am a governor-appointed member of the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Council. I serve on the Board of Directors for GreenRoots, an environmental justice community based organization serving Chelsea and East Boston in Massachusetts, as well as the Board of Directors for Comunidades Enraizadas Community Land Trust in Chelsea. I serve on the Education Committee for the Boston Public Library Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center’s Board of Directors.


As Coordinator for the graduate Geo-Information Sciences program I provide academic advising to all graduate GIS students and students entering the combined BS/MS Cartography and Geographic Information Systems, Geo-Information Science program. I evaluate applications to the graduate Geo-Information Sciences program, and provide leadership in graduate program review and planning, as well as developing annual program goals and objectives.

As a Professor of Geography and Sustainability, I teach undergraduate courses on Environmental Justice, Climate Change, and quantitative methods in Geography, and I teach graduate courses on GIS and its applications to analysis and research.

I serve on the University Graduate Education Council, the Earth Days Planning Committee, and I am the Geography Department's liaison for the Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU) International Geographical Honor Society.

Selected Publications

Kim, M., R. De Vito, F. Duarte, K. Tieskens, M. Luna, A. Salazar-Miranda, M. Mazzarello, et al. 2023. “Boil Water Alerts and Their Impact on the Unexcused Absence Rate in Public Schools in Jackson, Mississippi.” Nature Water, April, 1–11.

Luna, Marcos, and Dominic Nicholas. 2022. “An environmental justice analysis of distribution-level natural gas leaks in Massachusetts, USA.” Energy Policy 162.

Estrella-Luna, Neenah, Nancy S. Lee, Marcos Luna, Jim DiGiulio, Darliya Bennett, and Denice Villar Amparo. “The City of Boston’s Role in Racial Discrimination in Home Buying.” StarLuna Consulting, LLC. 2022.

Lee, Nina F., Jonathan I. Levy, Marcos Luna, Erica D. Walker. 2022. “Spatial and sociodemographic determinants of community loudness perception.” Applied Acoustics 186.

Luna, Marcos. 2019. “Evaluation of Massachusetts Environmental Justice Criteria.” A report to the Environmental Justice Legislative Table of Massachusetts.

Jones, Mark J., and Marcos Luna. 2019. “Geography Deserts: State and Regional Variation in the Formal Opportunity to Learn Geography in the United States, 2005-2015." Journal of Geography 118(2):88-100.

Luna, Marcos. 2018. “MBTA Bus Equity Analysis.” A report to GreenRoots, Inc. and the community of Chelsea, Massachusetts.

Flannery, Wesley, Noel Healy, and Marcos Luna. 2018. “Exclusion and non-participation in Marine Spatial Planning.” Marine Policy 88:32-40.

Luna, Marcos. 2018. “Column: The Blizzard of '78 and lessons learned.” The Salem News. February 6, 2018.

Walker, Erica, Jaime E Hart; Petros Koutrakis, Jennifer M Cavallari, Trang VoPHam, Marcos Luna, and Francine Laden. 2017. "Spatial and temporal determinants of A-weighted and frequency specific sound levels—An elastic net approach." Environmental Research 159:491-499.

Luna, Marcos. 2017. “Column: Environmental regulations protect our most vulnerable communities.” The Salem News. May 5, 2017.

Walker, Erica, Julio Cesar Roman, and Marcos Luna. 2016. “2016 Greater Boston Noise Report.” A report on sound levels and survey responses of the experience of noise in the Greater Boston region.

Luna, Marcos. 2016. Analysis of Equity Impacts of Cancellation of MBTA Late-Night Service. A report to the Conservation Law Foundation, Alternatives for Community & Environment, and the Greater Four Corners Action Coalition.

Luna, Marcos, Tyler Abegg, and Fatou Mandiang. 2015. Analysis of the Salem State University Transit Network: An Assessment of Commuter Travel Timeliness and Efficiency. A Report to the North Shore Transportation Management Association (TMA) and the Salem State University Transportation Committee. 

Luna, Marcos. 2014. "Equity in Transportation Planning: An Analysis of the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization." The Professional Geographer 67(2):282-291.

Luna, Marcos. 2012. The Environment since 1945. New York: Facts on File.

Luna, Marcos. 2011. Equity Analysis of Boston MPO: An Analysis of Representation and Voting Structure. A Report to Alternatives for Community and Environment.

Luna, Marcos. 2010.  Review of Capitalizing on Environmental Injustice: The Polluter-Industrial Complex in the Age of Globalization. The Northeastern Geographer 2: 82.

Luna, et al. 2010. Voter Participation and Demographics in Lowell, MA: A GIS Study. A Report to ONE Lowell and the City of Lowell, Massachusetts.

Luna, Marcos. 2008. “Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Distancing and theGeographic Relationship Between Electricity Consumption and Production in Massachusetts.” Social Science Quarterly 89(5): 578.

Selected Presentations

Luna, Marcos, Rebecca Smalley, James Neumann, Maura Flight, and Chas Fant. “From Analysis to Action: Strategies for Promoting Climate Justice when Implementing Nature-based Solutions to Coastal Risk.” Stone Living Lab Nature-Based Coastal Resilience in Urban Settings conference at UMass Boston (April 27, 2023).

Luna, Marcos. “One map to bind them all? Acknowledging and confronting the dangers of a unified definition for identifying and mapping Environmental Justice communities.” American Association of Geographers conference, Denver, CO (March 26, 2023).

“Application of EPA’s ‘Climate Change and Social Vulnerability in the United States: A Focus on Six Impacts’ to Benefit Cost Analysis.” Panel discussant at Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis annual conference. Panelists included: James Neumann, Principal at Industrial Economics, Inc., Margaret Black, ABT Associates, and Megan Sheahan, Industrial Economics, Inc. (March 22, 2022).  Panel recording available

“Will COP26 Make a Difference? What to Expect from Key Actors on Climate Action” invited panelist to discuss US climate politics and policy. Co-panelists included: Dr. Abhijit Banerjee, Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities, Dr. Annika Styczynski, Jindal School of Government & Public Policy, Dr. Avinash Godbole, Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities, and Dr. Gopal Sarangi, TERI School of Advanced Studies. Centre for Environment, Sustainability and Human Development, O. P. Jindal Global University (October 29, 2021). Event recording at

“Environmental Toxins and Public Health” keynote Earth Week panel at the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard. Invited panelist to discuss environmental justice. Co-panelists included: Dr. Karletta Chief, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona, and Dr. Jonathan Levy, Professor of Environmental Health at Boston University and Chair of the Environmental Health Department at the Boston University School of Public Health. (April 21, 2021). Online at

“Climate & Equity” panel by the Environmental League of Massachusetts. Invited panelist to discuss recent state environmental justice legislation and equity dimensions of state climate change policy. Co-panelists included: Massachusetts state Representative Adrian Madaro, and Co-Director of the Center for Health Equity Education and Advocacy at Cambridge Health Alliance, Dr. Gaurab Basu. (April 15, 2021). Online at

Luna, Marcos. “The Geography of Environmental (In)Justice in New England.” Contemporary Issues Faculty Lectures at Salem State University (April 15, 2021). Online at

“A Climate Conversation” at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). Invited panelist to discuss equity dimensions of the City of Boston’s Climate Ready Boston plan. ICA Watershed, Boston, MA (September 12, 2019).

Luna, Marcos. “The Geography of Separate and Unequal: Mapping Modern-Day Segregation in the Boston Area.” Explorers Lifelong Learning Institute Friday Coffee event, Salem, MA (April 6, 2018).

Gozemba, Pat, Marcos Luna, Nathan Phillips, Bob Ackley, and Kim Driscoll. “The Hidden Costs of Salem’s Gas Leaks: Why should we care?” Community presentation on research into natural gas leaks in Salem, Massachusetts in collaboration with Salem Alliance for the Environment (SAFE), Gas Safety Inc. and Boston University. Presented at the Enterprise Center, Salem State University (Nov 28, 2017). See the story map presentation. Presentation filmed and broadcast by Salem Access TV (SATV) (Dec 21, 2017)

Luna, Marcos. “How to Increase Community Vulnerability, Lose Credibility, and Generally #$@&%*! Things Up: Lessons from the frontlines of community-based research.” Invited workshop for the 11th Graduate Climate Conference in Woods Hole, Massachusetts (Nov 10, 2017). Sponsored by the MIT Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Harvard University Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Luna, Marcos. Panelist. “Transportation Justice: The work and role of scholars and practitioners in creating transit equity.” American Association of Geographers conference, Boston, MA (April 5, 2017).

Luna, Marcos. The Geography of Separate and Unequal: Modern-day Segregation in Boston. A Presentation to the City of Boston Mayor's Office of Resilience and Racial Equity at Boston City Hall (November 14, 2016).

Luna, M. Geography of Segregation. Presented at The Ferguson Forum: Panel and discussion on systemic racism, the law and its relevance for communities of color. Hosted by Center for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts (October 21, 2014).