Karen Johnston (J.D. '08)Associate Director, Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth
J.D., Georgia State University
M.S.E.E., Virginia Tech
B.S.C.E., Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
Karen Johnston is the associate director of the Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth at Georgia State University College of Law, and affiliated faculty in the Urban Studies Institute, Micromobility Lab, and Teaching Atlanta Studies group.
Johnston’s current research focuses on micromobility laws and regulations, equitable access, and connecting micromobility to public transit. Johnston is currently working with a research team focused on the impact of COVID-19 on public transit, including ridership, behaviors, perceptions, and regulatory measures.
Johnston enjoys involving law students in research projects. Recently, Johnston, John Marshall, and a team of law students completed a research project for the Georgia Department of Transportation examining right-of-way land acquisition practices for highway projects crossing navigable waterways. In 2019, Johnston and a team of students completed a planning law survey of 7 U.S. cities for UN-Habitat’s Urban Legislation Unit.
Johnston teaches the Urban Fellows course, supervises independent study courses, and has co-taught Land Use Law. She is the managing editor of the Journal of Comparative Urban Law and Policy, an online, open access journal with readership in 167 countries. She is also a faculty advisor for the Environmental Law Society and Jeffrey G. Miller National Environmental Law moot court team. Johnston manages the Environmental and Land Use Law Certificate, dual degree JD/master’s in city and regional planning with Georgia Tech, and the LLM in Environmental and Land Use Law.
Prior to joining the College of Law in 2010, Johnston worked for The Home Depot in a variety of roles, including EH&S regulatory compliance, communications and training for all stores. Johnston also worked for Camp Dresser & McKee as an environmental engineer, primarily focused on water resources planning, water distribution and treatment, and wastewater treatment and collection systems.
Johnston holds a J.D. from Georgia State University, M.S. in Environmental Engineering and B.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech. She is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and its Environmental Law section, and the American Bar Association and its Section on Environment, Energy and Resources. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Growth & Infrastructure Consortium. In 2020, Johnston was appointed to a three-year term by Governor Kemp to the Board of Commissioners for the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity.