photo of Gabi Velasco
Gabi Velasco
Policy Associate
Research to Action Lab

Gabi Velasco is a policy associate in the Research to Action Lab at the Urban Institute. They are a skilled project manager, qualitative researcher, policy translator, and technical assistance provider to community-based organizations and local governments. Velasco’s work focuses on housing justice, environmental justice, and upward mobility. They are committed to integrating critical frameworks throughout their research and are particularly interested in place-based and community engaged work.

Before joining Urban, they worked with the sustainability program at the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, providing research and project management support across the state. Velasco’s work at Texas Parks and Wildlife centered on green infrastructure, resilience plans for state parks, and institutional-scale sustainability policy reform.

Velasco received a BA in sustainability studies, a BA in urban political ecology, and a minor in women’s and gender studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Upon graduation, Velasco was recognized as one of the Dean’s Distinguished Graduates, the highest distinction awarded by the college. While at the University of Texas, Velasco conducted community engaged research on environmental racism, zoning, and children’s health in East Austin. 

Research Areas
Health and health care
Neighborhoods, cities, and metros
Social safety net
Race and equity
Sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression
Land use
Climate impacts and community resilience
Climate mitigation, sustainability, energy and land use
Community and economic development
Environmental justice
Housing stability
Inequality and mobility
LGBTQ+ equity
Land use and zoning
LGBTQ+ people and housing and transportation equity
LGBTQ+ people and racial equity
Parks and green space
Race, gender, class, and ethnicity
Place-based initiatives
Racial inequities in economic mobility
Structural racism