Joanna Gubman

Environmental Director

Housing Story

Growing up in Los Angeles, I spent hours each day commuting to and from school by car. As I built a career working in climate and energy policy—while simultaneously qualifying for below-market rate housing in my new home of San Francisco—I came to realize that my hours stuck in LA freeway traffic during childhood, my lack of affordable housing in San Francisco, and our statewide need to address climate change were all interrelated. They are all a direct result of single-family sprawl. Today I am proud to work on solving all three issues at once. Walkable communities with dense and affordable housing are actually the number environmental action cities can take. So let’s get to work!


Joanna Gubman gave her first YIMBY public comment in 2017, became a YIMBY Action lead in San Francisco in March 2020, and started as Executive Director of Urban Environmentalists in July 2021. She has spent the last 15 years in the energy, climate, and transportation sectors as an Administrative Law Judge and Commissioner’s Advisor at the California Public Utilities Commission. She has also worked as a research fellow at multiple institutions in Germany, and a sustainability consultant at Navigant Consulting (now Guidehouse). In her work as Executive Director for Urban Environmentalists and Environmental Director at YIMBY Action, Joanna advocates for the integration of urban land use policy with environmental policy. She has a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.