Prof Vanesa Castan Broto


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Vanesa’s research focuses on the governance of global environmental change in the urbanization age. She focuses on three interrelated themes: 1) the governance of climate change in urban areas; 2) urbanization and the dynamics of energy transitions; and 3) barriers to the implementation of climate change action.
The first strand of her research focuses on who governs climate change in urban areas and how. For example, she has mapped her contributions to the field in the 2017 article “Urban Governance and the Politics of Climate Change” (in World Development) in relation to both normative and critical strands of thinking about urban governance for climate change. Vanesa has also made direct contributions to international policy, for example, as a lead chapter author for UN-Habitat’s 2016 World Cities Report.
The second strand of her research focuses on the dynamics of energy transition. Following her engagement with urban infrastructure as a means to understand climate change policy, she is developing a feminist neo-materialist perspective on the governance of energy transitions. Vanesa has imagined the concept of urban energy landscapes as spatial arrangements of cultural practices and artefacts that reflect the coevolution of socio-economic, technological, and ecological systems. This conception challenges broadly accepted notions of energy landscapes as the product of public perceptions of energy developments. A recent paper on “Energy landscapes and urban trajectories towards sustainability” (in Energy Policy) provides an overview of her work in this area.
The third area of her research focuses on developing practical ways to activate urban transformations and deliver climate action in practice. An example of this work is her research on participatory planning for climate change. At the moment, Vanesa is engaged in a series of activities with local partners in Mozambique to rethink sustainable energy access in urban areas. An overview of her efforts to rethink sustainable energy access in an urbanization context is presented in a recent collective paper “Universal access to sustainable energy in urban areas” (in Nature Energy).

Follow Vanesa on Twitter @VaneBailo