Professor Vanesa Castan Broto
Department of Geography
Professor of Climate Urbanism
+44 114 222 7942
Full contact details
Department of Geography
Geography and Planning Building
Vanesa joined the Urban Institute in September 2017, following her appointment as a Professorial Fellow in the Faculty of Social Sciences. Her research has been funded by the British Academy, Leverhulme Trust, ESRC, EPSRC and the Institution of Civil Engineers.
In 2016 she received the Philip Leverhulme Prize for contributions to Geography. In 2013 she received a United Nations Award for Lighthouse Activities that contribute to fight climate change with a focus on the urban poor.
- Research interests
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).
- Urban Sustainability and Justice Just Sustainabilities and Environmental Planning. Zed Books Ltd..
- Urban Energy Landscapes. Cambridge University Press.
- Participatory Planning for Climate Compatible Development in Maputo, Mozambique. UCL Press.
- An Urban Politics of Climate Change Experimentation and the Governing of Socio-Technical Transitions. Routledge.
- Queering housing policy: questioning urban planning assumptions in Namibian cities. Urban Planning, 8(2).
- The governance of energy transitions in Africa: a sketch of plural perspectives. Energy, Sustainability and Society, 12(1).
- Institutionalisation of urban climate adaptation: three municipal experiences in Spain. Buildings & Cities, 3(1), 570-588.
- Book review of: Gordon, David J. (2020): Cities on the World Stage. The Politics of Global Urban Climate Governance. Raumforschung und Raumordnung | Spatial Research and Planning.
- Delivering an off-grid transition to sustainable energy in Ethiopia and Mozambique. Energy, Sustainability and Society, 12(1). View this article in WRRO
- The anatomy of change in urban infrastructure landscapes : cooking landscapes in Maputo, Mozambique. Landscape Research. View this article in WRRO
- Urban Health Challenges: Lessons from COVID-19 Responses. Geoforum.
- Urban transformations to keep all the same : the power of ivy discourses. Antipode. View this article in WRRO
- Compound urban crises. Ambio. View this article in WRRO
- Splintering Urbanism and climate breakdown. Journal of Urban Technology, 1-7.
- Co-production outcomes for urban equality: Learning from different trajectories of citizens' involvement in urban change. Current Research in Environmental Sustainability, 4, 100179-100179.
- A ‘correlative’ turn for transition studies on China. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 41, 99-101.
- Thinking Like a Climate: Governing a City in Times of Environmental Change. The AAG Review of Books, 9(4), 1-3.
- Subaltern forms of knowledge are required to boost local adaptation. One Earth, 4(6), 828-838.
- A culture-led approach to understanding energy transitions in China: The correlative epistemology. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. View this article in WRRO
- Motivations and intended outcomes in local governments' declarations of climate emergency. Politics and Governance, 9(2), 17-28.
- Editorial: Is There a New Climate Politics?. Politics and Governance, 9(2).
- Building inclusive cities for a sustainable future. One Earth, 4(2), 161-164.
- WALK THE PIPELINE: Urban infrastructure landscapes in Bengaluru's long twentieth century. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.
- Ten new insights in climate science 2020 – a horizon scan. Global Sustainability, 4.
- Transcending existing paradigms: the quest for justice in urban climate change planning. Local Environment, 1-6.
- Climate urbanism as critical urban theory. Urban Geography. View this article in WRRO
- Spatiotemporal perspectives on urban energy transitions: a comparative study of three cities in China. Urban Transformations, 2(1).
- Energy profiles among urban elite households in Mozambique: Explaining the persistence of charcoal in urban areas. Energy Research & Social Science, 65, 101478-101478.
- Energy access is needed to maintain health during pandemics. Nature Energy, 5(6), 419-421.
- Sacrifice zones and the construction of urban energy landscapes in Concepción, Chile. Journal of Political Ecology, 27(1), 279-299. View this article in WRRO
- Climate change politics and the urban contexts of messy governmentalities. Territory, Politics, Governance, 8(2), 241-258.
- Ten years after Copenhagen: Reimagining climate change governance in urban areas. WIREs Climate Change, 11(4).
- Intersectional coproduction and infrastructural violence: experiences from Pakistan. Community Development Journal, 55(1), 83-101. View this article in WRRO
- Beyond tabulated utopias: Action and contradiction in urban environments. Urban Studies, 57(11), 2371-2379.
- Co-benefits, contradictions, and multi-level governance of low-carbon experimentation: Leveraging solar energy for sustainable development in China. Global Environmental Change, 59. View this article in WRRO
- Revisiting multi-level governance theory: Politics and innovation in the urban climate transition in Rizhao, China. Political Geography, 70, 14-23. View this article in WRRO
- Engineering modernity: Water, electricity and the infrastructure landscapes of Bangalore, India. Urban Studies. View this article in WRRO
- Techno-economic rationalities as a political practice in urban environmental politics in China. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 37(2), 277-297. View this article in WRRO
- Energy justice and sustainability transitions in Mozambique. Applied Energy, 228, 645-655. View this article in WRRO
- Transformative capacity and local action for urban sustainability. Ambio, 1-14. View this article in WRRO
- Interdependence between Urban Processes and Energy Transitions: The Dimensions of Urban Energy Transitions (DUET) Framework. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 28, 35-45. View this article in WRRO
- Intersectionality challenges for the co-production of urban services: notes for a theoretical and methodological agenda. Environment and Urbanization. View this article in WRRO
- Firm-local community relationships in polluting industrial agglomerations: How firms' commitment determines residents' perceptions. Journal of Cleaner Production, 186, 22-33. View this article in WRRO
- Climate governance through partnerships: A study of 150 urban initiatives in China. Global Environmental Change, 50, 212-221. View this article in WRRO
- The governance of urban energy transitions: A comparative study of solar water heating systems in two Chinese cities. Journal of Cleaner Production, 180, 222-231. View this article in WRRO
- Harnessing deep mitigation opportunities of urbanisation patterns in LDCs. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 30, 82-88. View this article in WRRO
- Mapping synergies and trade-offs between energy and the Sustainable Development Goals. Nature Energy, 3(1), 10-15.
- From “transitions in cities” to “transitions of cities”: The diffusion and adoption of solar hot water systems in urban China. Energy Research & Social Science, 36, 156-164. View this article in WRRO
- Spatial adventures in energy studies: An introduction to the special issue. Energy Research & Social Science, 36, 1-10. View this article in WRRO
- Natural gas and climate finance. Climate Policy, 18(2), 170-183.
- Flows, system boundaries and the politics of urban metabolism: Waste management in Mexico City and Santiago de Chile. Geoforum, 85, 353-367.
- Just sustainabilities and local action: evidence from 400 flagship initiatives. Local Environment, 22(5), 635-650.
- Urban Governance and the Politics of Climate change. World Development, 93, 1-15.
- Innovative policy practices to advance building energy efficiency and retrofitting: Approaches, impacts and challenges in ten C40 cities. Environmental Science & Policy, 66, 353-365.
- Economic crisis and social learning for the provision of public services in two Spanish municipalities. Journal of Cleaner Production, 112, 3018-3027.
- Innovation Territories and Energy Transitions: Energy, Water and Modernity in Spain, 1939–1975. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 18(5), 712-729.
- Contradiction, intervention, and urban low carbon transitions. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 33(3), 460-476.
- Are wildcard events on infrastructure systems opportunities for transformational change?. Futures, 67, 1-10.
- Environmentalities of urban climate governance in Maputo, Mozambique. Global Environmental Change, 26, 140-151. View this article in WRRO
- What can we learn about transitions for sustainability from infrastructure shocks?. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 84, 186-196.
- Shaped by Shock: Staff on the Emergency Department 'Shop Floor'. Anthropology in Action, 21(2).
- Urban experiments and climate change: securing zero carbon development in Bangalore. Contemporary Social Science, 9(4), 393-414.
- Low-carbon Transitions and the Reconfiguration of Urban Infrastructure. Urban Studies, 51(7), 1471-1486.
- Climate justice and global cities: Mapping the emerging discourses. Global Environmental Change, 23(5), 914-925.
- Government by experiment? Global cities and the governing of climate change. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 38(3), 361-375.
- Governing climate change for a just city: challenges and lessons from Maputo, Mozambique. Local Environment, 18(6), 678-704.
- A survey of urban climate change experiments in 100 cities. Global Environmental Change, 23(1), 92-102.
- Exploring the lay/expert divide: the attribution of responsibilities for coal ash pollution in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Local Environment, 17(8), 879-895.
- Practising interdisciplinarity in the interplay between disciplines: experiences of established researchers. Environmental Science & Policy, 12(7), 922-933.
- The governance of coal ash pollution in post-socialist times: power and expectations. Environmental Politics, 18(2), 279-286.
- Review Essay: New Technologies, Hormones and Sunlight. Sociology, 43(3), 573-579.
- Understanding success in the context of brownfield greening projects: The requirement for outcome evaluation in urban greenspace success assessment. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 8(3), 163-178.
- Integration of urban science and urban climate adaptation research: opportunities to advance climate action. npj Urban Sustainability, 3(1).
- Radical unknowability: an essay on solidarities and multiform urban life. City, 1-20.
- Emerging dynamics of public participation in climate governance: A case study of solar energy application in Shenzhen, China. Environmental Policy and Governance.
- Communities and urban energy landscapes in Maputo, Mozambique. People, Place and Policy Online, 8(3), 192-207.
- Water governance and the colonial urban project: the Dharmambudhi lake in Bengaluru, India. Urban Geography, 1-26.
- Introduction, Inclusive Urban Development in the Global South (pp. 1-14).
- Intersectionality Aspects of Community Energy in Urban Areas, Inclusive Urban Development in the Global South (pp. 182-197).
- Urban Climate Imaginaries and Climate Urbanism, Climate Urbanism (pp. 83-95). Springer International Publishing
- Introduction: Climate Urbanism—Towards a Research Agenda, Climate Urbanism (pp. 1-11). Springer International Publishing
- For a Minor Perspective on Climate Urbanism: Towards a Decolonial Research Praxis, Climate Urbanism (pp. 15-30). Springer International Publishing
- Conclusions: Three Modalities for a New Climate Urbanism, Climate Urbanism (pp. 243-252). Springer International Publishing
- Unlocking urban trajectories, Sustainable Cities in Asia (pp. 7-22). Routledge
- Maintaining Climate Change Experiments: Urban Political Ecology and the Everyday Reconfiguration of Urban Infrastructure, Sustainable Cities (pp. 101-126). Apple Academic Press
- Urban Infrastructure and Energy Poverty in Maputo, Mozambique, Environmental Justice and Urban Resilience in the Global South (pp. 259-276). Palgrave Macmillan US
- The Role of Local Governments in International Climate Policy Oxford University Press