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I am an Urban Energy Researcher focusing on the transactional spaces at the intersection of energy studies and social sciences. I am passionate about an energy future that is economically equitable, socially just in addition to being environmentally sustainable. My research efforts are devoted towards identifying and examining innovative strategies and creative approaches to achieve a clean energy future for all. I draw on action-oriented research methods to grasp the material and social realities confronting ongoing energy transitions, which increasingly involve a diversity of stakeholders ranging from utility executives, system designers and regulators to consumers, community organizers and clean energy advocates.
May 2019 - December 2019
Hyderabad Urban Lab
August 2018 - March 2019
Texas Energy Poverty Research Institute
- Research Associate
The growth of Decentralized Energy Systems (DES) signals a new frontier in urban energy planning and design of local energy systems. As affordability of renewable energy technologies (RET) increases, cities and urban regions become the venues, not only for energy consumption but also for generation and distribution, which calls for systemic and par...
The first known use of the term “resilience” was in the study of natural properties of physical objects (Klein et al. 2004; McAslan 2010). Tredgold (1818) used it to refer to timber’s “stiffness, strength and its power to resist a body in motion”(p. 216). In its subsequent use in physics of materials and engineering, resilience conveyed the notion...
The advent of civil society in the traditionally state-sponsored and market-oriented energy sector carries a transformative potential, not only for sustainable outcomes but also to promote equity through redistributive justice. The importance of civil society in ongoing energy transitions is implicated in the adoption of renewable energy technologi...
The existing systems of energy production, delivery and consumption face critical vulnerabilities as the threat of climate change catastrophes draws near. The systemic transformation from this undesirable state of vulnerability towards a more desirable state of resiliency is theorized from two distinct, yet highly similar conceptual and analytical...
I am using ANT approach to study a local community and am proposing interviews and participant observation to identify network elements and associations etc., My concern relates to the influence I may end up having on the network under study.
In what ways can the analyst mitigate his/her/their influence whilst engaging with the network elements?
Human geography in particular acknowledges the relativist, constructed view of space in that ‘activities and objects... define spatial fields of influence’ (Harvey, 1969, p. 208). On the other hand, energy geographies (which itself draws heavily on multiple sub-disciplines within geography and outside), in so far its contemporary resurgence is concerned(Calvert, 2015), still views space as contextual, absolute; affected by and affecting changes within the energy domain. There is, as such, a need to introduce a constructed, relativist view of space, in the conduct of energy geography sub-discipline.
Do you think this insight makes sense?
Harvey, D. (1969) Explanation in geography. Edward Arnold, London.
Calvert (2015), From energy geography to energy geographies: Perspectives on a fertile academic borderland
In his 1970 article "Social processes and spatial form: An analysis of the conceptual problems of urban planning", (from book: Social Justice and the City) David Harvey discusses the two lens (sociology and geography) for analyzing city problems, arguing that the gap has not been bridged between them. Essentially, accusing urban analyses to resort either to "space-less social science" or "space-centered geography".
Is this still true? If not, what leading frameworks can I seek to explore the bridging of this gap between the said theoretical perspectives of the urban?
With its more optimistic and hopeful approach to dealing with climate and other challenges facing cities across the globe, resilience has overtaken sustainability as the next big buzzword. It is both a conceptual notion and, increasingly, a practical approach to adaptation as well as post-crisis recovery. This project, to be published as part of an edited volume on urban resilience, problematizes the translation of this systems-oriented functionalist concept into urban planning. The chapter will end with a ‘call to action’ to revise and rethink how the concept might better serve those communities, particularly in shrinking cities, which are often left out by the mainstream approaches to resilience. This chapter is being co-authored with Dr. Ivonne Audirac, co-founder of the Shrinking Cities International Research Network (SCIRN).
//Abstract: In context of the federal leadership vacuum in the United States on climate action and sustainable energy development and consequent subnational policy and regulatory variations, the rise of citizen-led grassroots energy communities (GECs) is increasingly considered as a countervailing civic force in the mainstream energy system. However, as grassroots attempts to transform the carbon-intensive, centralized energy system gain in prominence, attracting broad-based support and generating a multitude of social organization and governance models, citizen advocacy, activism and on-the-ground local projects encounter varying socio-cultural, policy and regulatory support structures across urban and regional landscapes leading to disparate outcomes. This dissertation problematizes the optimism around citizen-led local energy transitions, touted to carry a transformative potential not only for environmental sustainable but also to promote economic equity and social justice. In doing so, the project aims to encourage self-reflexive assessments of civic actions in the energy sector for more radical enactments of local energy initiatives. Taking a novel multi-theoretical research approach to attend to both social practices as well as material (or technical) dimensions of ongoing grassroots energy transitions, the project expands the scholarship on Community Energy from an American perspective. Through a Structuration perspective the research opens to investigative scrutiny the local knowledges, practical lived experiences. Then, using a networks (Assemblages) approach it examines the claims of practical or technical necessity for retaining the status quo, which implicate local energy transitions emerging from the ground-up and often on terms which are contrarian to the mainstream energy paradigm. Focusing on the geographic variability in policy and regulatory landscape in the U.S., the research compares two contrasting GECs — networks of citizens undertaking their own local energy transitions based on solar technology. The two cases selected for this research are located in radically different socio-economic, policy and regulatory environments within the staunchly market-oriented state of Texas, to examine how policy and regulatory variabilities in deregulated areas of the energy sector impact community action. A greater understanding of these dynamics which unfold across institutional as well as geographical scales, from locality to nation, are critical to enabling an energy future for all sections of society, especially those which remain disenfranchised in the current energy system. Date of Defense: April 4th 2018 Date of Graduation: May 11 2018 Supervision: Dr. Ivonne Audirac Dr. Enid Arvidson Dr. Colleen Casey Dr. Clark Miller Previous supervision: Dr. Yekang Ko Note: The project document has been placed under a 2 year embargo for furnishing publications.