People

Timothy Choy – Anthropology, University of California Davis

Timothy Choy
 Timothy Choy is an anthropologist whose research, based in Hong Kong and the US, focuses on ecological discourses and practices, atmospheres, human-nonhuman relations, as well as scale, specificity, and exemplarity. His book Ecologies of Comparison (Duke, 2011) is a rich ethnography of ecopolitics in Hong Kong in the late 1990s, as the region shifted to Chinese sovereignty. It describes how ecological concepts of uniqueness and scale resonated among environmentalists, including those seeking to preserve a species of white dolphin, to protect an aging fishing village from redevelopment, and to legitimize air quality as an object of political and medical concern.

Jason Coburn – Public Health & City and Regional Planning, University of California Berkeley

Jason Corburn’s research focuses on urban health equity, place and health, slum health, and urban governance and health. He co-directs the joint Masters in Public Health-Masters in City Planning degree program and he is a core faculty member in the Center for Global Public Health’s Slum Health Initiative. Professor Corburn also has major international research projects investigating how policy and planning aimed at improving living conditions for residents of urban informal settlements can address health inequities and help the poor adapt to climate change.

Jenna Davis – Woods Institute, Stanford University

Jenna Davis focuses her research and teaching at the interface of engineered water supply and sanitation systems and their users in developing countries. She explores questions related to interventions that trigger household investment in water, sanitation, and hygiene improvements; the features of water and sanitation services that users value and why; the health and economic impacts of improvements in water supply and sanitation; and the keys to long-term sustainability of installed infrastructure. Over the past 15 years she has carried out applied research in more than a dozen developing countries, including most recently Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Colombia. Davis and her group (the “poop group”) have extensive experience in designing and implementing primary data collection (through household surveys and environmental sampling) in resource-constrained environments across developing regions.

 Perrine Hamel – Woods Institute, Stanford University

Perrine Hamel is part of the Freshwater and Terrestrial Environment team of the Natural Capital Project. She helps develop and improve existing water models and provides technical support in applications of those models for watershed services. Her dissertation work involved both environmental monitoring and theoretical work, including modeling of stormwater systems at multiple scales.

Angel Hsu – Center for Environmental Law & Policy, Yale University

Angel Hsu’s research focuses on Chinese environmental performance measurement, governance, and policy. Prior to her appointment at Yale, she was at the World Resources Institute (WRI), a non-profit environmental think tank in Washington, D.C., where she helped to develop corporate greenhouse gas reporting initiatives in developing countries and managed the GHG Protocol’s programs in China.

Stephen Luby – Woods Institute, Stanford University

Stephen Luby’s research focuses on developing practical solutions to environmental problems that directly impact human health in low income countries. He works primarily in Bangladesh. His ongoing projects include 1) assessing the health impact of strategies to improve water, sanitation and hygiene with particular attention to interventions that are applicable at scale; 2) reducing the adverse environmental and health consequences of brick manufacturing in Bangladesh; 3) reducing the exposure to lead among residents of rural Bangladesh; 4) characterizing and preventing zoonotic disease transmission especially of henipa and influenza viruses.

Garth Myers – Urban International Studies, Trinity College

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Garth Myers is a geographer with expertise in urban planning and African area studies. He has conducted research in Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Senegal, South Africa, Finland, and the UK over the past 20 years. His research interests include African urban geography and urban planning, comparative urbanism and comparative urban land politics, urban political ecology and environmental justice as well as urban environmental governance. His book African Cities: Alternative Visions of Urban Theory and Practice (Zed, 2011) uses African urban concepts and experiences to speak back to theoretical and practical concerns in urban studies and disciplines that study cities, as well as in African studies. It argues for a re-vision a seeing again, and a revising of how cities in Africa are discussed and written about in both urban studies and African studies, encouraging African studies and urban studies scholars across the world to engage with the vibrancy and complexity of African cities with fresh eyes.

Susan Parnell – African Center for Cities, University of Cape Town

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Susan Parnell is a human geographer and Professor in Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Cape Town. She has been a key scholar to develop urban research from Africa and the global South. Together with Vanessa Watson and Edgar Pieterse she developed and led the African Centre for Cities at University of Cape Town, a leading centre that has developed new modes of urban research and co-production of knowledge. Her background was in urban historical geography and the rise of racial residential segregation and the impact of colonialism on urbanization and town planning in Sub-Saharan Africa. Recently, she has published two important edited volumes for the field of global urbanism studies, “Africa’s Urban Revolution” (2014) with Edgar Pieterse and “The Routledge Handbook on Cities of the Global South” (2014) with Jennifer Robinson.

Anne Rademacher – Anthropology & Environmental Studies, New York University

Anne Rademacher’s research explores the political and cultural dimensions of sustainability in cities. Through ethnographic analyses of urban environmental change, she studies how place-based affinities, contested histories, and ideologies of belonging develop in struggles over the form, content, and quality of urban environments. My central interest is urban ecology – its scientific contours, its application across cultural and political contexts, and its interconnection with social change. She recently completed a major research initiative in one of South Asia’s fastest-growing and most politically dynamic cities, Kathmandu. Other recent work has addressed urban ecology as it relates to housing and migration, political stability, cultural conflict, and alternative forms of environmental knowledge. Her current work addresses the theory and practice of sustainable building, or green design, in rapid-growth cities of the Global South.

Malini Ranganathan – School of International Service, American University

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Malini Ranganathan is an interdisciplinary urban geographer with a special interest in post-colonial theory and urbanism. Her ethnographic research focuses on the political-economic, cultural, and social dimensions of rapidly urbanizing environments. Her current project investigates how international development discourses and aid shape access to water in informal urban areas in India, and how marginalized groups, in turn, politically mobilize around the right to space and basic services. Dr Ranganathan also researches the environmental justice and public health dimensions of water access and flooding in urban areas of the Global North, particularly in minority “unincorporated” areas of California’s Central Valley and lower income areas of the DC Metropolitan Region. Specifically, she is exploring the political-ecological history of storm water drainage as a lens into growing urban flood vulnerability. Her work furthers a critical theorization of the complex dynamics of climate change vulnerability and the prospects for urban “adaptation”.

Awadhendra Sharan – Center for the Study of Developing Societies

Awendhendra Sharan conducts research on urban and environmental issues.  His book In the City, Out of Place: Nuisance, Pollution and Urban Dwelling in Modern Delhi, c.1850-2000 (OUP India) is a study of several such interrelated issues: water purity and sanitation, nuisance and traditional trades, congestion, pollution and toxicity, combining extensive archival research with a study of contemporary sources. Along similar lines, his current research is focused on ‘Economies and Cultures of Waste and Pollution in Colonial India’.  In addition, he has initiated a new research project on ‘Urban Infrastructure in India’.

 Sarah Whatmore – School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford
 Professor Sarah Whatmore
Sarah Whatmore’s research focuses on cultures of nature and interrogates the ways in which human relations with the natural world are imagined and practiced in the conduct of science, governance and everyday life. She has published widely on the theoretical and political implications of these questions and is an acknowledged pioneer in what have become known as ‘more-than-human’ modes of enquiry, concerned with the material and ecological fabric of social life and the politics of knowledge through which this fabric is contested and re-made historically and today. Of particular interest are those situations and events in which different ecological epistemologies are brought into conflict. This informs a more recent body of work interrogating the relationship between science and democracy particularly in terms of the nature of evidence in the practices of environmental science and law and the role of expertise in environmental governance, now widely mediated by risk modelling techniques.

Alisa Zomer – Center for Environmental Law & Policy, Yale University
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Alisa Zomer’s research is on urban sustainability with a particular focus on urban governance and climate change adaptation and mitigation in cities. Prior to Yale, she worked at the World Resources Institute in Washington, DC on issues related to access to information, participation, and justice in environmental decision-making. She has traveled and worked on environmental governance and policy in many countries including Brazil, Chile, India, Israel, Philippines, and Uganda.

Organizers

Jia-Ching Chen – Sociology, Brown University

Jia-Ching Chen

Jia-Ching Chen’s research examines China’s emerging role in the global green economy, and its impact on the increasingly linked geographies of food and energy. He also has professional experience in social movements and organized labor.

Henrik Ernstson – History, Stanford University; African Center for Cities, University of Cape Town; KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

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Henrik Ernstson has developed a core interest in urban political ecology, social-ecological studies, collective action, and comparative urbanism. His major theoretical influences comes from relational social movement theory, including social network analysis (SNA), actor-network theory (ANT), Urban Political Ecology (UPE), post-foundational political thought (including Rancière), and increasingly postcolonial urbanism. His work aims to unpack the inherently political dimensions of urban environments and urban ecologies and how they are reworked through collective action. He has also been key in developing network analysis within social-ecological studies.

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