Mapping Urban Energy Landscapes (MUEL) in the Global South

Duration: 07/13 - 11/16


The promotion of low carbon, inclusive energy systems in developing urban contexts requires complex political and spatial interventions that reflect the particular conditions of each city. Mapping Urban Energy Landscapes (MUEL) in the Global South examines four case study areas – Bangalore (India), Conception (Peru), Maputo (Mozambique) and Hong Kong (China) – to identify current challenges and possible ways forward to improve the sustainability of energy systems and facilitate energy access.

The project aims to develop a more nuanced and multidimensional assessment of local energy needs by extending the focus beyond technical considerations such as efficiency to look at the social and governance issues of energy supply. The findings will not only support citizens and policy makers in the four case study cities in developing strategies to enhance their future energy systems, but also will provide international organisations, planning specialists and cities elsewhere with an innovative and practical evidence base on solutions to urban energy challenges in the Global South.

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Vanesa Castán Broto (Principal Investigator, Senior Lecturer)

A bottom-up understanding of the coproduction of energy systems and social practices in cities.

Collation of a comparative evidence on urban energy systems in four cities through innovative forms of mapping and qualitative research.

A critique of current development interventions and evaluation of the potential to address urban energy poverty through partnerships with a number of NGOs, consultancies and international organisations.

Generation of debates about energy sustainability at the local level through participatory mapping of energy systems.

Urban energy transitions: spatial and temporal aspects

Just sustainabilities and the New Urban Agenda

Here’s what happened at Habitat III – the world’s biggest conference on cities


Urban Energy Landscapes
Cambridge University Press, April 2019

Edited Books (2)

  1. Frantzeskaki, N., Castán Broto, V., Coenen, L., Loorbach, D. (2017) Urban sustainability transitions. Studies in Sustainability Transitions. New York, NY: Routledge.
  2. Bouzarovski, S., Pasqualetti, M.J., Castán Broto, V. (2017) The Routledge Research Companion to Energy Geographies. London: Routledge.

Special issue

Spatial Adventures in Energy Studies: Emerging Geographies of Energy Production and Use. In Energy Research and Social Science. Edited by Vanesa Castán Broto, Lucy Baker. Volume 36, Pages 1-174 (February 2018)

Journal Papers (13)

  1. Huang, P. and Castán Broto, V., 2018. The interdependence between urban processes and energy transitions: The Dimensions of Urban Energy Transitions (DUET) framework. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions.
  2. Huang, P., Castán Broto, V., Liu, Y. and Ma, H., 2018. The governance of urban energy transitions: A comparative study of solar water heating systems in two Chinese cities. Journal of Cleaner Production, 180, pp.222-231.
  3. Castán Broto, V., Stevens, L., Ackom, E., Tomei, J., Parikh, P., Bisaga, I., To, L.S., Muluguetta,, Y., Kirshner, J. Universal access to sustainable energy in urban areas. Nature Energy, 2(10).
  4. Huang, P., Castán Broto, V., and Liu, Y. From “transitions in cities” to “transitions of cities”: The diffusion and adoption of solar hot water systems in urban China. Energy Research and Social Science, forthcoming.
  5. Castán Broto, V. and Baker, L. Spatial Adventures in Energy: An Introduction to the Special Issue. Energy Research and Social Science,
  6. Castán Broto, V. (2017). Energy landscapes and urban trajectories towards sustainability. Energy Policy. 108: 755-764.
  7. Castán Broto, V. (2017) Energy sovereignty and development planning: the case of Maputo, Mozambique. International Development Planning Review. 39 (3), 229-248.
  8. Castán Broto, V. (2017). Urban Governance and the Politics of Climate Change. World Development. 93: 1-15.
  9. Castán Broto, V. (2016). Natural Gas and Climate Finance. Climate Policy. 18(2): 170-183.
  10. Castán Broto, V., & Westman, L. (2016). Just Sustainabilities and Local Action: Evidence from 400 Flagship Initiatives. Local Environment: the international journal of justice and sustainability, 22 (5), 635-650.
  11. Castán Broto, V. (2016). Innovation Territories and Energy Transitions: Energy, Water and Modernity in Spain, 1939–1975. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 18(5), 712-729.
  12. Castán Broto, V. (2015). Contradiction, intervention and urban low carbon transitions. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 33, 430-476.
  13. Castán Broto, V., Salazar, D., & Adams, K. (2014). Communities and urban energy landscapes in Maputo, Mozambique. People, Place, Policy, 8(3), 192-207.

Book Chapters

  1. Salazar, D., Castán Broto, V. and Adams, K., 2017. Urban Infrastructure and Energy Poverty in Maputo, Mozambique. In Environmental Justice and Urban Resilience in the Global South (pp. 259-276). Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
  2. Castán Broto, V., 2018. Urban living labs, “smart” innovation and the realities of everyday access to energy. Urban Living Labs: Experimenting with City Futures.
  3. Huang, P. and Castán Broto, V. (2018) Urban energy transitions: Spatial organization, political contestations and urban governance. In Solomon, B. and Calvert, K. (Eds.) Handbook on the Geographies of Energy.
  4. Guibrunet, L., & Castán Broto, V. (2016). Towards an urban metabolic analysis of the informal city. In K. Archer, & K. Bezdecny (Eds.), Handbook of Cities and the Environment (pp. 160-180). London: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  5. Castán Broto, V. (2016). Dwelling in a Pollution Landscape. In I. Vaccaro, K. Harper, & S. Murray (Eds.), The Anthropology of Post Industrialism- Ethnographies of Disconnection (pp. 91-112). New York, Abingdon: Routledge.

Magazine articles

  1. Castán Broto, V., 2017. Environmental governance, experimentation and the material politics of the urban commons. Commons Digest, 21.
  2. Castán Broto, V. (2018) Green City Promises and Just Sustainabilities Rachel Carson Center Perspectives. Forthcoming.