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Susana Neves Alves PhD

Susana Neves Alves PhD

ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow

Urban geographer with an interest on urban infrastructure and everyday urbanisms. My primary empirical focus is on secondary cities in Lusophone Africa.



  • 2017-18: Postdoctoral Research Associate, University College London/ University of Sheffield


  • 2017 PhD in Geography, University College London
  • 2007 MSc Cities, Space and Society, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • 2005 Licenciatura (BSc+PG) in Civil Engineering with Specialisation in Urban and Regional Planning, University of Porto


Before joining the Department of Geography at Cambridge, I was a postdoctoral research associate at University College London, researching how complex land markets are influencing urban transitions in four East African cities – Hargeisa  and Berbera in Somaliland and Kampala and Arua in Uganda. Prior to that, I was a research associate at the Urban Institute of the University of Sheffield, where I worked on different projects exploring energy infrastructure in cities of the global south. During this time, I also explored crossovers between debates on intersectionality and research and practice on urban service provision.

My current research interests centre on the roles of state and non-state actors and everyday experiences in shaping the urban condition, in particular urban infrastructure in secondary cities in Africa. My PhD thesis was titled ‘Creole Water Supply: states, neoliberalism and everyday practices in a secondary African city’ examined the evolution of water infrastructure in a small secondary city in Africa – Bafatá, Guinea-Bissau – from these perspectives.

As an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, I will focus on publishing my doctoral and postdoctoral research to date. I will also further research urban infrastructure in secondary cities in two Lusophone African countries.


Selected publications:

  • Neves Alves, S. (under review) The everyday and the state in urban infrastructure: insights from ethnographic explorations of state practices. Environment and Planning C
  • Castán Broto, V. and Neves Alves, S. (2018) Intersectionality challenges for the co-production of urban services: notes for a theoretical and methodological agenda. Environment and Urbanization 30.2, 367-386.
  • Castán Broto, V., I. Baptista, J. Kirshner, S. Smith and S. Neves Alves (2018) Energy justice and sustainability transitions in Mozambique. Applied Energy 228, 645-655.
  • Hilbrandt, H., S. Neves Alves and T. Tuvikene (2017) Writing Across Diverse Urban Contexts – Informality and the porous state in Tallinn, Bafatá and Berlin. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 41.6, 946-961
  • Tuvikene, T., S. Neves Alves and H. Hilbrandt (2017) Strategies for relating diverse cities: A multi-sited individualising comparison of informality in Bafatá, Berlin and Tallinn. Current Sociology 65.2, 276-288.


  • 2017/18 Guest Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Leicester
    • ‘Introduction to Globalization and Global Inequalities’
  • 2016/17 Teaching Associate, Department of Geography, University of Leicester
    • ‘Introduction to Globalization and Global Inequalities’
    • Postcolonial Perspectives in/of Africa
  • 2014/15 Guest Lecturer/ Teaching Assistant, UCL
    • Comparative Urbanism (MSc Urban Studies)

External activities

  • List external affiliations and reasonably relevant activities, bullet-pointed