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Department of Geography


Global Energy Nexus in Urban Settlements (GENUS)


Aims of the research group

This inter-disciplinary research group was established in 2017 (and held a CRASSH research seminar series in 2018-19). The group’s core academic leads span four departments in Cambridge (Geography, Engineering, Architecture and the Judge Business School), although the group’s membership is even broader in discipline, department, and career stage (from Prof to MPhil). We hold lunchtime meetings twice per term, and aim to create a intellectually supportive space to discuss ideas related to our shared interests in urban energy transitions. Meetings generally comprise discussions of readings, or presentations of works-in-progress, and all members taking turns to lead sessions. New members are always welcome (please email Charlotte Lemanski).

The research group has two core aims:

1. Conducting research on sustainable and innovative forms of energy for urban dwellers.

We respond to widespread knowledge that the world faces an energy crisis (i.e. natural resources cannot cope with rapidly evolving forms of energy demand). This is particularly acute in both the existing and emerging urban areas of Africa and Asia. Recognising that existing academic and policy debates on urban energy largely focus on city-scale responses to climate change, this research group targets the consumer side of reliable and clean energy provision, in particular the energy demands of low income urban households. See Research projects for more information.

2. Implementing an interdisciplinary approach to research that both values and critiques disciplinary difference.

Methodologically our research group adopts an integrated socio-technical approach that recognises the technology of energy as embedded in social relations, and implements this approach by combining expertise from the physical and social sciences.

Alongside practicing an inter-disciplinary approach to our research on urban energy, we are also committed to critiquing assumptions that interdiscplinarity is universally beneficial, while also developing models that address the practicalities of interdisciplinary research.