Energy and Cities in Emerging countries: challenging the transition narrative


Solar water heater and photovoltaic panels in Qalamoun near Tripoli (Lebanon). July 2014

I will participate to the Royal Geographical Society Conference in London on the 29th August, with Sylvy Jaglin, in the session Energy, city, representation: interrogating the (new) geo-eco-politics of the city convened by Oleg Golubchikov (Cardiff University),
Federico Caprotti (King’s College London), Mike Hodson (University of Manchester)

The paper draws lessons from 6 cases – Dehli, Istanbul, other Turkish cities, Cape Town, Buenos Aires and Sfax, Tunisia. It discusses the notion of energy transition based on empirical studies in these cities. We challenge the idea of a convergence in the trajectories of energy related changes between the cities, and hence question the consistence of the idea of transition as a unique model. We observe that changes in local energy systems are very much correlated to local social, political, infrastructural of material contingencies. Beyond this, we also critically examine the idea that the urban authorities take a major part in the energy governance and find almost no clue of this fact, given that energy systems remain controlled by state institutions and private actors. But this doesn’t mean that cities remain inert. Specifically, we point out that cities are increasingly the site of multifaceted processes of social and political mobilization about energy issues, specifically about energy securitization, about access to energy and energy tariff in a context of mass poverty, and about energy efficiency and energy saving programs.
All information on the session to be found here.
Our paper is an English version of the Intro paper of the recent issue of Flux on Villes et énergies dans les pays émergents. Don’t hesitate to ask for the French or the English version of the text.

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