What is BCNUEJ?
The Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability was founded in partnership with the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) and a research group from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) in Barcelona. The lab develops novel research that builds on urban planning and policy, social inequality, and development studies. Our main emphasis is on the opportunities and challenges created by urban municipal, community, or private initiatives that enhance sustainability, equity, and health in cities.
Our research examines processes and dynamics that lead to more just, resilient, healthy, and sustainable cities, bringing together theory and methods from urban planning, public policy, urban and environmental sociology, urban geography and public health. Our studies analyze the extent to which urban plans and policy decisions contribute to more just, resilient, healthy, and sustainable cities, and how community groups in distressed neighborhoods contest the existence, creation, or exacerbation of environmental inequities as a result of urban (re)development processes and policies.
Meet the team
BCNUEJ hosts a team of research scientists, postdoctoral fellows, PhD students, and Master’s students conducting research on green urban planning, environmental equity, and health.
Isabelle obtained a PhD in Urban Studies and Planning from MIT before returning to Europe in 2011 with a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship. Situated at the intersection of urban planning and policy, social inequality and development studies, her research examines the extent to which urban plans and policy decisions contribute to more just, resilient, healthy, and sustainable cities, and how community groups in distressed neighborhoods contest the existence, creation, or exacerbation of environmental inequities as a result of urban (re)development processes and policies. She is currently an ICREA Research Professor at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), a Senior Researcher and Principal Investigator at ICTA and coordinator of the research group Healthy Cities and Environmental Justice at IMIM.
James obtained a PhD in Urban Planning from Columbia University where his research was supported by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. His research examines green gentrification and land use politics, particularly the dynamics of coalition building across community development and mainstream environmental coalitions. He is interested in the spatial and political structure of institutions that shape urban environmental land use policy and how these are changed, and explores new applications of spatial analytic techniques for understanding urban socio-environmental processes. He is the author of several articles and books including Searching for the Just City, and is Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Northeastern University.
Francesc obtained a Master in Geographic Information Systems from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, a Master of Ecological Economics and Environmental Management and a PhD in Environmental Science and Technology from ICTA-UAB. His research focuses on the operationalization of ecosystem services and green infrastructure and on the role of greening strategies to cope with diverse urban challenges from a critical and multi-scale spatial perspective, considering negative impacts such as green gentrification. He has participated in several international and national research projects including URBES, OpenNESS, ENABLE, and NATURVATION.
Helen holds a Doctorate in Public Health from the City University of New York Graduate Center, an MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education and Certificate in Global Health from the University of North Carolina, and a BA in Psychology from the University of Arkansas. Bridging the fields of public health, urban planning and environmental justice, her research aims to reveal the implications of socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity in health inequities and how they relate to gentrification associated with urban greening.
Panagiota studied Biology at the University of Athens, has a Joint European Masters in Environmental Studies (JEMES) and a PhD in Development Studies from the University of Bonn. Her work has focused on the politics of water and health in relation to urban/rural development and environmental change and emphasizes interdisciplinary thinking in overcoming the caveats of narrowly defined health indicators. As a political ecologist she is interested in how the notions of nature and risk are socially constructed, what meanings and values they carry, and what type of political processes are mobilized around them.
Melissa holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Manchester, an MSc in Building and Urban Design in Development from University College London, a Graduate Diploma in Community Economic Development from Concordia University and a BA in Geography and Economics from McGill University. She is interested in untangling the structures and channels through which political economic processes generate urban inequalities, as well as how collective urban struggles can disrupt the inegalitarian status quo and open up new alternatives. Her research with GREENLULUs explores the right to the ``green`` city, the financial dynamics behind urban greening and community resistance to greening projects.
Johannes obtained a Joint European Master in Environmental Studies before obtaining a doctorate degree in Sustainability Science from the Stockholm University (Stockholm Resilience Centre) and in Environmental Science and Technology from ICTA UAB. He is a transdisciplinary researcher focused on urban social-ecological systems and their complexities, such as the pluralism of values people hold in relation to green spaces. He addresses urban planning through approaches derived from urban ecology and ecological economics to better understand the relationship between urban green infrastructure and human health and well-being.
Filka holds Bachelor Degrees in Psychology at the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and in Economics and Business from the Universiteit van Amsterdam, a Masters in Environmental Economics and Transport from Vrije Universiteit, and a PhD in Climate Change Economics and Happiness from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. She is a member of the academic think-tank Research & Degrowth, working towards the establishment of degrowth as an academic field and an applied concept in university teaching and beyond. Prior to starting her doctoral studies, she worked in an international NGO focusing on environmental and economic justice in the Global South.
Lucía holds an MSc in Environmental Studies from the Universidad Autònoma de Barcelona and the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg, a Graduate Diploma in Food Sovereignty and Agroecology from the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía and a BSc in Industrial Engineering from University of Oviedo. Her current research interests are (environmental) governance, politics of alternatives, food politics and policy, urban-rural politics, environmental privilege and food gentrification. In her PhD, she analyzes the significance and limits of community economies in the Global North in driving socio-political change, and how such initiatives can generate privilege and exclusion.
Carmen graduated in Political Science at the Universidad Computense de Madrid and holds an MSc in Human Geography from the Universiteit van Amsterdam. She researches the environmental justice of urban spaces and explores the ways in which race, gender and class shape the experiences and the perceptions of their residents. She is particularly interested in the factors that determine the dynamics and conflicts around the greening of cities, and in the role of citizens in the construction of new meanings and models of environmentally resilient and just cities.
Stephanie holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Colorado and a double MSc in Environmental Science and Agriculture from the University of Hohenheim and Copenhagen University with specializations in Climate Change and Environmental Management. Her research focuses on greening and urban renewal in European and North American Cities. She currently works as a PhD fellow on the GreenLULUs project at BCNUEJ as part of a team effort centered on investigating the relationship between urban sustainability planning and potential impacts on human health, well-being and environmental justice,
Galia earned a Master in Urban Planning from Ecole d’Urbanisme de Paris, a Master in Cultural Studies from the London School of Economics, and a Bachelor in International Relations with a concentration in Anthropology and the Middle East and North Africa from Boston University. Through comparative research, she aims to understand the strategies and innovations that grassroots and institutional actors employ to recover and reconstruct in situations of displacement, conflict and environmental injustice. She is also interested in examining inclusion and equality across social and cultural differences in these processes.
Fulvia holds a Joint European Master Degree in Environmental Studies focused on Cities and Sustainability (JEMES-CiSu) and a Bachelor Degree in Environmental Engineering from the Tor Vergata University of Rome.
Aiming to perform holistic assessments and provide tools for public decision-making, her work develops at the intersection between the ecological and human realm. She is currently focusing on cultural ecosystem services in order to deal with the existing complex interrelationships that challenge the urban and peri-urban environment. Pursuing participative and inclusive forms of assessment, she seeks to understand their potential in enhancing ecosystem protection, community building and urban resilience.
Judith holds an MSc in Anthropology, Environment and Development from the University College of London (UCL) and a BSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). As an environmental anthropologist she is interested in the relationships between humans and their environments across space and time as well as the power hierarchies and knowledge systems that define them. Her previous work was focused on environmental conflicts in Central America, particularly on water struggles in Guatemala and El Salvador. She is currently involved in a project that studies the social impact of rooftop gardening programs in Barcelona for people with intellectual disabilities and mental disorders.
Gustavo Garcia-Lopez holds a joint PhD in Environmental Policy and Political Sciences from Indiana University-Bloomington, an MPhil in Environmental Policy from Cambridge University, and a BSc in Environmental Sciences with a minor in Geography from the University of Puerto Rico- Rio Piedras. His work, currently focused on Mexico and in his native Puerto Rico, revolves around the politics of collective action focusing on the relation between social mobilization, state rule, the emergence and scaling-up of commons initiatives, and the transformative potential of these initiatives. He is a member of Entitle and a contributor of collective's political ecology blog.
Margarita holds a Doctorate in Biomedicine and an MPH in Public Health from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. She is a transdisciplinary researcher focused on healthy, fair and sustainable urban planning. She addresses her work through approaches mainly derived from public health to better undertand the health effects of air pollution, green and blue paces, and meteorology, both in high and low-income countries.
Tatjana holds a Bachelor in Bioresource Engineering from McGill University and a Master in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research explores how cities, communities, and projects measure social and environmental well-being and in particular how they assess the effects of their sustainable development interventions on social equity.She recently worked as a Mayoral Fellow on urban education and small business policy in the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office and before that spent time with a social impact investment startup bringing capital to small and medium-sized agricultural businesses in Ghana.
Aaron holds an MSc in Natural Resource Sciences from McGill University and a BA in Philosophy with a Minor in Environment from McGill University. He is a PhD candidate at the University of London, Birkbeck, co-supervised by Isabelle Anguelovski. His research broadly focuses on urban food justice and he currently investigates the effect of gentrification on food access of marginalized communities, and how people may use food to resist or challenge development narratives. As such, his research draws on urban geography, urban political ecology, ecological economics, and food studies. He is co-editor at Uneven Earth, an environmental politics website.
Elsa is a French student and a former intern of the lab. She holds a degree in Sociology and Ethnology from the University of Lille 1 and is completing a research master at l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. Her current research focuses on sustainable urbanism in Paris and its periphery, examining the material, political and symbolic aspects of the relationship between sustainable urbanism and gentrification. She is particularly interested in how stakeholders, urban planners and inhabitants value and engage with the environment, and how these approaches are being contested during planning processes. She explores how cities can become more sustainable and inclusive over time.
Erin holds an MSc in Environment, Culture and Society from the University of Edinburgh and a BA in Human Geography from the University of Plymouth. Her research focuses on the relations between humans and the non-human environment and explores distributions of power related to governance. In particular, she is interested in understanding the role of traditional environmental knowledge, the ethics of environmental protection and restoration efforts such as rewilding, exploring how people relate to and understand cities through place attachment, and looking at the spatial distributions of wealth and poverty through an urban political ecology lens. She is currently working as an intern for the lab on the GreenLULUs project.
Laura holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration and in Law from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and is currently the Project Manager of the European Research Council funded project GREENLULUS. Prior to this role, she worked as a technician within the Area of Financial Economics and Accounting at the UAB, more specifically within the Financial Reporting Unit, where she was in charge of the financial reporting of several international research projects. She is now expanding this role to more general project coordination and management responsibilities, human resource coordination, and student support.