Copyright © 2019 - Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality (KNOW) | London

  • @UrbanKnow
  • @Urban_Know
  • UrbanKnowBlog

Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality is funded by UKRI through the Global Challenges Research Fund GROW Call, and led by The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL. 

Vanesa Castán

Lead Co-Investigator WP1
City Knowledge

Urban Institute,
University of Sheffield 

Back to team 

I co-lead KNOW Work Package 1, Knowledge
Co-Production, with Cassidy Johnson.
I am a Professorial Fellow at the University of Sheffield, where I am based at the Urban Institute.


I work in three research areas: climate change governance in cities, the social and material impacts of urban sustainability transitions, and the potential for delivering emancipatory forms of planning for sustainability. I approach knowledge co-production as both a research topic and a style of research. I work with interdisciplinary teams and I love writing. Some of my recent publications include the books Urban Sustainability Transitions (2017, Routledge) and the Routledge Research Companion to Energy Geographies (2017, Routledge).


I was born in Jaca, a small town in the Spanish Pyrenees. I have a very large family and I live in Hertfordshire with my partner and my daughter. I studied natural resource management and engineering in the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid where, towards the end of my studies, I realised that the a foundation in engineering and ecology was not sufficient to understand the social and political dynamics underlying environmental problems. This moment marked the most radical and important decision in my career: to adopt a critical social science perspective.


I went on to study a postgraduate degree in environmental sociology in Wageningen University and later a doctorate looking at the sociology of environmental engineering in the University of Surrey. Since then I have worked to understand the dynamics of environmental injustices in urban environments, with a particular interest on debates around climate change and sustainability innovation. I worked at the University of Durham and UCL before joining the University of Sheffield in September 2017.

KNOW Links & Resources 

  • @UrbanKnow
  • @Urban_Know
  • Urban Know Blog
  • UrbanKnow Vimeo