Critical Renewabilities (2014-Present)
How do we decide what kinds of materials count as "renewable" for subsidized or incentivized energy production? What are the implications of these decisions?
My current project examines how renewability is defined in US Renewable Portfolio Standards - powerful state-level climate change policies that set targets and timelines for renewable energy production. I seek to explain: (a) how state policymakers, regional political-economic interests, environmental interest groups, and communities selected to host renewable energy technologies negotiate competing knowledge claims about renewability, and (b) how the outcomes of those negotiations in turn produce uneven spatial patterns of renewable energy benefit and burden. I collaborate with colleagues at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the University of Oklahoma, and lead a research lab at UC Davis on this topic.
This research is an extension of my previous work on the material and discursive construction of municipal solid waste (garbage) as a renewable energy source in the European Union. For that project, I investigated the ecological, economic, and political implications of waste’s framing as a renewable fuel in the context of EU waste-to-energy regulation and production. My critical renewabilities scholarship has been published in: Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Discard Studies, Euractive, Energy Research & Social Science (in press), and Case Studies in the Environment (in press).
This work has been supported by:
Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research; Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation; EU Center of Excellence; University of California Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation; UC Davis Graduate Studies; UC Davis Center for Regional Change; UC Davis Institute for Social Sciences; UC Davis Geography Graduate Group; UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Science.
Transit Subjectivities (2010-2012)
How do embodied engagements with urban transit infrastructures and place-making histories affect transit planning politics?
Conducted in Oakland, California between 2011 and 2012, this research argues that a political ecology lens helps highlight how environmental and transit subjectivities – identities developed from everyday interactions with mobile and built environments – shape dispositions towards, and the politics around, mass transit projects. Published in: Journal of Transport Geography.
Park Connections (2009-2010)
What barriers prevent young people from visiting open space parks? What can be done to minimize the barriers and connect young people to the outdoors?
Young people comprise a population whose opinions and needs are generally undervalued, and as a result, their voices are often muted or not even considered. The Park Connections project directly asks young people ages 14-18 about their experiences, ideas and hopes for the outdoors, and provides a broad survey of the wide range of physical, social, cultural, and economic factors that affect youth access to Bay Area open space parks. Published report: Park Connections: Increasing Access for Bay Area Youth.
Supported by: Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council; Marin Community Foundation.
Play in the City (ONGOING)
How can aesthetic interventions with everyday infrastructure influence urban pedestrian interactions and affective relationships with place?
Play in the City chronicles my work to create wax rubbings of Vienna’s municipal water valve covers from the past 100+ years. Inspired by Henri Lefebvre, Iris Marion Young, Jane Jacobs, David Harvey, Alex Loftus, Bruno Latour and other critical urban thinkers, I aim to relate the mundane with the magnificent, and draw attention to the artistry and interactions that coalesce around everyday urban infrastructures, and the histories of those who create them. Shared on: PlayInTheCity.org.