The social, political and material constitution of low-carbonenergy transitions in urban areas: a socio-technical and socio-spatial comparisonof Alberta (Canada) and Ile-de-France (France)

Cities emit approximately 70% of the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change. It is therefore important to study how urban energy infrastructures can be transformed to lower carbon emissions. But this transformation is not simple for two reasons: (1) it involved variousactors with conflicting interests and visions on what the energy transition should be, and (2) cities are limited in their capacity of actions because of financial constraints and limited institutional powers. My research will compare how energy transitions are happening in the urban areas of Alberta (Canada) and Ile-de-France (France). Specifically, I will look at the following: how energy= transitions are negotiated and implemented in these two contrasting urban contexts (who are the actors involved and what policies are implemented); what factors enable and constrain municipal and individual actors to carry out low-carbon projects; and how the transformation of energy infrastructure by these projects impact the resilience and the social cohesion of energy supply across the city. With this comparison, I aim to identify best practices and policies and to assist urban decisionmakers in lowering carbon emissions.

Faculty Supervisor:

Byron Miller


Aïda Nciri



Geography / Geology / Earth science



University of Calgary


Globalink Research Award

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