Dr Saska Petrova

Senior Lecturer

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Research interests

Research interests


Political ecology: A distinct strand of my scholarship scrutinizes how the transformative governance of forests and nature protection can lead to (energy) poverty, and how top-down regulation is resisted and challenged from below. My work illuminates the complex geographies of legality involved in forest exploitation and connects scholarship on ‘recombinant’ capitalism with wider questions of environmental governance. I have also explored the manner in which nature protection activities create spatially-differentiated local understandings of the governance and meaning of national parks. This is highlighted in my monograph on Communities in Transition (Ashgate 2014) and a range of publications.

Inequality and vulnerability: I have a strong interest in the driving forces and everyday articulations of precarity and vulnerability as they relate to the low carbon transformation implicated by patterns of consumption of energy. I have been developing novel frameworks to examine the political and material constitution of communal infrastructural services in the home, and the nexus between energy and water demand. I has applied these approaches to the study of energy deprivation and inequality, via several research projects focusing on young adults in the UK, as well as crisis-hit urban dwellers in Southern and Eastern Europe.

Cities, Crisis and Financialisation: I have been foregrounding research agendas that highlight the embeddedness of low-carbon urban transformations in the micro- and meso-geographies of everyday life. My research has drawn attention to the institutionalization and contestation of regimes of austerity across developed-world countries. Recent scholarship on the topic has focused on the articulation of experience of infrastructural service deprivation among crisis-hit urban dwellers.

Sustainable Cities: My work highlights the spatial, political and institutional production of low-carbon urban transformations. I am also interested in the precarities and inequalities that arise through this process, particularly at the community scale. I have been developing new conceptual frameworks to integrate notions of socio-technical vulnerability in the understanding of urban environmental reconfigurations.

Other research

Current and recent projects

Ongoing projects

SA-URBATRANS: Urban Transformation in South Africa Through Co-Designing Energy Services Provision Pathways (2016-2019), funded by ESRC-NRF - investigates the dynamics and co-evolution of municipal processes so as to create pathways to new, greener and fairer urban energy configurations. The project establishes a dialogue between work on socio-technical transitions and on energy geographies to analyse and identify energy transition pathways towards municipal-scale energy services regimes.

DOMESTIC NEXUS: Unpacking the interconnectivity of energy and water demand (2016), funded by the University of Manchester Humanities Strategic Investment Research Fund - explores the everyday consumption of energy and water in the context of urban, peri-urban and rural transformations in post-socialist countries with fast increasing economies.

EVALUATE: Energy Vulnerability and Urban Transitions in Europe (2013-2018), funded by the European Research Council - scrutinises the manner in which urban institutional structures, built tissues and everyday practices shape energy vulnerability at a variety of geographical scales. More information can be found here.


Recently-completed projects

EVENT: Energy Vunlerability and Alternative Economies in Norther Greece (2013-2014), funded by the Royal Geographical Society - aims to understand how experiences of energy vulnerability in Greece are underpinned by the socio-technical and spatial infrastructures of everyday life. More information can be found here.

CHARISMA: Community Approaches to Retrofit in Manchester (2013-2014), funded by the University of Manchester Faculty of Humanities Strategic Investment Research Fund - explores how social housing providers are developing innovative approaches to retrofit that can realise multiple aims of energy and carbon savings, occupant comfort and fuel poverty. More information about this project can be found here.

INTREACT: INvesTigating REsidential and business energy consumption via student-led ACTion research (2012-2013), funded by the Higher Education Academy - a teaching development project that explored the interaction among student community involvment, active learning and energy use practices.

ADMIER: Accelerating and disseminating methodological innovation in energy research (2011-2012), funded by EPSRC - aimed to engender interdisciplinary co-operation among computer scientists and social geographers, by organising a series of socio-technical research ‘experiments’ and cross-disciplinary events.

ENYA: ENergy use and fuel poverty among Young Adults (2011-2012), funded by the Cheshire Lehmann Fund.


Research and projects

No current projects are available for public display