AUTHOR: Madlen Kobi
CONTEXT: Book Review published in the Journal "Urban Studies", 2020
Book Review “Urban Energy Landscapes” (2019) by Vanesa Castán Broto. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
How can we conceptualise the street vendor’s cookstove within the energy infrastructure of a city? And in what ways does an understanding of locally lived energy landscapes enhance our tools for energy transition? These are some of the questions addressed in the book Urban Energy Landscapes by Vanesa Castán Broto, where she successfully links the macroscale of energy governance with the microscale of everyday practices in urban settings. The author addresses a wide range of energy-related dimensions, including energy production in power plants (e.g. based on fossil fuel, coal or hydropower) and also energy use in households (e.g. electricity, charcoal, solar energy). After an extremely comprehensive literature review on the interlacement of energy infrastructure, urban governance and material landscape in the first part of the book, Castán Broto takes the reader to four different cities around the globe in the second part. The historical contextualisation and the description of walking experiences ground her concept of collective, heterogeneous urban energy landscapes in concrete places of quotidian realities.
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