The Bartlett Development Planning Unit

Mr Etienne Von Bertrab

Mr Etienne Von Bertrab

Lecturer (Teaching)

Development Planning Unit

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
3rd May 2011

Research summary

Current areas of research include:

Production and disruption of ‘risk traps’ in Lima, Peru, under the project cLIMA sin Riesgo.

Civil society and paradigm change in water governance and defence of the territory in Mexico.

Land, democracy and justice in the context of an energy transition: the case of Southern Mexico.

Teaching summary

BENVGES6 Sustainable Infrastructure and Services in Development

BENVGES7 Urban Water and Sanitation, Planning and Politics

He has also co-tutored BENVGES2 Urban Environmental Planning and Management, with Prof. David Satterthwaite.

Having previously taught Political Ecology and Environmental Policy at ITESO University (Guadalajara), he is a guest lecturer in several universities in Mexico.


Étienne von Bertrab joined the Development Planning Unit (DPU) as a lecturer in 2011. He is tutor of two modules based in the MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development (ESD): Sustainable Infrastructure and Services in Development, and Urban Water and Sanitation, Planning and Politics. 

Currently a Teaching Fellow, he also contributes to the delivery of ESD's practice module and to the research carried out by staff and students, currently exploring the relationship between urban development and planning and the production and reproduction of risk and environmental injustice, as well as transformative pathways, in Lima, Peru.

His research is focused in the areas of urban mobility, water governance and energy transitions, having done most of his work in Latin America. He is particularly interested in social movements and in examining the potential of grassroots resistance, of solidarity networks and of alternative justice mechanisms towards enhancing environmental justice and sustainability.

Étienne has been an environmental and human rights activist in Mexico, where he continues to work with collectives and networks. In London he is a member of the organisation Justice Mexico Now. He more recently explores the use of video in research and advocacy: www.vimeo.com/etiennista

He is also a consultant in the areas of citizenship and entrepreneurship for the empowerment of marginalised groups.

Étienne writes regularly in the magazines Desmesura and MAGIS, the latter from ITESO University in Guadalajara, on topics related to sustainability transitions and democracy.