UCL Energy Institute

Dr Charlotte Johnson

Dr Charlotte Johnson

Senior Research Fellow

Bartlett School Env, Energy & Resources

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
22nd Apr 2013

Research summary

Charlotte’s research focusses on urban infrastructure, energy, financialisiation and the material culture of the home. She draws on theories from anthropology, economic geography and STS to analyse the social relations that are produced through infrastructure.  Her particular interest is in urban decentralised energy systems like district heating and she has studied district heating in Serbia and the UK. 

As part of her Public Engagement Fellowship, Charlotte developed research projects in collaboration with public sector and community groups that support low carbon urban energy use. This includes working with residents and local authorities on new and established heat networks in London, as well as small scale community energy projects.  She led a participatory project to design and build a micro energy centre in the Olympic Park with a group of volunteers. This used AD, wind and solar to provide heat, electricity and greywater to an off-grid community garden. 

Teaching summary

Charlotte teaches on UCL Energy's  MRes in Energy Demand Studies and  MSc Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment, on ISR's MSc in Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transition.

She supervises students on DPU's MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development. She is also a supervisor supporting student-community group collaborative projects run on CEGE's MSc module 'Collaborative Environmental Systems Projects'.


Newcastle University
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2013
University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Research | 2009
University College London
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 2000


Charlotte is an anthropologist who leads social research packages within multidisciplinary projects on resource use in cities and homes.  She is interested in urban infrastructure transitions and in ways that residents are involved. She is currently working on a number of projects in the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources that use ethnographic and participatory research methods.

Charlotte joined the Bartlett in April 2013 to map UCL’s research expertise in urban sustainability.  She held a Public Engagement Fellowship in 2014 to study the role assigned to 'the public' in energy policy research.  During this Fellowship Charlotte developed collaborative research projects with local authorities and not-for-profit groups related to their sustainability priorities.  She has since worked on a number of cross-disciplinary research projects on infrastructure and housing with colleagues from across the Bartlett and Engineering faculties. 

Prior to joining UCL, Charlotte studied for a BA in anthropology and geography at UCL and then worked as a freelance filmmaker making advocacy films for international development NGOs. After seven years working on films in Africa, Asia and Europe for organisations such as UNV, Save the Children, Care International and VSO she returned to UCL to do an MRes in East European Studies. Through this she was able to shape her broad interest in economic development and social change to a specific engagement with politics of resource provisioning and urban development. 

Charlotte's PhD focused on energy and finance in Serbia. She carried out ethnographic research on the interaction between domestic space, urban infrastructure, socio-economic change in Belgrade.

As well as her academic engagement with sustainability she has policy research experience having worked on projects for DECC, DEFRA, the Scottish Government and the International Energy Agency.