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Dr Joanna Williams

Dr Joanna Williams

Senior Lecturer

The Bartlett School of Planning

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
18th Feb 1997

Research summary

Dr Jo Williams has 18 years of research experience broadly in the area of environmental sustainability. Since 1997, her research interest has focused on low carbon urbanism, more particularly the transition pathways towards achieving this goal. She has studied a number of forms of low carbon innovation ? smart cities, closed-loop  resource systems, zero carbon development, eco-neighbourhoods, co-provision of ecological services, co-building, cohousing,  alternatives to travel, etc -  and sought to determine how best to encourage the wider adoption within systems of provision.  She is particularly interested in the dynamic process of change in complex urban systems, with particular reference to the low carbon ( but also the wider environmental sustainability) agenda. She is also interested in the geography of urban eco-innovation; and the management of and processes leading towards low carbon urban transitions. She adopts a systems based approach in her work. Her research has centred on European and American examples until fairly recently, but are now beginning to transfer to Asia. The results from some of her research projects have captured the imagination of the world press (in particular Zero Carbon Realities and Going Solo) and influenced thinking within UNEP, European Environment Agency, the British, American, Chinese, German and Australian Governments.

Key topics:

  • Low carbon urbanism
  • Systems theory
  • Sustainable urban transitions - processes, management and governance.
  • Geography of eco-innovation
  • Urban metabolism and closed-loop systems
  • Transformative / transition planning
  • Co-provision of the built environment - energy coops, co-building, collaborative planning etc.

Teaching summary

Jo was the Director of the BSc Urban Planning Design and Management and Urban Studies programmes 2003-2008. She was also the Director of the MSc in Sustainable Urbanism from 2009-2012. She played an instrumental role in designing both courses.

Jo has taught a wide range of courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels:

  • Sustainable development key themes;
  • Sustainable development project - master-planning;
  • Environmental pillars of planning - environmental policy, environmental management, environmental planning;
  • Critical debates - sustainable urbanism / international and spatial planning;
  • Green futures
  • Urban Laboratories
  • Contemporary cities
  • Production of the built environment
She also supervises MSc, PHD and DEng students specialising in the areas listed in her research interests.

Education

University College London
PhD, Planning studies | 2003
Technische Universiteit Delft
Dipl., Sustainability and Technology Policy | 1997
University College London
M.Phil, Planning (Urban, Rural and Regional) | 1994
University of Southampton
BSc Hons, Geography | 1992

Biography

Dr Jo Williams is a senior lecturer in Sustainable Urbanism at the Bartlett School of Planning. She co-developed the innovative MSC Sustainable Urbanism and was the director of the programme from 2010 - 2012.  She is currently Director of Communications for the School. She works closely with industry (e.g. Zed Architects, Happolds, WSP, CBRE, WS Atkins), government (municipalities, regional and national governments in Europe and Asia), interest groups (e.g. Asia- Pacific Zero Carbon Hub), International bodies (European Environment Agency and United Nations). She has acted as an advisor to a number of regional, national and international bodies including: the United Nations task force on the Marrakech process, the European Environment Agency; the World Congress on Smart Cities, the UK Peak Oil committee; and the GLA London Renewables. She is on the steering panel for several large research projects  and conferences focussed on low carbon and smart urbanism. She reviews papers for several journals (including Energy Policy, Environment and Planning B) that are important in the field of sustainable urbanism and energy policy. She has published widely in peer-reviewed journals (see IRIS - 78 publications to date) and produced  "Zero Carbon Homes - A Road Map" a book published by EarthScan-Routledge.

Teaching Summary

Jo was the Director of the BSc Urban Planning Design and Management and Urban Studies programmes 2003-2008. She was also the Director of the MSc in Sustainable Urbanism from 2009-2012. She played an instrumental role in designing both courses.

Jo has taught a wide range of courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels:

  • Sustainable development key themes;
  • Sustainable development project - master-planning;
  • Environmental pillars of planning - environmental policy, environmental management, environmental planning;
  • Critical debates - sustainable urbanism / international and spatial planning;
  • Green futures
  • Urban Laboratories
  • Contemporary cities
  • Production of the built environment
She also supervises MSc, PHD and DEng students specialising in the areas listed in her research interests.
Publications