The Bartlett School of Planning


Ruth Sepulveda Marquez

Research subject

Thesis title: Urban agriculture projects under the constrains of Neoliberalism: networks, discourses and story-lines in Santiago, Chile

Primary supervisor: Dr Yvonne Rydin
Secondary supervisor: Dr Claudio Magalhães
Sponsor: Becas Chile
Starting date: September 2017
Projected completion date: September 2021

Green infrastructures provide multiple benefits to urban sustainability and human health. Urban planner and decision-makers are more aware of the value of the green infrastructures and ecosystem services for the quality of life of their residents. However, the framework has not yet been integrated into spatial planning, and decision-making often fails to integrate some concrete ecosystem services. Indeed, in Chile, neoliberal policies permitted powerful economic elites to develop projects that threaten urban nature and reduce the number of green areas. Yet, cities are becoming areas where new ideas about nature are displayed and where new discourses are promoted with the aim to mitigate environmental problems and opening an alternative to neoliberalism of nature, land use and urban planning.

The aim of my research is to explain the reasons for the development of urban green infrastructure projects in Santiago de Chile by actors from different levels of the society, linking environmental ideas and neoliberal transformation driven by the development of a new partnership between actors related to urban green areas.

In a country where the private sector has more influence in decision-making than the state, and where their main motivations are to generate profits at the expense of nature, it seems interesting to understand the emergence of environmental projects and the modifications that those projects have caused in the social structures. After that, I wonder: how the emergence of urban green infrastructures projects in Santiago de Chile has modified the networks and discourses of actors with respect to the environment?


I have a background in Forest Engineering from Universidad de Concepcion in Chile. Due to my interest in green infrastructures in the urban areas, I completed a Master’s degree in Urban Environmental Management -Land Use Planning and Environmental System Analysis- at Wageningen University and Research in The Netherlands, with the aim of improving my understanding of the social and environmental relations established in the cities.

My professional experience is in areas of sustainable urban development, green infrastructures, planning and governance. In consulting, I worked as Environmental Consultant in SUDAustral Consulting prior my PhD studies. I was involved in different environmental topics, such as air contamination and recycling in cities, and desertification in rural areas.

I am interested in the relationships between urban green infrastructures, sustainable development, public participation and governance within the urban areas. My training and experience in multiple disciplines have allowed me to have a better understanding of the complexity of cities and has helped me to address issues that I consider of great interest, such as the lack of green areas, urban inequality and low community participation in the decision making.

Publications and other work


Emanuelli, P., Milla, F., Sepúlveda R., and Torrealba, J. 2014. Chapter: Hoja de ruta para la implementación de proyectos piloto. P.374-389. In: GIZ, CCAD and SICA. Insumos Técnicos Generados por el Programa REDD-CCAD/GIZ: Línea Base de Cobertura Forestal Sistema Regional-Multinivel de Monitoreo de Bosques Plataforma Regional de Mecanismos de Compensación. 425 p.

Emanuelli, P., Milla, F., and Sepúlveda R. 2014. Chapter: Guía Práctica para Desarrollar Proyectos REDD bajo Metodología VM0015 de VCS (Metodología para estimar las reducciones de emisiones de GEI por deforestación no planeada). In: GIZ, CCAD and SICA. Insumos Técnicos Generados por el Programa REDD-CCAD/GIZ: Línea Base de Cobertura Forestal Sistema Regional-Multinivel de Monitoreo de Bosques Plataforma Regional de Mecanismos de Compensación. 425 p.

Conference papers/presentations

  • Paper presentation at RSA Winter Conference 2019, UK. 2019
  • Paper presentation at RSA PhD Students and Early Careers, UK. 2019
  • Paper presentation at City+2019 The International Conference for PhD Students and Early Career Researchers on Urban Studies | The Netherlands. 2019
  • Poster presentation at Encuentros 2015. Chile Global en Rotterdam, The Netherlands. 2015



Academic Representative. The Bartlett School of Planning, UK. 2018 – 2019