Mr Etienne Von Bertrab

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The Development Planning Unit conducts world-leading research and postgraduate teaching that helps to build the capacity of national governments, local authorities, NGOs, aid agencies and businesses working towards socially just and sustainable development in the global south. We are part of The Bartlett: UCL's global faculty of the built environment.



Étienne von Bertrab joined the Development Planning Unit (DPU) as a lecturer in 2011. He is the lead tutor of two specialised modules of the MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development (ESD): Sustainable Infrastructure and Services in Development and Urban Water and Sanitation, Planning and Politics. He also contributes to the delivery of ESD's practice module. 

His research has focused mainly in the areas of urban mobility and urban and regional water governance. He is attentive to social movements and particularly interested in exploring the role of grassroots and citizen-led initiatives in advancing environmental justice and in the formation of alternative governance arrangements. Before he joined DPU he combined academia with activism in his native country Mexico, working alongside community organisations, NGOs and networks working in issues related to the right to the city, water justice and democracy. He taught political ecology and environmental politics at ITESO University in Guadalajara, where he also developed an action-research platform on environmental justice in the Santiago River basin.

He has also a trajectory in social entrepreneurship working primarily with indigenous coffee producers from Chiapas. Before studying this MSc (ESD) at the DPU in 2001 and having been originally trained as an engineer he worked in service and manufacturing industries in Mexico and internationally.

Research Summary

He is currently working on a research proposal that aims at examining the scope of coproduction to enhance water justice in periurban areas of Latin American cities.

Research outputs

Hacia un nuevo paradigma de gobernanza del agua 2015 von Bertrab E
Trajectories of Change: Land, Urbanisation and Urban Agriculture in Accra 2012 von Bertrab E,Allen A,Wood-Hill M,Lambert R,Frediani A
Movilidad urbana en el desarrollo de Guadalajara 2011 von Bertrab E
Grandes presas en México: entre la imposición y la resistencia: la lucha de Temacapulín 2011 von Bertrab E,Díaz Alba C,Fisher S
Gobernabilidad del agua en México: La crisis de agua en Guadalajara y el Destino del Lago de Chapala 2005 von Bertrab E,Wester P
Guadalajara's water crisis and the fate of Lake Chapala: A reflection of poor water management in Mexico 2003 von Bertrab E

Research activities

Cuba: an alternative transport model?