A social scientist by background, I currently work as a freelance consultant on sustainable urban mobility, public engagement and data analysis. Through my work, I aim to contribute, even if in a very small way, to making cities more sustainable and to improve life quality in cities.
My interest in sustainable cities, particularly in the provision of urban infrastructure, has been the recurring theme throughout my career. After graduating from high school, I worked for the Hamburg waste water utility and developed a strong interest in resource flows within the city, in the way our lifestyles create waste, and finally the role of urban infrastructure in channelling this waste to a place where it can be treated, most often completely removed from our sight.
I studied political science with minors in environmental sciences and economics, a combination which would allow me to examine sustainability challenges from several perspectives and form an multidisciplinary understanding of sustainable development, and later particularly urban issues. I specialised in development studies, democracy theories, especially theories of public participation, and climate change – all of which topics that I have further pursued in my career.
After my graduation, I worked as a consultant at the World Bank in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I mainly worked on the preparation of a lending operation aimed at the clean-up and sustainable development of a principally urban river basin area in Buenos Aires, including the provision of sanitation infrastructure, micro finance for industrial pollution control, and urban rehabilitation measures. During this time, I became particularly interested in questions of environmental justice.
My experience at the World Bank later became a key inspiration for my PhD research, as it gave me an insight into the political challenges of urban interventions. My research aimed to achieve a better understanding of interventions in everyday routine practices. It was based on a case study of urban transport cycling in Santiago de Chile in 2011 and examined infrastructure interventions as well as civil society activities aimed at facilitating the shift from driving to cycling.
During my PhD, I started working with Ketso, a social enterprise in Manchester that promotes creative stakeholder engagement through a hands-on toolkit for facilitating engagement workshops. Since I completed my PhD in April 2014, I have analysed data from engagement workshops from a broad range of topics, including mental health & stigma, building and sustaining strong partnerships in community development, developing a wetland landscape partnership action plan, housing and support for the young homeless and many more. Reading through thousands of ideas from the workshop participants has strengthened my belief that listening needs to come before providing.