Personal profile


Current PhD students

  • Robin de la Motte: Water, Urban Development and Grassroots movements in Latin America (with D. Mitlin)
  • Jason Beery: The Political Economy of Outer Space (with N. Castree)
  • Miranda Morgan: The Political Ecology of Hunger (with N. Castree)
  • Gale Reichert: Commodity Chains and Environmental Governance (with K. Nadvi)
  • Simon Addison: Refugees, Water, and Politics in Uganda
  • Kim Hammond: The Politics of Genetically Modified Foods
  • Sampson Wong: Health, Food, and the Political Ecology of Urbanization in Hong Kong
  • Lazaros Karaliotas: The Cultural Political Economy of Scale, The Case of Thessaloniki
  • Suraya Fazel-Ellahi: Water Struggles in Cape Town, South Africa (with M. Kaika)

Further information

Awards and distinctions

  • 1997: Anniversary Award from Environment and Planning A for best paper of the year 'Power, Nature and the City. The Conquest of Water and The Political Ecology of Urbanization in Guayaquil, Ecuador: 1880-1980', Environment and Planning A, 29(2), pp. 311-332
  • 2008: James Blaut Memorial Award, Critical and Socialist Geography Specialty Group, American Association of Geographers
  • 2010: Nominated by UK HE International, Universities UK to serve on the European Research Council Board
  • 2011: British Academy Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship

Further information

Wider professional service

  • 2011- : Member of Advisory Board: Capitalism, Nature, Socialism
  • 2010: Member of Conference Advisory Committee, Conference on 'Nature Inc? Questioning the Market Panacea in Environmental Policy and Conservation', Institute of Social Studies, The Hague,
  • 2010:Elected member of the Advisory Board and Selection Committee for the appointment of an Architectural/Plannning Consultancy Team for 'Bruxelles-Métropole', the development of an urban vision for Brussels 2040
  • 2010: Assessor of Major Research Initiatives Program, Ministry of Research, Regional Government of Wallonia/Universite Libre de Bruxelles
  • 2010-13: Appointed full member to the Flemish Science Foundation Commission W&T9 on Science and Technology of Constructions and the Built Environment
  • 2010:Member of the Scientific Committee for the Second International Conference on De-growth 'Economic Degrowth Today', ICTA, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona
  • 2009:Member of the ESRC Centre for Research on Economic, Social and Cultural Change (CRESC) Theme 3: Material Powers: Culture and Social Ordering in the City (Open University University of Manchester)
  • 2009: Member of the selection committee for the appointment of the Chair in Human Geography, University of Lausanne
  • 2009:Member of the Editorial Board of Studies in Urban Humanities, Seoul
  • 2009: Appointed Member of the Advisory Board of the 'Urban Laboratory' (Urbanlab), University College London
  • 2009: Elected Member of the Scientific Committee of The Ecocity World Summit 2009, Istanbul
  • 2009: Member of Vooruitgroep, progressive think-tank, Belgium
  • 2008-10:Chair of Society and Environment Research Group (SERG), The University of Manchester
  • 2008:Invited Member of the Advisory Board of the project Urban Transitions and Climate Change, ESRC/Durham University
  • 2008:Member of the Editorial Board of Book Series 'Urban Policies and Citizenship', UNESCO Chair Book Series, University Press of Lyon (editor Bernard Jouvé)
  • 2008: Member of external assessors panel to evaluate Faculty of Social Sciences, Lund University
  • 2008:Member of the International Editorial Board: Water Alternatives An Interdisciplinary Journal of Water, Politics, and Development
  • 2008:Member of International Editorial Board (European Editor), Human Geography, Clark University.
  • 2007-08: Member of Scientific Committee, Conference on 'Urban sustainable development and social sciences', University of St. Etienne
  • 2007- : Member of the Editorial Board of Books Series 'Urban and Landscape Perspectives', Springer Publishing House (ed. Vanni Maciocco)
  • 2007- : Member of International Editorial Board, ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies

Other research

Research projects

  • The Space of Crisis: Towards a Critical Geography of Complex Humanitarian Emergencies (with Simon Addison). European Union Marie Curie Action Grant, 2009-2012
  • Partner in Waterlat, a research network on Governance and Citizenship in Water Management and Environmental Health with a focus on Latin America (Prof. E. Castro, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, University of Newcastle. Funded by Leverhulme Trust, 2009-2011
  • The Politics of Environmental Modernization in Spain: From Manufacturing Rivers to Desalting the Seas (1898-2008). British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship, 2011
  • Mobilising the Seas: The Contested Politics of Desalination in Spain (1995-2010). Funded by British Academy, 2010-2011




  • Resources and Society
  • The Capitalist Space Economy
  • The Geographical Dynamics of Post-War Capitalism
  • Historical-Geographical Materialism: The City
  • Historical-Geographical Materialism: The Environment


  • Globalisations
  • Social Theory and Water
  • Nature/Society and Political Ecology
  • Political Economy of Capitalism


Erik Swyngedouw

MSc (Bio-Engineering), MSc (Urban and Regional Planning), PhD (Geography and Environmental Engineering)

  • 2006- Professor of Geography, University of Manchester
  • 2011-2013 Visiting Professor, Department of Geography, University of Ghent, Belgium
  • 2011 British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow
  • June 2009 Visiting Professor, IRS, Institute for Urban and Regional Planning, Berlin, Germany
  • 2008-2010 Visiting Professor, Department of Geography, University of Leuven, Belgium
  • 2004-2006 Professor of Geography, Oxford University
  • 1988-2006 Official Fellow and Tutor of Geography, St. Peter's College, Oxford University
  • 1997-2004 University Reader in Economic Geography, Oxford University
  • 1988-1997 University Lecturer in Human Geography, Oxford University
  • Fall 2004 Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Geography and Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technologies, Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • Summer 2004 Invited Visiting Professor, International Political Economy and Ecology Summer School 2004, The Graduate Programme in Political Science and The Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto
  • Jan-Apr 2002 Monet-Marshall Visiting Professor of European Studies, Jackson School of International Relations and Department of Geography, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Oct-Nov 2001 Visiting Professor, Department of Economic and Sociology, Universite de Lille I, France
  • May 2002 Teaching Urban and Regional Economics and Development, Department of Economic and Sociology, Universite de Lille I, France
  • 1997-2000 Associate Fellow, Environmental Change Unit, Oxford University
  • July-Oct 1998 Visiting Professor and Marie Curie Fellow, Spatial Development Research Unit, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Architecture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Sept-Nov 1996 Visiting Professor and European Marie Curie Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Seville
  • Fall 1993 Visiting Professor, Institute for Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Engineering, University of Leuven, Belgium

Research interests

  • Political Economy: Socio-Economic Change, Politics, and Spatial Restructuring
  • Water: Politics, Economics, Ecology, and urbanization
  • The theory and politics of scale in political-economic geography and urban/regional restructuring processes.
  • Political-Ecological Theory and Practice: Nature, Society and Social Power
  • Politics, Governance, Power and Citizenship

Over the past two decades, I have published several books and over a hundred research papers in leading journals in the broader fields of political economy, political ecology, and urban theory and culture. My aim is to bring politically explicit yet theoretically and empirically grounded research that contributes to the practice of constructing a more genuinely humanising geography.

My research programme is built around two main theoretical perspectives and articulated through two empirical windows'. The first research programme focuses on geographical political economy, with special attention to transformations in the capitalist space economy. In particular, the articulation between local/regional and national/transnational processes has been of central importance. Specific research includes industrial restructuring, finance, urban/regional development and governance, and the scalar' transformation of governance.

The second research programme focuses on political-ecology, with particular emphasis on the governance, politics, and economics of water resources. The main theoretical objective here is to fuse theoretically social and physical processes. This aims to contribute to the formulation of a politically progressive socio-natural theory.

Each of these theoretical programmes is empirically articulated through two empirical entries'. On the one hand, water and the hydro-social cycle constitute a major domain of empirical research in a variety of geographical settings (E.U., Latin America , U.S. , Spain ). In addition to its social and political significance, water permits to reconstruct the making and remaking of geographical configurations as a result of political-ecological processes. On the other hand, the city and the urban process constitute a second major research entry through which the above two theoretical research programmes are explored.

My future research plans will continue to engage with the triad environment-economy-governance with the city, water, and local/global articulations as the major empirical entries.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Sustainable Futures
  • Manchester Urban Institute
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute


Dive into the research topics where Erik Swyngedouw is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or