User:Flor Avelino

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I was born in 1981 in Sétubal (Portugal) and grew up in The Hague (The Netherlands). I currently live in Amsterdam and work in Rotterdam as a researcher and lecturer on sustainability transitions and social innovation. I specialize in power and empowerment theories, and have a particular interest in translocal networks and social movements. The Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT, Erasmus University of Rotterdam) has been my organizational home since 2005. As scientific coordinator of the TRANSIT project on social innovation I was one of the initiators of the Transformative Social Innovation Manifesto. Currently I'm involved in international projects on sustainable and just cities (UrbanA and Vital Cities & Citizens) and social innovation in energy transitions (SONNET and PROSEU).

My main activities in the city today are visiting parks, playgrounds and other child-friendly places with my daughter, hanging out in libraries or cafés to write, travelling by train and metro between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and visiting other cities for work and family (mostly Brussels and Lisbon, but this year also Paris, Faro and Vienna). So far, my research has not (yet) specialised on specific cities, but I would like to learn more about the cities of Amsterdam and Lisbon, the connections between them and how we can increase translocal solidarity across these and other places.

Vision on & relation to sustainable just cities

To tackle today’s challenges, we need systemic, transformative change that challenges, alters and replaces current power structures of inequality, exclusion, oppression and extractivism. There is no point in talking about sustainability without addressing these issues of (in)justice and power. While cities are fascinating ‘hotspots’ to think and act on just sustainability transitions, I am convinced that we also need to better understand the translocal connections between different cities across the world, between urban and rural areas, between online and offline, between local, national and global levels of collective action (be it in governments, enterprises, NGOs or other networks and communities).

In my research, I observe many social movements and initiatives across the world that are collaborating for more sustainable and just societies, striving for access to basic human needs (e.g. housing, energy, water, food, healthcare), while also aiming to respect future generations and other living creatures. As a researcher, I strive to critically engage with these movements through research that helps us understand how people and networks are empowered to transform their places towards more sustainable & just environments.

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