Henrik Ernstson

Dr. Henrik Ernstson is developing a situated approach to urban political ecology. His contribution to Political Ecology and…

About Me

Dr. Henrik Ernstson is developing a situated approach to urban political ecology.

His contribution to Political Ecology and Urban Studies lies in combining critical geography with urban ecology, urban infrastructure studies, and postcolonial urbanism. He has long experience in leading international research projects, with studies of collective action, knowledge politics, environmental conflicts, urban ecosystem management and critical infrastructure studies in Cape Town, Kampala, New Orleans, and Stockholm. He has continuously also funded and developed collaborations with designers, artists and activist to surface multiple ways of knowing urban environments to question 'who is in the know'. This has contributed to the Environmental Humanities and has included the research-based documentary film One Table Two Elephants (2018, 74 min, with Jacob von Heland) based on work in Cape Town, with upcoming film-based research in Durban and Kampala. He has contracts for two edited volumes with MIT Press and Routledge and his work has been published by leading international journals, including Antipode, Environment and Planning A, Ecology & Society, Ecological Economics, Regional StudiesUrban Studies, and an upcoming article in Theory Culture & Society

He is a Research Fellow at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology and their KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory since 2013, Lecturer in Human Geography at the Department of Geography at the The University of Manchester from 2017, and long-term Visiting Scholar at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town since 2010. In 2013-2014 he held a two-year postdoctoral position at Stanford University's Department of History where he collaborated with Stanford Anthropology and Centre for African Studies. His critical work has grown from a wide interdisciplinary background as he holds a PhD in Systems Ecology from Stockholm University and the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and a MSc in Physics and Applied Mathematics from Linköping University. His previous careers include project manager at an international electrical engineering firm, high school teacher and theatre producer in Stockholm.

For his research projects and wide range of collaborations, see The Situated Ecologies Platform. He is a founding member of The Situated UPE Collective, he tweets at @rhizomia, and for his work and publications go to his Academia.edu page.

Political Ecology of Urbanization in Latin America: A fertile ground for more situated and just urban ecologies
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Political Ecology of Urbanization in Latin America: A fertile ground for more situated and just urban ecologies

German Quimbayo Ruiz reports on efforts to develop a Situated UPE approach in Latin America. His co-authored research article in the journal Ecología Política is in Spanish, so  spread the message among our Spanish-speaking scholars and activists. (For a PDF copy, contact the authors. For more SUPE posts on Latin America, see here.) Recently I published a paper […]

The Urban Action Lab at Makerere University is in action!
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The Urban Action Lab at Makerere University is in action!

The Urban Action Lab (UAL) at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda has launched their website. The UAL is run by Professor Shuaib Lwasa and his team of urban researchers and students and the Lab will make a crucial contribution from East Africa to pan-African attempts in facing urban challenges of the 21st century. By Henrik […]

Symbiotic Tactics and Bio-semiotics: Martín Ávila visits University of Tartu, Estonia
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Symbiotic Tactics and Bio-semiotics: Martín Ávila visits University of Tartu, Estonia

Martín Ávila from Konstfack in Stockholm is visiting the leading Semiotics Department at the University of Tartu in Estonia on the 2nd of September 2016. Supported by funds from Henrik Ernstson’s MOVE project at KTH, he will meet with biosemiotician Kallevi Kull and colleagues to extend and strengthen the interdisciplinary dialogue that he and Henrik Ernstson have developed and […]

New Publication: Unlearning [un]located ideas in the provincialization of urban theory
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New Publication: Unlearning [un]located ideas in the provincialization of urban theory

A new publication from our Situated UPE Collective was just published in Regional Studies by Mary Lawhon, Jonathan Silver, Henrik Ernstson and Joseph Pierce. It continues our contribution to Urban Political Ecology and Urban Studies. Postcolonial scholars have argued for the provincialization of urban knowledge, but doing so remains an opaque process. This paper argues that […]

STOMPIE: Crafting stories from Cape Flats using Afrikaaps, hiphop and popular theatre
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STOMPIE: Crafting stories from Cape Flats using Afrikaaps, hiphop and popular theatre

A couple of weeks back STOMPIE was screened on 25 Feb 2016 as a work-in-progress on how to weave together experiences of hiphop pedagogy with popular theatre. This was a ‘South-North’ collaboration around crafting stories from marginalised areas. Next steps being discussed among the STOMPIE Crew is a ‘Garage Tour’ to find STOMPIE Supporters, followed by a tour of High Schools in […]

1 Table 2 Elephants: a film essay about bushmen bboys, a flower kingdom and the ghost of a princess (5 min teaser)
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1 Table 2 Elephants: a film essay about bushmen bboys, a flower kingdom and the ghost of a princess (5 min teaser)

Check out a 5 minute ‘teaser’ of the film “1 Table 2 Elephants” that we are finalising in 2017. Filmed in Cape Town in 2015, it deals with ways of knowing urban ecologies in postapartheid and postcolonial cities. It’s created by Jacob von Heland and Henrik Ernstson, produced in collaboration with KTH and UCT and funded by […]

A Story to Encourage Storytelling: “We have a life in Kibera”
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A Story to Encourage Storytelling: “We have a life in Kibera”

Kibera in Nairobi: Bukonola (Bukky) Ngobi and Joe Mulligan from Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) gives the background to a video about life in Kibera that they facilitated in making. It displays important down-to-the-ground innovative design and infrastructure practices that makes a difference. And that can scale and change the urban fabric.   As far as I can see, a […]

Three year Situated UPE research on waste & sanitation in Uganda!
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Three year Situated UPE research on waste & sanitation in Uganda!

The Swedish Research Council decided on the 3rd of November to fund a multi-disciplinary team from Sweden, Uganda, South Africa, UK, and USA to develop crucial knowledge about urban infrastructure challenges in Africa and the developing world. The team—with Drs Henrik Ernstson, Mary Lawhon, Shuaib Lwasa, Jonathan Silver and David Nilsson—will focus on waste and sanitation and […]

“Somos Sur” :: The need to think, analyse and act from the South—and hip hop as radical democratic practice.
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“Somos Sur” :: The need to think, analyse and act from the South—and hip hop as radical democratic practice.

“Somos Sur” is a rap and hip-hop song by Chilean-French artist Ana Tijoux. To me it insists that this world needs thinking, analysis and action from the South.  The song vibrantly also features Palestinian-British rapper Shadia Mansour and provides hip hop and rap at its best—constructively angry; ruthless in speaking back to power. But also in […]

MOVE Project organises: The Cape Town Civil Society Conference, 6 June, 2015
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MOVE Project organises: The Cape Town Civil Society Conference, 6 June, 2015

Dr. Henrik Ernstson is organizing a major Civil Society Conference in Cape Town on 6 June, 2105. The conference is a result of his 3-year MOVE/CIVNET research project on civil society networks with Professor Mario Diani and Dr. Lorien Jasny. The conference gathers over 100 organisations that mobilise on the urban environment to debate and discuss the […]