Oxford Programme for
the Future of Cities The Flexible City: rethinking the urban to face future challenges
Idalina Baptista is an Associate Professor in Urban Anthropology in the Department for Continuing Education, associated with the DPhil, MSc and Short Courses in Sustainable Urban Development. She is an Associate Fellow of the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities and a member of the Consultative Committee of the African Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. Idalina has taught on diverse themes relating to urban planning and environmental management at the University of California, Berkeley, the New University of Lisbon, Universidade Aberta, and Universidade Atlântica, in Portugal. She held a visiting position at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon and collaborated with colleagues at the New University of Lisbon on projects and initiatives involving public participation in urban and environmental planning and policymaking. Her teaching and research is informed by her past experience as an environmental planning consultant and as a volunteer to NGOs in the environmental sector. Idalina holds a PhD in City and Regional Planning (2009) and a Master in Landscape Architecture (Environmental Planning concentration) (1999) from the University of California, Berkeley, USA, and a BEng in Environmental Engineering (1996) from the New University of Lisbon, Portugal.
Idalina’s current research focuses on the colonial and post-colonial geographies of urban energy infrastructure and urbanization in African cities, with a special focus on Maputo, Mozambique. Through her research, Idalina seeks to deepen her understanding of African urbanization and the challenges of governing urban infrastructures in Africa. In particular, she is interested in understanding how different forms of infrastructure governance emerge and the patterns of urbanization, citizenship and urban livelihoods these engender. Her latest research project, Electric Urbanism: the Governance of Electricity in Urban Africa, was funded by Oxford’s John Fell Fund. The project uses the case study of the prepaid electricity system in Maputo, Mozambique, to examine the challenges of accessing utility services in the global South. She recently concluded a research project focused on notions of urban flexibility in governing cities undergoing processes of reconstruction after a disaster and/or coping with situations of endemic crisis in Africa and the Caribbean. In the past, she examined the use of regimes of exception as alternative forms of governance to deliver large-scale urban rehabilitation projects in Portugal. Idalina has published her work in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Studies, Urban Geography, and City & Society, as well as edited collections.