Skip to content

panel's content

Panel 34. New geographies of global transition: Climate, energy, and technology in the urban Global South


  • Jan Nijman, Department of Human Geography, Planning & International Development, and Centre for Urban Studies, University of Amsterdam ( Urban Studies Institute, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
  • Gregory F. Randolph, School of City and Regional Planning, College of Design, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA ( Just Jobs Network, New Delhi, India


Multiple global transformations are currently unfolding across disparate geographies: technological acceleration, energy transition, and climate change. The impact of these transformations constitutes a major research agenda on its own, but they also have the potential to radically reshape global human geographies, particularly in the Global South. Some of these changes have been underway for some decades, and some are likely to accelerate in times ahead. For example, climate change is thought to spur rural-urban migration (Barrios et al, 2006; Selod & Shilpi, 2021); the rapidly increasing demand for green commodities is likely to redirect economic fortunes across regions of the Global South (Dall-Orsoletta et al, 2022; Sovacool, 2019); and technological innovation is changing divisions of labor with possibly major repercussions for urban economies and disparities (Krenz et al, 2021; Nijman & Wei 2021; Randolph, 2023).

This session will focus on the ramifications of these transitions for uneven development, processes of urbanization, and regional and urban disparities across the Global South (Grant & Nijman 2004). It will also invite attention to the implications for the stability of prevailing conceptualizations of Global South and Global North. Are the transformations sharpening or eroding distinctions between North and South?

Thus, the session invokes a deeper question for researchers in global comparative urbanism: Given rapid and radical changes in ground realities, to what extent must we critically revisit some basic analytical and geographic frameworks – as opposed to applying them as default categories (Van Duijne & Nijman 2019; Randolph & Storper, 2023). This session invites papers from authors who are reflecting on these questions as part of their research into specific places and processes of change. This focus could be on one or more of the transitions mentioned above, and the general geographical fallout of the transition; or the focus could be on a specific place or region that is affected by one or more of these transitions. Comparative approaches, naturally, are most welcome. We are particularly interested in research in places that are “marginal” – not only in the sense of marginalized by social and economic systems, but also marginal in that they straddle the boundaries of commonly used geographic and socio-political containers (especially, North versus South).

Centro de Estudios de Conflicto y Cohesión Social.

Diagonal Paraguay 257,
Torre 26, Oficina 1504
Santiago – RM

Los Navegantes 1963
Providencia – RM