Blake Robinson

Blake is a specialist in sustainable cities and the role of infrastructure and other urban systems in shaping resource consumption, working with the Hot or Cool Institute on our cities programme and the Beacon for Sustainable Living. He has a master’s degree in Sustainable Development and has worked on issues relating to sustainable cities since 2010 for the Sustainability Institute in South Africa, ICLEI Africa, Circle Economy and the Urban Futures Studio. He has contributed his expertise to publications for the International Resource Panel, UNEP, UN-Habitat, African Development Bank, European Investment Bank and others, and has acted as an advisor to a number of organisations in South Africa and abroad.

With a bachelor’s degree in marketing, he is passionate about using creative approaches and media to bring sustainability into everyday life, bridging the gap between academia and society. Originally from South Africa, he has a particular interest in the sustainable development of African cities. In addition to his role at the Hot or Cool Institute, he leads a multi-year project on re-imagining infrastructure for sustainable African cities at the Urban Futures Studio at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and is a Senior Associate at OneEarth Living.

Research Highlights and Accomplishments

  • European Investment Bank & Circle Economy. 2022. The 15 circular steps for cities – Third Edition. European Investment Bank, Luxembourg.
  • Allen, A., Brugmann J., Sharma. K.R., Robinson, B. & Dai, H. 2021. Achieving Urban Transformation: From Visions to Pathways. In United Nations Environment Programme and United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). Global Environment for Cities-GEO for Cities: Towards Green and Just Cities. UNEP, Nairobi.
  • Conway, D., Robinson, B., Mudimu, P., Chitekwe, T., Koranteng, K. & Swilling, M. 2019. Exploring hybrid models for universal access to basic solar energy services in informal settlements: Case studies from South Africa and Zimbabwe. Energy Research & Social Science. 56 (2019) 101202.
  • IRP. 2018. The Weight of Cities: Resource Requirements of Future Urbanization. Swilling, M., Hajer, M., Baynes, T., Bergesen, J., Labbé, F., Musango, J.K., Ramaswami, A., Robinson, B., Salat, S., Suh, S., Currie, P., Fang, A., Hanson, A. Kruit, K., Reiner, M., Smit, S., Tabory, S. A Report by the International Resource Panel. United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Musango, J.K., Currie, P. & Robinson, B. 2017. Urban metabolism for resource efficient cities: from theory to implementationParis: UN Environment.
  • Swilling, M., Musango, J., Robinson, B. & Peter., C. 2017. Flows, Infrastructures and the African Urban Transition. In Frantzeskaki, N., Castan Broto, V., Coenen, L. & Loorbach, D. (Eds). Urban Sustainability Transitions. Routledge.
  • Swilling, M., Peter, C. & Robinson, B. 2016. Infrastructure planning for resource-efficient cities. In Swilling, M., Musango, J. & Wakeford, J. Greening the South African economy – scoping the issues, challenges and opportunities. Cape Town: UCT Press.
  • Hodson, M., Marvin, S., Robinson, B. & Swilling, M. 2014. Urban Dematerialisation and Transitions Analysis. In Hodson, M. & Marvin, S (eds.) After Sustainable Cities. London: Routledge.
  • IRP. 2013. City-Level Decoupling: Urban resource flows and the governance of infrastructure transitions.. Swilling, M., Robinson, B., Marvin, S. and Hodson, M. A Report by the International Resource Panel. United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Swilling, M., Robinson, B., Hodson, M. & Marvin, S. 2012. Reshaping urban infrastructure: Material flow analysis and transitions analysis in an urban context. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 16: 789–800. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-9290.2012.00559.x
  • UN-Habitat. 2012. Urban patterns for a green economy: Optimising Infrastructure. Nairobi: UNON.

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