Sarah Colenbrander

Sarah Colenbrander was a senior researcher in the Human Settlements research group until October 2018


• Financing urban infrastructure • Urban governance for inclusion and sustainability • Climate and energy policy in urban areas

Before IIED

• Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom
• Associate at the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy

• MSc (Environment and Development) with Distinction at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
• BSc (Ecology) and BCom (Economics) with Distinction at the University of Sydney, Australia

Current work

I am the Global Programme Lead and Senior Economist with the Coalition for Urban Transitions, a network of 24 organisations from the research, government and private sector. The Coalition was established to support national economic decision-makers to enable low-carbon and climate-resilient urban development. I am responsible for conducting and managing high-quality and innovative research across the partner institutions. The 2017-2019 research programme focuses on national policy levers, financing urban infrastructure and the wider economic case for action.  

I also work closely with networks of grassroots organisations on innovative financing for basic infrastructure. In particular, I am working with SDI and the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights on securing access to multilateral climate funds and establishing partnerships with private actors such as commercial banks, property developers and engineering firms. Resourcing community-led processes in this way can foster more inclusive forms of urban development.  

In addition to academic publications, I have contributed to reports published by the World Bank, the New Climate Economy and UN Environment. I am also a guest lecturer at the University of Oxford, University College London and the University of Manchester, and serve as Associate Editor for the peer-reviewed journal Environment and Urbanization.

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