Dr Ping Huang

Research Associate

About Ping

Ping is a Postdoctoral Research Associate who joined the Urban Institute in June, 2019. His main mission is to manage Work Package 3 of the ERC-funded project LO-ACT, which examines urban innovation of climate action in ordinary cities and the impacts of such action in urban infrastructure landscapes and the everyday life of urban citizens.

During 2018-2019, Ping was a Postdoctoral Scholar at Climate Policy Lab (CPL), Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP), The Fletcher School, Tufts University (USA). He worked on a Breakthrough Energy funded project, which examined China’s clean energy innovation landscape. During 2015-2017, Ping was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London (UK). He conducted research on urban energy innovation and transitions in China. 

Ping’s doctoral research, conducted at Harbin Engineering University (China), examined low-carbon technological innovation in China’s manufacturing industries. During his PhD, he spent one year at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University (the Netherlands), as a visiting scholar working on China’s solar PV innovation system.

Research interests

Ping’s research focuses on energy innovation and sustainability transitions in China, particularly in urban areas. His research interests converge around the question of why energy innovation and hence, energy transitions, may occur in one city/region but not in another. He focuses on three themes: 1) the processes of urban innovation and socio-technical experimentation towards sustainability, 2) the politics of urban energy transitions, and 3) the verticality of governance and policy mixes for energy innovation and transitions in a city/region. 

The first area of his research focuses on the diverse, open-ended, but purposive, processes of innovation and experimentation in cities, particularly those in lack of well-developed institutional and normative settings for innovation. His work examines technological, social and institutional innovations that emerge from different forms of entrepreneurship and the mobilization of material and social resources around collective challenges.

The second area of his research centres on the dynamics of local political processes around energy innovation and socio-technical experimentation, which can dramatically change the direction of transitions trajectories. His work examines, first, the efforts of destabilizing incumbent regimes and the maintenance of the institutional structure of local governance; second, the active processes to stabilize regimes that create agonistic spaces for the identification of alternative visions and desires; and third, a series of urban material politics that relate to actual physical transformations in the urban environment.

The third area of his research focuses on the multilevel and evolutionary interpretation of the vertical interactions of multilevel governance and policy mixes for energy transitions in a city/region. His work not only looks into the stances of and responses among different levels of governmental authorities, but also examines the impacts and feedback from broader socio-technical dynamics outside the political arena, which highlights the interactive dynamics unfolding in the coevolutionary process of multilevel governance and socio-technical transitions in a city/region. 


Single-author articles

Huang, P., 2019. The verticality of policy mixes for sustainability transitions: A case study of solar water heating in China. Research Policy, forthcoming. 

First-author or corresponding-author articles

Huang, P. and Li, P., 2019. Politics of urban energy transitions: new energy vehicle (NEV) development in Shenzhen, China. Environmental Politics, forthcoming.

Huang, P., Ma, H. and Liu, Y., 2018. Socio-technical experiments from the bottom-up: The initial stage of solar water heater adoption in a ‘weak’ civil society. Journal of Cleaner Production, 201, pp.888-895.

Huang, P. and Castán Broto, V., 2018. Interdependence between urban processes and energy transitions: the urban energy transitions: The Dimensions of Urban Energy Transitions (DUET) framework. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 28, pp.35-45.

Huang, P., Castán Broto, V., Liu, Y. and Ma, H., 2018. The governance of urban energy transitions: A comparative study of solar water heating systems in two Chinese cities. Journal of Cleaner Production, 180, pp.222-231.

Huang, P., Castán Broto, V. and Liu, Y., 2018. From “transitions in cities” to “transitions of cities”: The diffusion and adoption of solar hot water systems in urban China. Energy Research & Social Science, 36, pp.156-164.

Huang, P. and Liu, Y., 2017. Renewable Energy Development in China: Spatial Clustering and Socio-Spatial Embeddedness. Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports, 4(2), pp.38-43.

Huang, P., Negro, S.O., Hekkert, M.P. and Bi, K., 2016. How China became a leader in solar PV: An innovation system analysis. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 64, pp.777-789.

Bi, K., Huang, P. and Wang, X., 2016. Innovation performance and influencing factors of low-carbon technological innovation under the global value chain: A case of Chinese manufacturing industry. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 111, pp.275-284.

Bi, K., Huang, P. and Ye, H., 2015. Risk identification, evaluation and response of low-carbon technological innovation under the global value chain: A case of the Chinese manufacturing industry. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 100, pp.238-248.

Other co-authored articles

Westman, L.K., Castán Broto, V. and Huang, P., 2019. Revisiting multi-level governance theory: Politics and innovation in the urban climate transition in Rizhao, China. Political Geography, 70, pp.14-23.

Huang, P. and Lema, R., 2019. Green Innovation in China, In Xiaolan Fu, Jin Chen and Bruce McKern (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of China Innovation. Oxford University Press, forthcoming. 

Huang, P. and Castán Broto, V., 2017. Urban energy transitions: spatial organization, political contestations, and urban governance, In Kirby Calvert and Barry Solomon (Eds.), Handbook on the Geographies of Energy. Edward Elgar, pp. 380-392.

Mazzucato, M., Semeniuk, G., Geddes, A., Huang, P., Polzin, F., Gallagher, K.S., Shakya, C., Steffen, B. and Tribukait, H., 2018. Bridging the gap: The role of innovation policy and market creation, In Emissions Gap Report 2018, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)., pp. 52-59.