Dr Jonathan Silver

Leverhulme ECR Fellow

About Jon

Jon is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow undertaking a project on ‘Postcolonial urbanisms and a comparative theory of infrastructure’. He joined the Urban Institute in November 2016 having gained his doctorate from the Department of Geography, Durham University following degrees from University of Leeds (BA Hons) and University of Manchester (MA). Prior to his appointment he had worked on a number of research projects at the London School of Economics and Durham University.

Research interests

As an urban geographer his research agenda is concentrated on developing new ideas and vocabularies to comparatively think about cities, politics, ecology and infrastructure.

First, thinking about the geographies of everyday urbanisms across popular neighbourhoods in global Norths and Souths around issues of survival, social infrastructure and the lived experience of various forms of urban service provision such as energy waste and sanitation.

Second, in examining the political ecologies of urban transformation including the relations across climate change and cities, the geo-political restructuring of infrastructure space in world ecology and the socio-environmental injustices of urbanisation.

Third, in considering the urban politics of infrastructure in relation to race and capitalism, new collective imaginaries of service provision and forms of urban theory.


Lawhon, M., Nilsson, D., Silver, J., Ernstson, H., & Lwasa, S. (2017). Thinking through  heterogeneous infrastructure configurations. Urban Studies, 0042098017720149

Silver, J. (2017). The climate crisis, carbon capital and urbanisation: An urban political ecology of low- carbon restructuring in Mbale. Environment and Planning A, 0308518X17700393.

McFarlane, C., & Silver, J. (2017). Navigating the city: dialectics of everyday urbanism. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. DOI: 10.1111/tran.12175

McFarlane, C., Silver, J., & Truelove, Y (2016) Cities within cities: intra-urban comparison of infrastructure in Mumbai, Delhi and Cape Town. Urban Geography. DOI 10.1080/02723638.2016.1243386

Silver, J., & Marvin, S. (2016). Powering sub-Saharan Africa’s urban revolution: An energy transitions approach. Urban Studies, DOI 0042098016668105.

McFarlane, C., & Silver, J. (2016). The Poolitical City:“Seeing Sanitation” and Making the Urban Political in Cape Town. Antipode. DOI: 10.1111/anti.12264

Lawhon, M., Silver, J., Ernstson, H., & Pierce, J. (2016). Unlearning (Un) Located Ideas in the Provincialization of Urban Theory. Regional Studies, 50 (9), 1-12.

Silver, J. (2015). Disrupted Infrastructures: An Urban Political Ecology of Interrupted Electricity in Accra. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 39(5), 984-1003.

Zeiderman, A., Kaker, S. A., Silver, J., & Wood, A. (2015). Uncertainty and urban life. Public Culture, 27(2 76), 281-304.

Silver, J. (2015). The potentials of carbon markets for infrastructure investment in sub-Saharan urban Africa. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 13, 25-31.

Silver, J. (2014). Incremental infrastructures: Material improvisation and social collaboration across post-colonial Accra. Urban Geography, 35(6), 788-804.

Lawhon, M., Ernstson, H., & Silver, J. (2014). Provincializing urban political ecology: Towards a situated UPE through African urbanism. Antipode, 46(2), 497-516.

Bulkeley, H., Luque-Ayala, A., & Silver, J. (2014). Housing and the (re) configuration of energy provision in Cape Town and São Paulo: Making space for a progressive urban climate politics?. Political Geography, 40, 25-34.

Silver, J., McEwan, C., Petrella, L., & Baguian, H. (2013). Climate change, urban vulnerability and development in Saint-Louis and Bobo-Dioulasso: learning from across two West African cities. Local Environment, 18(6), 663-677.

Luque-Ayala, A., & Silver, J. (Eds.). (2016). Energy, Power and Protest on the Urban Grid: Geographies of the Electric City. Routledge. London

Silver, J, Bulkeley, H & Tuts, R (2013) Urban Vulnerability, Adaptation and Resilience: Lessons and new directions from the UN-Habitat Cities and Climate Change Initiative. Local Environment Special 8 (6)

Silver, J (Forthcoming) The energy geographies of incremental infrastructures in Ga Mashie, Accra     in Bouzarovski, S et al (eds) The Energy Companion. Routledge. London

Silver, J., and Marvin, S. (forthcoming) Examining urban Africa’s low-carbon pathways: An energy transitions approach in Bulkeley et al (eds) Rethinking Urban Low Carbon Transitions. Routledge. London

Luque-Ayala A., & Silver, J (2016) Urban politics on the grid: An introduction to (2016). Energy, Power and Protest on the Urban Grid: Geographies of the Electric City. Routledge. London

Silver, J. and Marvin, S. (2016) Landscapes of experimentation: A global typology of urban laboratories in Evans, J, Karvonen, A and Raven, R (eds) The Experimental City. Routledge. London

Silver, J. (2014) Financing climate change experiments across Cape Town’s housing infrastructure. in Bulkeley, H. Castan-Broto, V and Edwards, G (2014) Climate Experiment Cities: an urban politics of  socio-technical transition. Zed Books. London

Silver, J. (2013) Locating urban retrofitting across (democratic) BRICS cities: Exploring the political economy of retrofit landscapes in Sao Paulo, Mumbai and Cape Town in Dixon, T., Eames, M., Hunt, M., & Lannon,S. (Eds.). (2014). Urban Retrofitting for Sustainability: Mapping the Transition to 2050. Routledge. London