Grad Students

Emma Colven

Contact Information

Email    emmacolven [at] ucla [dot] edu
Office  Not Available
As an urban geographer and political ecologist,
my research explores themes of socio-ecological change, environmental expertise, and urban water politics. Drawing on postcolonial urban studies, my research is motivated by the goal of producing deeper understandings of urban political ecologies from a Southern perspective.
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Fields of Study

postcolonial urban theory; urban political ecology; southern urbanisms; environmental adaptation to environmental threats; urban flooding; urban water politics


Dr Helga Leitner and Dr Eric Sheppard (co-chairs)
Dr Judith Carney (committee)
Dr Ursula Heise (committee)


2017  UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship
2017 UCLA Department of Geography Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award
2015 International Institute Fieldwork Fellowship
2015 Graduate Summer Research Mentorship (with Professor Helga Leitner)
2015 UCLA Canadian Studies Student Travel Grant
2014 UCLA Geography Department Helin Research Travel Grant
2014 Urban Humanities Initiative and the Andrew W. Mellow Foundation Student Research Grant
2014 Best Thesis Award, King's College London
2013 Royal Geographical Society-IBG Urban Geography Research Group Undergraduate National Dissertation Prize
2012 Fawcett Prize for the best human geography dissertation, University College London
2012 Hugh Prince Prize for the best human geography final year student, University College London


M.A. Cities with Distinction, King's College London 2013 
B.A. (Hons) Geography, University College London 2012


Peer Reviewed

Leitner, H., Sheppard, E., Webber, S., & Colven, E. (2018). Globalizing urban resilience. Urban Geography, 1-9.

Colven, E. 2017. “Understanding the Allure of Big Infrastructure: Jakarta’s Great Garuda Sea Wall Project.” Water Alternatives 10(2) 250 – 264

Book Chapters
Leitner, H., Colven, E. and E. Sheppard. 2017. “Ecological Security for Whom? The Politics of Flood Alleviation and Urban Environmental Justice in Jakarta, Indonesia” in Ursula K. Heise, Jon Christensen and Michelle Niemann (eds.) The Routledge Companion for the Environmental Humanities. 194 – 205. Routledge: New York.

Other Publications

Colven, E. “The politics of flood mitigation in Jakarta” Situated UPE Collective Blog. Online.


2017 “Planning for Environmental Justice: the politics of flooding in Jakarta”. Public lecture in the Department of Urban Planning and Real Estate, Universitas Tarumanagara. Invited. September 05. Jakarta, Indonesia.
“The Mobilities and (Re)Constitution of Dutch Engineering Expertise in Jakarta: Planning the Great Garuda Sea Wall Project”. Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. April 5 – 9. Boston, USA.
2017 “The Contested Landscape of Flood Mitigation in Jakarta.” Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference. Lexington, Kentucky. February 23 – 25.
2016 "Understanding the Allure of Big Infrastructure: Jakarta’s Great Garuda Sea Wall Project”. Annual Meeting of the Pacific Coast Geographers Association. October 5 – 8. Portland, USA.
2016 “Jakarta’s Great Garuda Sea Wall Project: Urban and Environmental Imaginaries and the Politics of Flood Mitigation Infrastructure”. Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. March 29 – April 2. San Francisco, USA.
2016 “The ‘Optimum Way’? Situating and Provincializing Dutch Engineering Expertise in Contemporary Jakarta”. Political Ecologies of Conflict, Capitalism and Contestation. Wageningen, the Netherlands. July 7 – 9.
2016 “The Techno-Politics of Adaptation Infrastructures: Planning Jakarta’s Great Garuda Sea Wall Project”. Going Global: Transnational Issues in Interdisciplinary Applications, UCLA International Institute. April 22. Los Angeles, USA.
2015 “Jakarta’s Great Garuda Sea Wall Project: Provincializing Narratives of Environmental Disaster and Threat”. Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. April 21 – 25. Chicago, USA.