Felipe De Alba

senior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2011/2012
discipline Political Science
Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge

Research project

Governing Natural Resources in a Context of Climate Change: Survival or Adaptation in the Face of Water Stress


In the last few decades, Latin America has undergone major transformations affecting social, political and economic life. Firstly, with new technologies, globalisation brings about changes in “ways of doing.” These technological innovations produce marked stratifications between those who do not have access and those who ripe all the benefits (Bouguerra 2005; Li and Reveuny 2003). In the Global South, globalisation is often characterised by neoliberal programs such as privatisation or competitive performance criteria (Easterly and Servén 2003). In most cases, these transformations take place without evaluating their environmental consequences (Crabtree 2005). This is certainly the case in Mexico.


Secondly, metropolitanisation in the South has facilitated economic modernisation and the standardisation of urban planning criteria, yet it has also produced uncontrolled development on urban fringes (Davis 1994; Pastor, Benner and Matsuoka 2009) and an exponential increase in social conflicts related to poverty, on issues such as delinquency, informal work, the devastation of biodiversity and the deterioration of public health (Bodemer 2003; Dourojeanni and Jouravlev 2002; Iracheta 2002). Without control, metropolitanisation in the Global South brings a demand for public services outside of all rational criteria, while splintering the balance between ecosystems and the use of natural resources (De Alba 2008, 2009).


In Latin America, this spiral linking uncontrolled growth of urban fringes (Sao Paulo, Mexico) with an increase in poverty and a deterioration of public health (Lima, Buenos Aires) severely affects the availability of natural resources and their sustainability. In Mexico City, climate changes take the form of droughts, flooding, depletion of groundwater, land overexploitation and urban sprawl, and landslides (Iracheta 2002). These issues are at the top of political agendas nationally and regionally.


This is at once provocative and challenging for social scientists. My objective in this context is to analyse social and political tensions resulting from climate change and the use of natural resources in the Global South. What are the causes and consequences of these tensions? What solutions are proposed by governments and societies? The study will be centred on the political instruments developed to attenuate the consequences of environmental disasters, such as what is currently occurring in Mexico City.



Felipe De Alba was Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge. He holds a PhD in Urban Studies from the University of Montréal and a Master in Political Sciences from the National University of Mexico.

Selected publications


'Epistemología del tiempo político en las movilizaciones de la APPO en Oaxaca, Mexico', with B. Mendoza, Ciudades, Mexico, no. 84, January-March 2010, pp.19-26. 


'Mobilisations sociales et nouveaux clientélismes: les luttes pour l’eau à Mexico', in F. Lesemann and J. F. Côté (eds), La construction des Amériques aujourd’hui. Regards croisés transnationaux et transdisciplinaires, Presses de l’université du Québec, 2009, pp. 239-265.


'Le marché du travail, la sécurité sociale et les jeunes scolarisés à Mexico', with S. Villarelo and L. Nava, in M. Gauthier and C. Laflamme (eds), Regard sur… Jeunes et Dynamiques territoriales. Ancrage de l’identité et lieux de participation, no. 6, vol. 2, Presses de l’université de Laval, 2009, pp.81-96.


senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2013/2014
Collegium de Lyon
discipline Political Science
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2018/2019
Collegium de Lyon
discipline Art History
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2016/2017
Collegium de Lyon
discipline Philosophy
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2011/2012
Collegium de Lyon
discipline Communication