Yuan Peng

PhD Scholar
Fenner School of Environment & Society
Grand Challenge Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific

Yuan Peng is a PhD Candidate at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA). Her PhD research focuses on urban sustainability experimentation and transition, supervised by Prof Xuemei Bai (ANU), Prof Frank Jotzo (ANU), and Dr. Tim Baynes (CSIRO)

Yuan Peng has a MA degree in urban ecology from East China Normal University (ECNU) with a research project regarding the ecological benefits of near‐nature forests. She also has a BS degree in Environmental Science. From 2008‐2013, she worked as a policy consultant at a think‐tank institute in Shanghai, participating in several policy-consulting projects related to urban economics, energy management, and low-carbon development. From 2013 to 2014, she worked as a Business Development at Cities Centre of Competence Asia, Siemens. Her role involved the analytical works of strategic development of cities to identify the business opportunities for Siemens low‐carbon solutions.

Yuan Peng has over 17-years' experience in the domain of urban environment and climate governance, with multiple experiences across academia, government, and industry. Her interested research areas include cities and climate change, urban environmental management, urban sustainability transition, regional development and environmental/climate policies in China.

Research interests

  • Environmental Science And Management
  • Urban Analysis And Development
  • Regional Analysis And Development

Yuan Peng is interested in the research domains of sustainability experiments and transition in cities, energy governance and climate governance, especially the pathways and internal mechanisms of urban low-carbon transition in Asian cities.

Her research project is:

Experimentation and Transition Towards Low-carbon Cities in China.

Cities play a crucial role in climate mitigation not only because of their substantial contribution to the total amount of global carbon emission but also due to their active role in inventing and testing low carbon solutions. Yuan Peng’s PhD research focuses cities’ urban low-carbon transition from the perspective of sustainability experiments and transition, taking Shanghai as the case study city. In system innovation and sustainability transition literature, the experiments are considered to be a fertile ground for building actor-network, stimulating learning processes, and developing innovative practices into a stable social-technical configuration. In this regard, the sustainability experiments play a role as a transition seed to bring any possible changes to the urban system.

This research explores two questions: How sustainability experiments are initiated, enabled and implemented in a city level? How may the sustainability experiments contribute to the sustainability transition theoretically and empirically? The city’s governance structure for low-carbon policy innovation is investigated in the Shanghai case for the first question. Then, the diffusion and contextualization of innovation after the sustainability experiment across diverse contexts are examined to understand the up-scaling process for transition. This research may further the understanding of the internal mechanisms of urban low-carbon development, and also may contribute to the sustainability transition literature by the empirical and theoretical analysis of the Shanghai case.