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Dr Oleg Golubchikov

Dr Oleg Golubchikov

Reader in Human Geography

School of Geography and Planning

+44 (0)29 2087 9310
Room 1.54, Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA
Available for postgraduate supervision


Dr Oleg Golubchikov is Reader in Human Geography, with interests in urban geography and the interdisciplinary fields of energy and sustainability studies. He has published widely on these subjects, focusing in particular on the politics of urban and regional development, the policy and practice of sustainable urbanism, as well as on a spatial critique of energy transitions. He has long-standing research interests in the relationships between urban, housing, social and political transformations under market transition. He also studies the governance of innovation with regard to smart cities, climate-neutral cities, and sustainable urban development. His research informs international policies; he has advised the United Nations and other international organisations on aspects of smart sustainable cities and sustainable housing.

Dr Golubchikov is Leader of Energy Research Cluster.



  • DPhil in Human Geography, University of Oxford
  • MSc in Land Management, Royal Institute of Technology
  • Master's Degree in Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • PGCert in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Birmingham


  • Reader in Human Geography, School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University (2018-)
  • Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University (2013-2018)
  • Lecturer in Urban Resilience, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham (2010-2013)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford (2009-2010)
  • Researcher, Bartlett School of Planning, University College London (2008-2009)

Fellowships, Visiting and Honourable Positions

  • Visiting Associate Professor, Higher School of Economics, Moscow (since 2014)
  • Tyndall Faculty, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research (since 2014)
  • Leibniz Fellow, Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Leipzig (2013-2016)
  • Visiting Scholar, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Research of China, China Academy of Science, Beijing (2014)
  • Senior Visiting Research Associate, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford (2007-2014)
  • Visiting Scholar, United Nations University - World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), Helsinki (2008)
  • Visiting Research Fellow, School of Urban Studies, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden (2003-2005)

External Activities

  • Member of the ESRC Peer Review College (Economic and Social Research Council), since 2010
  • Consultant and Advisor to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), since 2008
  • Consultant to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), since 2011
  • Founding Member of the UN-HABITAT Global Network for Sustainable Housing, 2011
  • Reviewer of Research Councils' Grants: UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Hong Kong Research Grant Council
  • Peer Reviewer for journals and books (selection): Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers * International Journal of Urban and Regional Research * Environment and Planning A * Environment and Planning B * Environment and Planning C * Geoforum * Urban Studies * Geografiska Annaler B * International Planning Studies * European Urban and Regional Studies * Urban Affairs Review * International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development * Urban Research and Practice * Regional Science, Policy and Practice * Energy Policy * Energy Procedia * Sustainability * Geopolitics * Europe-Asia Studies * East European Politics * Nationalities Papers * REGION: Regional Studies of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia * Slovo * Moravian Geographical Reports * Geografie-Sborník ČGS * City & Community * Routledge/Earthscan publisher

Consulting Experience

Dr Golubchikov has many years of consulting experience, advising the United Nations and other international organisations and corporations on aspects of urban and regional development, sustainable cities and housing, and energy policies. He has been Consultant and Advisor to the Secretariat of United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), one of the five UN regional commissions, on its programmes on climate-neutral cities and energy efficient housing. He has also consulted UN-HABITAT on sustainable housing and sustainable cities

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy
  • Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)
  • Member of the Association of American Geographers


















Current teaching

  • Director of Urban and Regional Development MSc programme
  • Urban and Regional Development in Practice, MSc (module leader)
  • Planning City Futures, MSc (contributor)
  • Post-Carbon Worlds: Energy Geographies, Year 2 (module leader)

Previous teaching

  • Human Geography in Practice, Year 3 (contributor)
  • Professional Development, MSc (module leader)
  • Space and Place: International Planning Practice, MSc (contributor)
  • The Big Questions in Human Geography, Year 1 (contributor)
  • Planning, Markets and Land, Year 2 (module leader)
  • Economic Change and Spatial Policy, Year 3 (module leader)
  • Environmental Management, MSc (contributor)
  • Economic Principles for Urban and Regional Studies, Year 1 (contributor)
  • Spaces of Production: Economic Geography, Year 2 (contributor)

Research Interests

  • Urban geography
  • Urban entrepreneurialism
  • Spatial justice and uneven development
  • Variegated capitalism and neoliberalism
  • Urban vulnerabilities and resilience
  • Low-carbon and climate-neutral policies
  • Politics and equity in energy transitions
  • Innovation, smart cities

My research has developed as two main research programmes, which inform my theoretical and empirical perspectives: (a) urban and spatial restructurings under market transition, and (b) the geo-eco-politics of the city.

The first research programme has focused on urban change in the context of market transition, which changes the structure of society and is associated with rapid social, economic and political restructuring, major uncertainties and turbulence. I investigate the relationships between geo-institutional regimes, legacies, and innovations in the production of uneven spatialities at different scales. I also study the conditions of urban living and socio-spatial inequalities within cities, including social conflict and coping with the pressures of exclusion, gentrification, and displacement. This strand of research advances the understanding of the evolution, variegated forms, hybridity, and contradictions of capitalism in its long-ranging influences on the production of urban space and urbanisation. The research has also resulted in theoretical and empirical insights on world-city-entrepreneurialism, the governance of city-region and post-suburbia, the spatial politics of mega-events, creative spaces, as well as urban resilience in the context of transitional challenges.

The second research programme involves transnational perspectives on sustainable cities, focusing especially on the interface between housing policies and the new low-carbon energy modalities. While exploring new governance regimes for energy efficient housing and climate-neutral cities, I am also interested in social and political implications emerging from the establishment of this new paradigm for cities, as well as in the underlying structural factors of power relations, inequality, exclusion and inclusion. The work advocates considering the broader aspects of sustainability and social justice in governing energy transitions. This research has a strong knowledge transfer element as regards the international policy debates on energy-efficient and low-carbon urban environments. Some of the outcomes from this work, such as the UN-HABITAT policy framework on sustainable housing or the UNECE Action Plan for Energy Efficient Housing, substantiate the work of the United Nations and inform governments and other stakeholders across the world.

Funded Research Projects:

  • 2014-2015: Exploring the nexus between energy transitions, post-socialist transformations, and entrepreneurial urban governance in China, Visiting Fellowship, Cardiff University's International Collaboration Fund - PI
  • 2013-2016: Urban reconfigurations in post-Soviet space (ira.urban), Leibniz Association - Co-I (with Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography)
  • 2011-2014: Change on the edge: the contentious transformations of post-Soviet metropolitan periphery, British Academy - PI
  • 2011-2013: Policy guide to sustainable housing, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) -PI
  • 2011-2013: Coping with marginality and exclusion: can refugees communities successfully integrate into mainstream urban societies in Georgia?,Academic Swiss Caucasus Net (ASCN) - International Mentor for a research team at Tbilisi State University
  • 2011-2012: Low-carbon and resilient cities, Birmingham Centre for Resilience Research and Education - PI
  • 2011: Internationalising higher education: urban development in Russia, British Council Internationalizing Higher Education Grant - co-PI
  • 2010-2011: Persistent resilience: communities coping with marginality, cooperation grant on the theme of resilience, University of Birmingham - co-PI
  • 2009-2010: New economy, old geography: rethinking the economic fortunes of Russian cities under market transition, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), PTA-026-27-1997-PI
  • 2010: Climate neutral cities: preparing the UNECE cities to the new challenges, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) - PI
  • 2009: Action Plan on Energy-Efficient Housing in the UNECE Region, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) -PI
  • 2009: A background study on energy-efficient housing in the UNECE region, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) -PI
  • 2008: Path dependence and economic development of Russian cities, Fellowship of the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (UNU-WIDER)


Suitable candidates for a PhD project are welcome to approach me and discuss their ideas. I am interested in supervising PhD students in the broad areas of my research interests, including, for example, on:

  • Urban geography
  • State geographies
  • Post-socialist transitions
  • Urban entrepreneurialism
  • Smart cities
  • Energy transitions

Current supervision

Ilsur Suleymanov

Ilsur Suleymanov

Research student

Shuye Wang

Shuye Wang

Research student

Linhao Chen

Linhao Chen

Research student

Past projects

  • Kate O’Sullivan, Uneven Geographies of Low-Carbon Transition: Exploring Energy Vulnerabilities in Peripheral Communities
  • Pawel Pustelnik, European Struggles and American Resistance: Inclusion of Aviation into the EU ETS