Marcella Carby-Samuels

PhD Candidate



Current Research

My research is focused on how climate change can be addressed through various urban forms at the local level as part of a broader world system structural approach.  My doctoral research evaluates the effectiveness of differing approaches to ‘green’ urbanization modalities.  The aim of my research is to contribute to a better understanding of the global climate impact of different local ‘green’ urbanization modalities that have been built in the Global North, as well as to examine why particular ‘green’ urbanization modalities continue to gain footholds in public policy while others languish without similar success. The qualitative aspect of my research will examine examples in both Sweden and Denmark to determine how these urbanization modalities influence social practices and material realities of consumption locally and the production of materials globally as it relates to greenhouse gases which are driving runaway climate change.   I am also a Doctoral Researcher on two transition projects, namely the Degrowth Project based at the Pufendorf Institute, as well as on the Food Diversity Project Team funded by the Swedish Institute. Through the application of participatory leadership methods, I am working to ensure that my research generates immediately usable knowledge that both feeds into my project work while also generating knowledge products that helps to expand the capacity for local organizations to engage more fully in decision-making processes that impact their lives, while tackling the socio-cultural, political and natural dimensions of the climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies challenge in order to obtain a socio-ecologically just sustainability.  Using critical theory approach from the human ecology and political ecology traditions, I will address both the social and natural dimensions of sustainability as it relates to climate change by examining existing examples of ‘Green Utopianism’ and ‘Nowtopias’.

Some of the major themes in my interdisciplinary research are:

  • Climate change
  • Political ecology
  • Low carbon pathways
  • Intentional Communities
  • Permaculture, co-farming, urban gardening
  • Environmental sustainability and social justice
  • Eco-communities, transition towns, eco-villages, eco-cities
  • Food security, agroecology and non-industrial food systems
  • Green utopianism, Nowtopias and Commoning as social movements
  • Degrowth, transition initiatives, social solidarity economies and mutual aid
  • Democratic institutions, governance, participatory methods, techno-institutional lock-ins


I hold a Masters Degree in Human Ecology from Lund University along with a B.Sc. in Environmental Sciences and International Relations from the University of Toronto.  I also bring extensive experience as a project manager, systems analyst and professional communicator in both the public and private sectors, including experience working at international agencies such as UNEP and the UNFCCC.

Teaching and Supervision

I am teaching and supervising students for undergraduate and master courses in a variety of courses at Lund University. These include:

  • Nonindustrial livelihood systems /  Icke-industriella försörjningssätt’ (HEKA12 – currently)
  • ‘Methods in Human Ecology / Metoder i humanekologi’
    (HEKM22 – currently)


Kuklane, Kalev., Karin Lundgren, Chuansi Gao, Jakob Londahl, Elisabeth Dalholm Hornyanszky, Per-Olof Ostergren, Per Becker, Marcella C. Samuels, Pernille Gooch, Catharina Sternudd, Maria Albin, Tahir Taj, Ebba Malmqvist, Erik Swietlicki, Lennart Olsson, Kenneth Persson, Johanna Alkan Olsson, Tord Kjellstrom (2015) “Ebola: Improving the Design of Protective Clothing for Emergency Workers Allows Them to Better Cope with Heat Stress and Help to Contain the Epidemic,” Annals of Occupational Hygiene,  59 (2): 258-261. Available at: doi: 10.1093/annhyg/mev003

Carby-Samuels, Marcella. (2014) ‘Not for Sale – How home-grown Scandinavian social equity & ecological justice models take climate change imaginaries beyond market mechanisms.’ Social Sciences Master’s Thesis in Human Ecology. Lund, Sweden: Lund University. Available at:


Lundgren-Kownacki, K. and Carby-Samuels, M. 2015. (Re)imagining just societies under climate change: How hardships faced by brick kiln migrant labourers in India are worsened by increasing heat and suggestions for both technical and cultural solutions towards ecologically sustainable futures.  RE-DO Conference on sustainability and culture’s role in sustainable futures, Aarhus, October, 2015. Oral Presentation.

Carby-Samuels, M. 2014. Scandinavian Eco-cities: Urban experiments & new imaginaries from sustainability to climate change. IARU Sustainability Science Congress, October, 2014. Poster Presentation.

Other Project Activities

I have also been participating as a co-founder and participant within several projects. These include:

  • ‘Co-housing and sustainable urban development Project’, Collaboration between researchers based at Gothenburg University, Chalmers University, Lund University, The Institute for Housing and Research (IBF) at Uppsala University, KTH Stockholm, and ICTA – Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Project Website: – (currently)
  • Food Diversity Project: Food Resilience through Biodiversity in Local Places’, Sambruket i Sösdalabygden in partnership with the Resilient and Ecological Approaches for Living Sustainably (REALS) Project and funded by the Swedish Institute – (currently)
  • Degrowth Project’, Pufendorf Institute of Advanced Studies, Lund University, Project Website: – (currently)
  • HEAT – a Multidisciplinary Heat Research Collaboration at Lund University on how to adapt to and mitigate heat‘, Pufendorf Institute of Advanced Studies, Lund University, Project Website: – (past)


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