Sandra Valencia

PhD in Sustainability Science



PhD Research

Sandra completed her PhD in Sustainability Science in June 2016. Her thesis titled “Caught Between Spaces: Socio-Environmental Vulnerability in Formal and Informal Peri-Urban Bogotá and Soacha, Colombia” focuses on the vulnerability and wellbeing of peri-urban dwellers, those who live where the city meets the countryside, in Bogotá and Soacha, Colombia. The thesis shows that peri-urbanization influences the wellbeing and vulnerability of peri-urban dwellers who are caught between urban and rural areas, informality and formality, conflict and collaboration, recognition and marginalization.
Her thesis investigates the following questions through the eyes of peri-urban dwellers:
– How do inhabitants of traditionally rural areas experience the growth of the city into their territory?
– How do people who have recently settled at the peri-urban interface experience and contribute to the social and environmental changes that come about through urbanization?
– What are the social and environmental changes that take place as the city encroaches on the countryside?

The full thesis can be found at:


Sandra holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Kennesaw State University (formerly Southern Polytechnic State University) in the USA and a Master’s degree in Development Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Prior to her PhD Sandra worked for past four years on vulnerability and climate change adaptation projects in the Latin American and Caribbean region at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, DC. Before the IDB, Sandra worked at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as a research scientist for the Micro-pulse Lidar Network (MPLNET) project, which consists of the collection and analysis of atmospheric data used to understand the effects of human activities and natural phenomena in the changes of the planet’s environment.

Research Interests

Sandra’s main research interests include vulnerability, climate change adaptation, socio-environmental change, global environmental change, the dynamics between environment and development, water resources management, peri-urban areas, and urban planning, particularly in developing countries. Sandra is also interested in the relation between post-conflict (peace processes) and environmental change.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Email
  • RSS

Comments are closed.