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Lina Brand Correa

Lina Brand Correa

Assistant Professor

Business and Environment Diploma Coordinator


PhD in Earth and Environment, University of Leeds
MSc in Ecological Economics (distinction), University of Edinburgh
BA in Economics, National University of Colombia, Medellín Campus

Research Keywords

Ecological Economics; Degrowth; Energy Poverty; Wellbeing; Demand and Consumption; Participation and Democracy; EROI (Energy Return on energy Invested).

Graduate Supervision

I supervise students in the graduate program in Environmental Studies.

Contact Information

416 736 2100

Research Interests

My research uses an ecological economics lens and focuses primarily on energy and wellbeing issues, and their intersection. I am interested in exploring topics all along the “energy chain”, from “EROI” or energy return on (energy) investment on the energy supply side, to “energy poverty” on the energy demand side, and many other topics in between.

I am a proponent of energy transformations (rather than simply reforms or transitions), given the dangers of the rebound effect (whereby advances in energy efficiency result in greater energy use due to reductions in cost, such that any possible energy savings are undone before they are realized), the necessity for reductions in overall levels of energy use (particularly in the Global North), and the injustices embedded in an extremely unequal energy landscape.

I find the dual nature of energy (as key for societal development but also as the main source of greenhouse gases and thus climate change) especially fascinating and challenging to deal with from an economic, political and social perspective. And I find the potential for political economy and wellbeing frameworks to unlock alternative routes to decoupling (beyond technological fixes and efficiency improvements) particularly promising. Such frameworks involve considering what energy demand is for and critically analysing the social-technical systems that influence our relationship with energy. They also involve questioning how and why we consume the things we do, including energy, and to reconsider whether our current way of doing things enables or hinders or wellbeing. We have an immediate need for perspective shifts, not just in the realm of technology, but in the social, economic and political spheres as well.

Research Projects

Vertical Peripheries: Planning and citizenship in Colombia's commodified periurban housing towers

Role: Co-PI

Principal Investigator: Dr. Luisa Sotomayor

Collaborators: Dr. Adriana Hurtado-Tarazona; Dr. Friederike Fleischer (Universidad de Los Andes, Bogota)

Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Insight Grant

Duration: May 2022-May 2025


Over the past decade, the private construction of government-sponsored low-cost housing in the form of mass-produced apartment towers at the urban fringes of Colombian cities has deeply transformed the country’s periurban landscapes. This project examines the effects and implications of Colombia’s national privatized social housing policy on peripheral urbanization processes in three cities (Bogota, Barranquilla and Medellin) with a view to governance and municipal planning, as well as residents’ possibilities for agency and citizenship, and their socioeconomic well-being. Specifically, we aim to understand how commodified social housing affects peripheral urbanization, urban planning processes, and ultimately, residents' everyday lives.

ESLatinA – Energy Solidarity in Latin America: generating inclusive knowledge and governance to address energy vulnerability and energy systems resilience

Role: Collaborator

Principal Investigator: Harriet Thomson

Start date: April 2020 (I started working on the project in June 2021)

End date: September 2023

Summary: ESLatinA responds to the urgent need for comprehensive and inclusive understanding, evidence and governance capacity on energy vulnerability in Latin America, with an in-depth focus on Colombia, Cuba and Mexico. Energy vulnerability occurs when households cannot access vital domestic energy services – such as heating, cooling, and powering appliances – because of systemic problems such as unreliable or poor quality infrastructure; gendered differences in energy access and use; high energy prices; social isolation; and intensifying climatic changes. ESLatinA will combine the concepts of energy vulnerability and energy systems resilience to generate inclusive and transformative understanding, evidence and governance - creating the potential to change the way we look at energy policy, not just in Latin America but worldwide. The project includes bespoke local and national-level household surveys, participatory workshops, and proposals for new governance and legal frameworks. The project will also establish national monitoring Observatories and a pan-Latin American network, and undertake national-scale energy systems vulnerability mapping and local-level assessment modelling.


PCAN Fellowship - The Green Path to Recovery: Towards a Participatory and Place-Based Economy

Role: Principal Investigator / Fellow

Start date: October 2020

End date: August 2021


Summary: This PCAN Fellowship will work towards embedding participation and deliberation in the day-to-day decision-making of local authorities. It will do so by exploring different participatory methods that have been used successfully in the UK and elsewhere. This project will further PCAN’s goal of embedding climate action in localities and building broader capacity for transformative change, recognising that the latter comes from continued engagement and dialogue.

LiLi – Living Well Within Limits

Role: Research Fellow

Principal investigator: Julia Steinberger

Start date: December 2016 (I started working on the project in March 2018)

End date: December 2021 (I finished working on the project in May 2021)


Summary: LiLi addresses crucial but understudied questions:  What are the biophysical resources, more specifically energy, required to achieve human well-being? What influence do social and technical provisioning systems have on the levels of resource use associated with well-being? If remaining within planetary boundaries requires rapid decreases in resource & energy use, how could these scarce resources best be employed to enhance and preserve well-being?

The principal motivation for this project is the lack of coherent approaches, combining environmental, engineering, economic and social sciences, which would allow comprehensive answers to these questions. An enormous body of scholarship exists connecting economic activity to energy and material use, whereas very little research has been carried out on the biophysical requirements of the well-being of the humans within those economies.

The LiLi project’s ambitious aim is to construct the conceptual and methodological framework upon which this type of research can be carried forward, and to apply it using both quantitative and qualitative methods to analyse and model the energy requirements of well-being.  LiLi’s focus is relevant to recent high level comprehensive policy goals, such as the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the EU’s 7th Environmental Action Programme.

Research Output

Brand-Correa, L.I. (2024). “Demand-side, socio-cultural and systemic solutions: the contributions of Max-Neef’s work for climate change and sustainability”, in Beyond Ecological Economics and Development: Critical Reflections on the Thought of Manfred Max-Neef, Eds Luis Valenzuela, María del Valle Barrera. Routledge.

Brand-Correa, L.I. (2023). Energía y bienestar: una breve historia desde la perspectiva de los límites medioambientales. Arbor, 199(807), a688.

Baltruszewicz, M., Steinberger, J.K., Paavola, J., Ivanova, D., Brand-Correa, L.I., Owen, A. (2023). Social outcomes of energy use in the United Kingdom: Household energy footprints and their links to well-being. Ecological Economics, 205: 107686.

Huxley, R., Walsh, B., Oke, C., Bellinson, R., Bulkely, H., Vieira Ceneviva, L.L., Brand-Correa, L.I., Cox, S., Giles-Corti , B., Gali, G., Gouldson, A., Karuri-Sebina, G., Mazzucato, M., Miller, D., Revi, A., Rode, P., Rosenzweig, C., Singh, C., Sitcov, I., Solecki, W., Trebeck, K., Victor, P.A., Zarrilli, D. (2022). A Research Agenda for Transformative Urban Climate Action. Journal of City Climate Policy and Economy, 1(1), 13-31.

Brand-Correa, L. I., & Steinberger, J. K. (2022). Max-Neef and sustainability: theoretical, methodological and empirical contributions. International Journal of Sustainable Development, 25(1/2), 114.

Brand-Correa, L.I., Brook, A., Büchs, M., Meier, P., Naik, Y., & O’Neill, D. W. (2022). Economics for people and planet—moving beyond the neoclassical paradigm. The Lancet Planetary Health, 6(4), e371–e379.

Thomson, H., Day, R., Ricalde, K., Brand-Correa, L. I., Cedano, K., Martinez, M., Santillán, O., Delgado Triana, Y., Luis Cordova, J. G., Milian Gómez, J. F., Garcia Torres, D., Mercado, C., Castelao Caruana, M. E., & Pereira, M. G. (2022). Understanding, recognizing, and sharing energy poverty knowledge and gaps in Latin America and the Caribbean – because conocer es resolver. Energy Research and Social Science, 87.

Brand-Correa, L.I. (2022). “Colombia”, in A Triple Bottom Line Analysis of Global Consumption
Economic, Environmental, and Social Effects of Pre-Pandemic World Trade 1990–2015
, Eds Joy Murray, Anne Owen, Moana Simas, Arunima Malik. Jenny Stanford Publishing.

Wells, R., Howarth, C., & Brand-Correa, L.I. (2021). Are citizen juries and assemblies on climate change driving democratic climate policymaking? An exploration of two case studies in the UK. Climatic Change 2021 168:1, 168(1), 1–22.

Fuchs, D., Steinberger, J., Pirgmaier, E., Lamb, W., Brand-Correa, L.I., Mattioli, G., & Cullen, J. (2021). A corridors and power-oriented perspective on energy-service demand and needs satisfaction. Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, 17(1), 163–173.

Baltruszewicz, M., Steinberger, J.K., Owen, A., Brand-Correa, L.I., Paavola, J. (2021) Final energy footprints in Zambia: Investigating links between household consumption, collective provision, and well-being. Energy Research and Social Science, 73: 101960.

Baltruszewicz, M., Steinberger, J.K., Ivanova, D., Brand-Correa, L.I., Paavola, J., Owen, A. (2021) Household final energy footprints in Nepal, Vietnam and Zambia: composition, inequality and links to well-being. Environmental Research Letters, 16(2): 025011.

Brand-Correa, L.I., Mattioli, G., Lamb, W.F., Steinberger, J.K. (2020) Understanding (and tackling) need satisfier escalation. Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, 16(1): 309-325.

Lamb, W.F, Antal, M., Bohnenberger, K., Brand-Correa, L.I., Müller-Hansen, F., Jakob, M., Minx, J.C., Raiser, K., Williams, L., & Sovacool, B.K. (2020) What are the social outcomes of climate policies? A systematic map and review of the ex-post literature. Environmental Research Letters, 15: 1-31.

Caperon, L., Brand-Correa, L.I. (2020) Sustainable electricity for sustainable health? A case study in North-western Zambia. Journal of Energy in Southern Africa, 31(4): 72-82.

Whiting, K., Carmona, L. G., Brand-Correa, L.I., & Simpson, E. (2020) Illumination as a material service: A comparison between Ancient Rome and early 19th century London. Ecological Economics, 169: 1–13.

Brockway, P.E., Owen, A., Brand-Correa, L.I., & Hardt, L. (2019) Estimation of global final-stage energy-return-on-investment for fossil fuels with comparison to renewable energy sources. Nature Energy, 4(July): 612–621.

Brand-Correa, L.I., Martin-Ortega, J., & Steinberger, J.K. (2018) Untangling the ‘golden thread’ of energy and human well-being: a community-level participatory approach. Energy Research and Social Science, 38: 178-187.   

Brand-Correa, L.I., Steinberger, J.K. (2017) A framework for decoupling human need satisfaction from energy use. Ecological Economics, 141: 43-52.  

Brand-Correa, L.I., Brockway, P.E., Carter, C., Foxon, T.J., Owen, A., & Taylor, P. (2017). Developing an Input-Output based method to estimate a national-level energy return on investment (EROI). Energies, 10(4): 534.  

Owen, A., Brockway, P.E., Brand-Correa, L.I., Bunse, L., Sakai, M., & Barrett, J. (2017) Energy consumption-based accounts: A comparison of results using different energy extension vectors. Applied Energy, 190: 464-473.

Commentary article: “Participation and Change: Lessons from the Future”. PCAN Commentary Series (March 2021).

Commentary article: “Coronavirus shows why we need an economy designed for wellbeing”. Climate Home News (May 2020).

Recognition and Awards

3rd Place – University of Leeds Postgraduate Researcher of the Year (1st Place for the Faculty of Environment) (2017)


Course CodeTitle
ENVS 3511Ecological Economics
ENVS 6182Environmental Analytics: Data, Models and Methods
ENVS 6121Community Energy Planning
ENVS 2510Environmental Economics