Profile of Mr Dexter Du University of Reading

Dexter Du

Dexter graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in Urban Planning from Peking University, from which he also gained a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in the meantime. He then obtained a Research Master of Science in Regional Studies from the University of Groningen. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Reading, with his primary research interest in the field of urban governance and its linkage to land, property and real estate.

General research interests

Dexter is conducting his PhD research at the University of Reading, UK. Dexter builds his PhD research on the academic literature about urban innovation and land governance, where he thinks critical niches are needed for further socio-technical energy transition. With the background in planning and geography, Dexter is keen on understanding the subtle role of land in urban transition process, which also benefits from his interdisciplinary reading including studies in politics and social psychology. Through investigating empirical cases in the UK, Dexter’s thesis aims at contributing to the academic reflection on the currently so-promised sustainable transition towards low-carbon future.

PhD/Postdoctoral Research Title

Interrogating urban innovation with the perspective of land: how land ownership matters for adopting solar PV in urban centres

PhD Abstract

Urban innovation requires attention to not only technology but also social relations. Suitable social relations play a key role in the uptake of new or existing technologies. As an example, general solar PV uptake has been significantly enhanced by Feed-in Tariff that encouraged relevant social relations among government, households, energy trusts and companies in the UK. Currently, adopting solar energy in dense urban centres seems encountering important barriers as social relations in the urban setting differ from the household-dominant setting of suburban and rural settings. Land ownership and property right raise multiple stakeholders’ interest in retrofit with solar energy. However, complex social relations concerning urban land also complicate the progress of such sustainable retrofit. Further understanding is needed on how land ownership may underpin the social relations capable of integrating more solar energy in cities.