Our highlight this week: Santiago Perez

Sustainable Urban Systems


Santiago is a PhD candidate at Université de Technologie de Troyes. Born and raised in Colombia, where Santiago graduated in Anthropology and Environmental Engineering (also where he got his magical realism), Santiago has lived and worked in Canada, Luxembourg, Scotland, and he is now based in France. Santiago has a MSc on Sustainable Urban Management and is a beneficiary of the Horizons2020 ITN Cresting programme that allows him to do a PhD on (political) Industrial Ecology and its link to Circular Economy. Santiago is a fan of coffee, chocolate and good ideas towards more just and sustainable realities. Santiago also has a podcast! 

 Santiago’s main research/work interest areas:

  • Sustainability is a liquid concept, that is that, as much as liquids, it cannot preserve its form unless it is contained by external forces.  
  • Industrial Ecology is about generating industrial processes that respect the physical planetary boundaries while delivering the social and cultural benefits of industrialisation. 
  • Industrial Ecology is not the ultimate objective, it is a toolbox that we create to  deliver sustainability. 
  • To understand what territorial development is, we should pay more attention to the population in its relations than to the population in itself. 
  • Doing research is about remaining curious and enquiring about everything that surrounds us. 


Santiago’s favorite cities and why:

Edinburgh, Scotland, where in every corner you walk by, you can find the right mix of human history mixed with our crazy current modernity. 

Barichara, Colombia, one of the best preserved colonial towns in the country. Located in the middle of the Andes mountains, it allows you to breath the fresh air of tranquility while you explore their wonderful regional music and eat giant ants (hormigas culonas). 

Islay, Scotland, located in the inner Hebrides guards my world's favourite whisky distilleries and surreal landscapes wherever you go. 

Troyes, France, is where Santiago currently lives. A city where human heritage talks to you as soon as you enter the city center. In the middle of the Champagne region, you can taste wonderful and locally made Champagne. 


Santiago’s collaboration interests:

Santiago is always open to all kinds of collaborations, especially if they have the aim to generate a more sustainable society. He has a podcast with the aim of showcasing great practices, researches, projects, ideas... that look to build more just realities. Santiago is always curious and ready to jump into new projects, so do not hesitate contacting him. 


How Santiago got into cities research and sustainability topics:

Cities have become highly complex ecosystems depending on the social relations among each other. They reflect who we are, what we do and what we want. I amuse myself trying to understand how and why they behave the way they do. I love the mental exercise of imagining how cities will look and feel in the future based on our current relations.