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Rachel Macrorie

Dr Rachel Macrorie PhD

Research Associate


Rachel Macrorie joined the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University as a postdoctoral Research Associate having previously held research and teaching contracts at Utrecht University (The Netherlands) and The Urban Institute (University of Sheffield). She is an urban and environmental geographer specialising in the governance and politics of just urban transformations to decarbonised economies and societies across a range of sectors, infrastructures and geographies.


Rachel's research conceptualises and analyses the governance and politics of just urban transformations in a changing climatic world.

In relation to this urgent challenge, her work investigates: urban political decision-making, partnerships and planning processes; material/power relations and assemblages; labour, knowledge and skills implications through the supply chain; types of policy/practice innovation, experimentation and scaling; as well as implications for domestic practices and everyday consumption.

Having previously worked as an international industrial environmental consultant, Rachel's sectoral expertise spans the built environment, energy, heat and water services, and digital, automated and robotic infrastructures, across multi-scalar geographies of the UK and Europe.

Rachel's current research, as part of the South Yorkshire Sustainability Centre (SYSC), investigates what a just transition to a net zero economy would look like for South Yorkshire's symbolic industries. She leads a work area investigating the governance implications of housing energy efficiency retrofit and heating decarbonisation for net zero.

She co-leads the Urban Working Group of the Earth System Governance network and co-organises the People, Policy and Place annual conference.

She previously lectured in Urban Policies and Planning, and Urban Infrastructures at Utrecht University (The Netherlands), and supervised Masters dissertations in the Spatial Planning Department.

Research interests

  • governance of urban sustainability transformations
  • just transitions - labour, skills and (re)training - in the net zero transition
  • political economy of place-based sociotechnical infrastructural change
  • feminist economic geographies and alternative economies
  • smart & platform urbanism, urban automation and robotics
  • everyday (un)sustainable consumption practices


College of Social Sciences and Arts


1. South Yorkshire Sustainability Centre: Just Transitions

The Just Transitions work package of the SYSC builds from historic concern in just transition policy, politics and scholarship for understanding the impact of sustainability transitions on the nature of work. The impacts of transitions will be socially and geographically uneven. The project aims to understand how sustainability transitions will affect work and workers in South Yorkshire across different sectors and places. Rachel leads on researching the supply chain labour, knowledge and skills implications for existing housing infrastructure, focusing on the able-to-pay sector. She is also researching the implications of the decarbonisation agenda for South Yorkshire steel communities.

2. Just Retrofit! Governance of housing retrofit for a just decarbonised regional economy

This project expands the above work, enabling consideration of the broader governance partnerships, regulatory framework and business model implications of a timely transition to energy-efficient and decarbonised existing housing infrastructure in South Yorkshire. It draws on feminist economic geographies and maps exemplar retrofit programmes, to understand how a just and inclusive transition in the retrofit supply chain can be enabled, going beyond employment opportunities, to support thriving communities and secure livelihoods.

3. Strengthening European energy policy: Governance recommendations for innovative interdisciplinary collaborations

Rachel co-leads a team of interdisciplinary researchers interested in addressing the labour/skills gap associated with the housing energy transition. A policy document review, series of interviews and policy/practice workshop will help develop policy recommendations in relation to the recast European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).


1. South Yorkshire Combined Mayoral Authority (SYMCA), South Yorkshire's four local authorities and the University of Sheffield, as part of the South Yorkshire Sustainability Centre (SYSC).

2. South Yorkshire Combined Mayoral Authority (SYMCA)

3. Social Sciences and Humanities for Climate, Energy and Transport Research Excellence (SSH CENTRE) - Anglia Ruskin University. With University of Sheffield, Imperial College London and University of Edinburgh.


Journal articles

Chitewere, T., Cornea, N., Lockyer, J., Macrorie, R., Malý Blažek, J., Nelson, A., & Pickerill, J. (2023). Urban ecological futures: Five eco-community strategies for more sustainable and equitable cities. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

Macrorie, R., Marvin, S., Smith, A., & While, A. (2023). A Common Management Framework for European Smart Cities? The Case of the European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities Six Nations Forum. Journal of Urban Technology, 30 (3), 63-80.

Ahmed, N., Baker, A.G., Bhattacharya, A., Cawood, S., Cabrera Pacheco, A.J., Daniel, M.M., ... Westman, L. (2022). Redefining the role of urban studies early career academics in the post-COVID-19 university. City, 26 (4), 562-586.

Westman, L., Patterson, J., Macrorie, R., Orr, C.J., Ashcraft, C.M., Castán Broto, V., ... Webb, R. (2022). Compound urban crises. Ambio, 51 (6), 1402-1415.

Monstadt, J., Colen Ladeia Torrens, J., Jain, M., Macrorie, R.M., & Smith, S.R. (2022). Rethinking the governance of urban infrastructural transformations: a synthesis of emerging approaches. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 55, 101157.

Macrorie, R., Marvin, S., & While, A. (2021). Robotics and automation in the city: a research agenda. Urban Geography, 42 (2), 197-217.

Fields, D., Bissell, D., & Macrorie, R. (2020). Platform methods: studying platform urbanism outside the black box. Urban Geography, 41 (3), 462-468.

de Hoop, E., van Oers, L., Becker, S., Macrorie, R., Spath, P., Astola, M., & Boon, W. (2019). Smart as a Global Vision? Exploring Smart in Local District Development Projects. Architecture and Culture, 7 (3), 437-455.

Macrorie, R., & Marvin, S. (2019). Bifurcated urban integration: The selective dis- and re-assembly of infrastructures. Urban Studies, 56 (11), 2207-2224.

Foulds, C., Robison, R.A.V., & Macrorie, R. (2017). Energy monitoring as a practice: Investigating use of the iMeasure online energy feedback tool. Energy Policy, 104, 194-202.

Sharp, L., Macrorie, R., & Turner, A. (2015). Resource efficiency and the imagined public: Insights from cultural theory. Global Environmental Change, 34, 196-206.

Book chapters

Papin, M., Westman, L., Macrorie, R., Shoaib Azizi, A., Dede, M., Greenwalt, J., ... Summers, B. (2023). Compound urban crises in global environmental politics. In Global Environmental Politics in a Turbulent Era. (pp. 62-74). Edward Elgar Publishing:

Macrorie, R., Foulds, C., & Hargreaves, T. (2014). Governing and governed by practices: Exploring interventions in low-carbon housing policy and practice. In Social Practices, Intervention and Sustainability: Beyond Behaviour Change. (pp. 95-111).


Marvin, S., While, A., Kovacic, M., Lockhart, A., & Macrorie, R. (n.d.). Urban robotics and automation: critical challenges, international experiments and transferable lessons for the UK. EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Network.

Marvin, S., While, A., Kovacic, M., Lockhart, A., & Macrorie, R. (n.d.). Urban robotics and automation: critical challenges, international experiments and transferable lessons for the UK. EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Network.

Other activities

Co-leader of the Urban Working Group of the Earth System Governance network

Co-organiser of People, Policy and Place annual conference

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