Dr Pramit VERMA (India)

Pramit aims to provide a holistic picture of cities on their path to sustainability by applying an interdisciplinary approach and by modelling future developments. His goal is evidence-based planning based on understanding the impact of sustainability initiatives on the social, ecological, and economic fabric of cities.

PhD in Botany

Current position: Post-doctoral Researcher at Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland

Research focus: empirical insights into urban ecosystem services and circular economy, its drivers and constraints

The transition of cities to sustainability is often a very complex process of change. One of the main challenges in this process is maintaining socioeconomic cohesion during the ecological transition and avoiding “sustainability in one place” leading to “unsustainability elsewhere”. This results, for example, in people who cannot afford rising rents due to sustainability improvements in their neighbourhoods having to move and commute, leading to an increase in carbon emissions due to commuting.

For his PhD, Pramit studied urban ecology in Varanasi, India, focussing on several UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 7 (Clean and Affordable Energy), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Society) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). His basic hypothesis was that urban systems can only become sustainable if their various components are integrated into a multi-scale framework. He used an interdisciplinary approach: He used remote sensing to identify different land use components. He also included the stakeholder component, which was based on a survey that estimated carbon emissions from households. He modelled their changes through 2041, which allowed him to quantify how much green space would be needed to offset carbon emissions due to an increase in households.

Pramit is currently deepening his research questions to understand the challenges associated with implementing sustainability strategies in Polish cities and their surrounding areas. His goal is to identify the contexts of sustainability transitions, understand how to maintain social and economic resilience during such transitions, and create a practical guide for sustainable adaptation through social, economic, environmental, and technological interventions that engage stakeholders at different levels.

A very dedicated and experienced scholar, Pramit was awarded by the jury for his studies on the transition of cities to sustainability, which are relevant not only for India and Poland, but also for many other countries. The jury also valued his emphasis on the importance of partnerships in shaping these transitions.

The research of Pramit mainly contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals 7, 11, 13, 16:

Take a look at this video that briefly introduces Pramit and his research: