Lucia Wright CV

Lucia Wright

Lucia is a bicultural Mexican and United States citizen with a background in international cooperation, urban development and sustainable emergency architecture. Her work as an architect in Mexico led her to question issues related to housing and urbanization, including access to basic services and sustainability of infrastructures. After an academic exchange year at Leibniz Universität Hannover in 2009, Lucia returned to Germany for the Mundus Urbano program of International Cooperation in Urban Development at the Technical University of Darmstadt in 2013. In 2015, she concluded the double-degree masters at the International University of Catalunya specializing in Sustainable Emergency Architecture. Since 2016, she is a DAAD scholarship holder and doctoral candidate at the Technical University of Darmstadt focusing on water infrastructures and multi-level governance in South East Asia. Lucia is currently working through a cooperation project with the Global Water Operators Partnerships' Alliance initiative of UN-Habitat. With the aim of bridging the gap between the academic world and solving real-world problems, she actively encourages tackling the cross-cutting challenges that cities face nowadays by supporting development studies where most needed.

PhD Summary

Supplying clean water is a challenge that local authorities and service providers face as they plan to increase production of potable water and extend infrastructure networks to meet the needs of inhabitants in fast-growing cities. Higher demand for adequate coverage and water quality, environmental protection and integrated water resources management, appropriate technologies, and the improvement of water governance and financial sustainability, are fundamental points which this research bases its discussion on.

Located in the tropical cyclone belt, Vietnam is one of five countries which will be most affected by climate change due to its vulnerability to sea-level rise and natural disasters, including typhoons, floods, droughts, saltwater intrusion and landslides. Within the frame of a global water crisis and the problems related to urban water provision in Southeast Asia, the present PhD focuses on global water partnerships and zooms into a specific capacity development partnership between utilities in Holland and Vietnam.

By addressing the environmental, socioecological and technological challenges of water supply in Da Nang, this work will deliver: a) an analysis of water operator partnerships at a global, regional and country-level, and b) an analysis of the water operator partnership between Da Nang Water Company and the Dutch company Vitens Evides International, following the BEWOP analytical framework. The management of urban water infrastructures evidences the need for a cross-scale and multi-level governance approach with the ultimate goal of building resilience in cities in the Global South.

University Studies and Degrees

Since 10/2015 Technical University of Darmstadt, Doctoral Candidate
08/2014- 09/2015 International University of Catalunya, Master of Science (MSc.)
International Cooperation and Sustainable Emergency Architecture
10/2013- 07/2014 Technical University of Darmstadt, Master of Science (MSc.)
International Cooperation in Urban Development
2006-2010 University of Guanajuato, Bachelor of Architecture (BArch.)

Professional Experiences

Since 08/2017 UN-Habitat
Research Consultant for UN-Habitat/GWOPA (Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance) to: 1) evaluate the sustainability of the improved performance of water utilities showcasing the water operator partnership between Vitens-Evides International and Da Nang Water Company through the BEWOP analytical framework; 2) gather and analyze diagnostic tools for utilities in collaboration with UNESCO-IHE; and 3) deliver a clean and organized water operator partnership database with a written and graphic analysis of key trends and a set of recommendations for future data collection methodologies and display.
Since 04/2016 Technical University of Darmstadt, Architecture Department
Research Assistant at the Department of Design and Urban Development (Fachgebiet Entwerfen und Stadtentwicklung, EST) of TUD. EST is at the intersection of urban development and architecture, considering urban realities as the result of different negotiation and development processes, within which the built city is only one of many parameters. Projects have included: international exhibition inaugurated in the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) in Frankfurt, awarded Designing Resilience in Asia (DRIA) competition, inception of the Urban Resilience Institute with UN-Habitat/CRPP, and partnership initiation with Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities.
12/2015- 03/2016 Nanyang Technological University, DHI-NTU Center
Research assistant at an interdisciplinary research and training center that addresses environmental issues through a planning and management approach with a special emphasis on the urban environment, focusing on the development of environment friendly solutions, tools and technologies to improve planning and management of water resources. Contributed significantly to a project of small scale seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination coordinated by Adrian Law Wing-Keung, Associate Professor at the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute.
06/2015- 09/2015 UN-Habitat
Intern at GWOPA (Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance), an initiative hosted by UN-Habitat Barcelona which supports water and sanitation service providers through WOPs (Water Operators’ Partnerships) by enabling knowledge exchange and capacity building on a non-profit basis to deliver quality basic services to all. Assisted in the preparation of the 3rd Global WOPs Congress, conducted writing of periodical news items, expanded the Operator Resources Library, and created a database of operator profiles for the mapping of WOPs alliances.
07/2014- 09/2014 Technical University of Darmstadt, IWAR Spatial and Infrastructure Planning
Research assistant for the Chair of Spatial and Infrastructure Planning of TUD, focusing on the emerging diversity of economic, technical and governance structures of water supply systems in Hanoi’s suburban areas. Work included a two-month field research in Vietnam to analyze users' perception on accessibility, and satisfaction of coverage, quality and cost of water. Conducted semistructured interviews with local and international organizations, government offices, water-related enterprises, financial organizations, and academic institutions. Served also as volunteer at the 37th Water, Engineering and Development Center (WEDC) Conference in Hanoi.
07/2014- 09/2014 Technical University of Darmstadt, IWAR Spatial and Infrastructure Planning
Research assistant for the Chair of Spatial and Infrastructure Planning of TUD, focusing on the emerging diversity of economic, technical and governance structures of water supply systems in Hanoi’s suburban areas. Work included a two-month field research in Vietnam to analyze users' perception on accessibility, and satisfaction of coverage, quality and cost of water. Conducted semistructured interviews with local and international organizations, government offices, water-related enterprises, financial organizations, and academic institutions. Served also as volunteer at the 37th Water, Engineering and Development Center (WEDC) Conference in Hanoi.
01/2011- 01/2013 Casita Linda
Project director of Casita Linda, a non-profit organization which seeks to create a dignified, safe, and empowering environment through the building of houses for families living in extreme poverty in the rural communities and marginalized neighborhoods of the city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Coordinated the selection of families and construction of houses. Thanks to funding from state and national funding agencies, trippled the number of houses being built at the time and implemented special projects such as eco-stoves, rainwater harvesting, and urban gardening with Casita Linda families.
08/2010- 03/2011 Techo
Volunteer for Techo, non-profit Latin-American organization led by youth working to eradicate extreme poverty in Latin America by providing: 1) decent living standards through the construction of emergency housing, 2) social rehabilitation and social development planning, and 3) better life opportunities through sustainable community development. Served as volunteer, head of construction team, and coordinator of management of teams. Also conducted surveys in irregular settlements to locate potential beneficiaries. Lastly, cultivated a partnership with the University of Guanajuato to support volunteer recruitment.

Talks and Conferences

  • Wright-Contreras, L. & Chelleri, L. (2017). Resilient Future: Towards an integrated urban resilience. In Cities of Tomorrow. Progressive Cities. 10th International Forum of Local Economic Development. Tbilisi, Georgia. Sep. 13-14, 2017.
  • Wright-Contreras, L. (2017). Water Operator Partnerships as mechanisms to leverage SUWM and achieve urban resilience: the case of Vitens-Evides International and Da Nang Water Company. In the International Workshop: Towards urban resilience. Session: Resilience and Multi-Level Governance. Barcelona, Spain. May 23-24, 2017.
  • Wright-Contreras, L. (2015). The pursuit of modernity through global trends of water governance in suburban Hanoi. In Water Distribution Networks course, lead by Prof. Ph.D, P.Eng. Dang Thi Thanh Huyen, Faculty of Environmental Engineering of the National University of Civil Engineering (NUCE). Hanoi, Vietnam. Sep. 9, 2015.
  • Wright-Contreras, L. (2015). Suburban constellations of water supply and sanitation. In the Global Suburban Infrastructure Workshop, organized by Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI) on Global Suburbanisms between the City Institute at York University and the School of Planning and the Faculty of the Environment University of Waterloo, in Waterloo. Canada, Jun. 14-16, 2015.
  • Wright-Contreras, L. (2010). Equity and defense of political-electoral rights. In the Democratic Exercise of Institutions of Higher Education 2010, summoned by the Federal Electoral Institute and the Center of Political Studies of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Mexico City. Nov. 3-5, 2010.
  • Wright-Contreras, L. (2010). Graduated students as agents of change because of their integrated and solid formation. In the first consultation forum during the Plan of Development of the Guanajuato Campus 2010-2020 of the University of Guanajuato. Guanajuato, Mexico. Oct. 28, 2010.

Publications

  • Schramm, S., & Wright-Contreras, L. (2017). Beyond passive consumption: Dis/ordering water supply and sanitation at Hanoi’s urban edge. Geoforum, 85, 299-310. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2017.06.016
  • Song, J., Li, T., Wright-Contreras, L., & Law, A. W. K. (2017). A review of the current status of small-scale seawater reverse osmosis desalination. Water International, 1-14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02508060.2017.1330841
  • Wright-Contreras, L., March, H., & Schramm, S. (2017). Fragmented landscapes of water supply in suburban Hanoi. Habitat International, 61, 64-74. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2017.02.002

Memberships

  • Graduate School for Urban Studies (URBANgrad), Technische Universität Darmstadt
  • Research training group EKU (Energy-Klima-Umwelt), Fachbereich2, Technische Universität Darmstadt