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Department of Architecture

 

Biography

Dr Minna Sunikka-Blank is Associate Professor and Deputy Head at the Department of Architecture in Cambridge.

She is interested in the role of mass housing in sustainable development: the transition from informal to formal in housing and energy infrastructure. Her research explores the intersections of domestic energy transitions, housing and gender. Dr Sunikka-Blank leads AHRC Research Network Filming Energy (FERN) that uses participatory film-making to understand women's lived expereince in low-income housing in India and South Africa. At the core of the project is collaboration with 'non-traditional' research partners: NGOs and policy makers.

Dr Sunikka-Blank co-convenes the inter-disciplinary Global Energy Nexus in Urban Settlements/GENUS research group across Geography, Engineering, Architecture and Judge Business School. At the Department she co-leads Behaviour and Building Performance/BBP group with international research students.

Before coming to Cambridge Dr Sunikka-Blank worked on environmental impact assessment projects and research in Finland and the Netherlands. She has held a Visting Professorship at Keio University in Japan. She regularly collaborates with inter-disciplinary networks beyond Cambridge, looking at challenges such as adaptation of solar technologies in low income communities, focusing on the perspectives of women.

Dr Sunikka-Blank has authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications and her research on understanding domestic energy demand and conceptualisation of the 'prebound effect' has directly informed housing and thermal retrofit policy. She authors policy briefings such as the British Academy COP26 Policy Briefing on Cities and Energy Transitions.

Her work was presented in BBCArts 'Animated Thinking' series showing how today’s slums in India and how the transition to high-rise flats has adversely and radically affected the lives of women. 

Dr Sunikka-Blank teaches undergraduate ad MPhil courses at the Department and she is interested in developing research training in architectural education. She is an elected member of the Research and Education Committee of the Association of Finnish Architects/SAFA.

Dr Sunikka-Blank is a Director of Studies and Fellow in Architecture in Churchill College.

Publications

Key publications: 

 

Edited books

Galvin R., Sunikka-Blank M., 2013, A Critical Appraisal of Germany's Thermal Retrofit Policy: Turning Down the Heat. Springer-Verlag, Berlin/Heidelberg/New York (ISBN-10: 1447153669, ISBN-13: 978-1447153665). (148 p.)

Articles/Chapters in international peer-reviewed Journals/Books

Sunikka-Blank, M., Bardhan, R., Abdie, D., 2021, “We Need Ground Space”: Urban Densification and Transitional Housing in Ethiopia, Journal of the British Academy, 9(6).

Sunikka-Blank, M., Galvin, R., 2021, Single parents in cold homes in Europe: How intersecting personal and national characteristics drive up the numbers of these vulnerable households, Energy Policy (150) 112134, 11 p. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112134

Li, X., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2021, Urban densification and social capital: neighbourhood restructuring in Jinan, China, Buildings and Cities 2(1), pp. 244-263, 20 p. https://doi. org/10.5334/bc.70

Rajadhyaksha, A., Sunikka-Blank, M., Bardhan, R., Schupp, J., 2021, ­CineGenus: everyday life and energy use in chawls in Indian cinema, in: Penz, F., Schupp, J. (eds) Everyday Life in Cinema, London (Routledge).

Debnath, R., Bardhan, R., Darby, S., Mohaddes, K., Sunikka-Blank, M., Villaça Coelho, A.C., Isa, A., 2021, Words against injustices: A deep narrative analysis of energy cultures in poverty of Abuja, Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro, Energy Research and Social Science (72) 101892, 17 p. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2020.101892

Mokhles, S., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2021, “I'm always home” Social infrastructure and women’s personal mobility patterns in informal settlements in Iran, Gender, Place and Culture. 27 p. https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2021.1873743

Sunikka-Blank, M., Bardhan, R., Schupp, J., Prabhu, J., & Penz, F., 2020, Films as source of everyday life and energy use: A case of Indian cinema. Energy Research & Social Science (69) 101655. 13 p. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2020.101655

Debnath, R., Simoes, G.M.F., Bardhan, R., Leder, S.M., Lamberts, R., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2020, Energy Justice in Slum Rehabilitation Housing: An Empirical Exploration of Built Environment Effects on Socio-Cultural Energy Demand. Sustainability (12)7, 3027, 27 p. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12073027

Ren, G., Sunikka-Blank, M., Zhang, X., 2020, Young urban households in Shanghai, China: Characteristic of energy use and attitudes, Sustainable Cities and Society (60), 102174, 10 p. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2020.102174

Khaldi, Y.M., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2020, Governing renewable energy transition in conflict contexts: investigating the institutional context in Palestine. Energy Transitions (4): pp. 69–90, https://doi.org/10.1007/s41825-020-00024-z

Khalid, R., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2020, Housing and household practices: Practice-based sustainability interventions for low-energy houses in Lahore, Pakistan, Energy for Sustainable Development (54): pp. 148-163. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esd.2019.11.005

Ren, G., Heo, Y., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2019, Investigating an adequate level of modelling for retrofit: A case study of British semi-detaches house, Journal of Building Engineering (23): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jobe.2019.100837

Debnath, R., Bardhan, R., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2019, How does slum rehabilitation influence appliance ownership? A structural model of non-income drivers, Energy Policy (132): pp. 418-428, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2019.06.005

Sunikka-Blank, M., Haque, A.N., Bardhan, R., 2018, Gender, domestic energy and design of inclusive low-income habitats: A case of slum rehabilitation housing in India, Habitat International. 49, pp. 53-67, (14 p.), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2018.10.020

Khalid, R., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2018, Evolving houses, demanding practices: A case of rising electricity consumption of the middle class in Pakistan, Building and Environment (143): pp. 293–305, (12 p.) DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2018.07.010

Galvin R., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2018, Economic inequality and household energy consumption in high-income countries: A challenge for social science based energy research, Ecological Economics (153): pp. 78–88 (10 p.) DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2018.07.003

Gillich, A., Sunikka-Blank, M., Ford, A., 2018, Designing an ‘optimal’ domestic retrofit programme, Building Research and Information, 46(7), pp. 767-778. (11 p.) DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2017.1368235

Khalid, R., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2017, Homely social practices, uncanny electricity demands: Class, culture and material dynamics in Pakistan, Energy Research & Social Science (34): pp. 122-131 (9 p.) DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2017.06.038

Sunikka-Blank, M., Galvin, R., Behar, C., 2017, Harnessing class, taste and gender for more effective energy policies, Building Research and Information, 46(1): pp. 114-126 (12 p.) DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2017.1356129.

Galvin, R., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2017, Ten questions concerning sustainable domestic thermal retrofit policy research, Building and Environment (118): pp. 377-388 (11 p.), DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2017.03.007

Galvin, R., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2016, Schatzkian practice theory and energy consumption research: Time for some philosophical spring cleaning? Energy Research & Social Science (7): pp. 55–65 (10 p.) DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2016.08.021

Gillich, A., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2017, Lessons for the UK Green Deal from the US BBNP, Building Research and Information, 45(4): pp. 384-395 (11p.) https://doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2016.1159500

Galvin, R., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2016, Quantification of (p)rebound Effects in Retrofit Policies – Why does it Matter? Energy (95): pp. 415-424 (9 p.)  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2015.12.034

Sunikka-Blank, M., Galvin, R., 2015, Irrational homeowners? How aesthetics and heritage values influence thermal retrofit decisions in the United Kingdom, Energy Research and Social Science (11): pp. 97-108 (11p.). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2015.09.004

Galvin, R., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2014a, The UK homeowner-retrofitter as an innovator in a socio-technical system, Energy Policy (74): pp. 655-662 (7 p.). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2014.08.013

Galvin, R., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2014b, Disaggregating the causes of falling consumption of domestic heating energy in Germany, Energy Efficiency (5): pp. 851-864 (13 p.), DOI: 10.1007/s12053-014-9259-5.

Galvin R., Sunikka-Blank M., 2013, Economic Viability in Thermal Retrofit Policies: Learning from Ten Years of Experience in Germany, Energy Policy (54): pp. 343-351 (8 p.). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2012.11.044

Sunikka-Blank, M., Galvin, R., 2012, Prebound effect: the gap between performance and the actual consumption, Building Research and Information 40(3): pp. 260-273. https://doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2012.690952

Galvin, R., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2012, Including fuel price elasticity of demand in net present value and payback time calculations of thermal retrofits: case study of German dwellings, Energy and Buildings (50): pp. 219-228. DOI: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2012.03.043

Sunikka-Blank, M., Chen, J., Dantsiou, D., Britnell, J., 2012, Improving energy efficiency of social housing areas – a case study of a retrofit achieving an ’A’ energy performance rating in the UK, European Planning Studies, 20(1): pp. 133-147. https://doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2011.638494

Sunikka-Blank, M., Iwafune, Y., 2011, Sustainable building in Japan - observations on a market transformation policy, Environmental Policy and Governance, 21(5): pp. 351-363. DOI: 10.1002/eet.580

Sunikka-Blank, M., 2011, The concept and aesthetics of sustainable building in Japan, in: Lee, S. (ed.) Aesthetics of Sustainable Architecture, Rotterdam (010 Publishers), pp. 186-197.

Sunikka, M., 2006, Energy efficiency and lower carbon technologies in urban renewal, Building Research and Information, 34(6), pp. 521-533. https://doi.org/10.1080/09613210600660976

Beerepoot, M., Sunikka M., 2005, The contribution of the EC energy certificate in improving sustainability of the housing stock, Environment and Planning B, 32(1): pp. 21-31. https://doi.org/10.1068/b3118

Sunikka, M., 2003, Fiscal instruments in sustainable housing policies in the EU and the accession countries, European Environment, 13(4): pp. 227-239. DOI: 10.1002/eet.318

 

Associate Professor
Deputy Head of Department
Fellow of Churchill College
Director of Studies for Churchill College
Dr. Minna  Sunikka-Blank
Not available for consultancy