Google Scholar citation profile

My research bridges the natural and social sciences. I publish in several fields, including environmental science and environmental studies, geography, development studies, and urban studies. I have published in Science, Global Environmental Change, Review of International Political Economy, and World Development.

Smart Earth: Digital Technologies and Environmental Governance

For the past several years I’ve been working on a major new initiative on digital technologies and environmental governance.

One of our recent publications is a co-authored meta-review which surveys 3,100+ articles published on Smart Earth (across the social and natural sciences over the past 20 years):

Bakker, K. and M. Ritts. 2018. Smart Earth: A meta-review and implications for environmental governance. Global Environmental Change. 52: 201 – 211.  (

Currently I’m collaborating with David Jensen (UNEP) and a number of other international organizations on a ‘digital ecosystem for Earth’. We’ve published a series of articles on Medium exploring potential for globalized digital environmental governance.

Our first article sets out priorities for global environmental governance to “go digital.” Despite the numerous potential pitfalls, we believe that we are at a pivotal moment in history: mobilizing the tools of the Digital Age to address our most pressing environmental threats will be critical for ensuring a more sustainable future. We’re keen on engaging a broad range of views, so we have framed our article with a question: “Are these the 20 top priorities for a digital ecosystem for Earth in 2020?”

Our second article calls on public, private, civil society and international actors to take deliberate action and collaborate to enable a global digital ecosystem for the planet, mobilizing infrastructure, software, and data analytics to generate real-time insights that can power the structural transformations needed to achieve sustainable development goals. We highlight 20 of the most important international initiatives that are moving the “digital ecosystem for Earth” ahead in 2020.

If you prefer a PDF version, you can download a document containing all of our UNEP-UBC co-authored articles here.


Recent Articles (selected examples)

(Student names underlined)

  • In press Neville, K., Baka, J., Weinthal, D., and K. Bakker. “Corporate Disclosure and Investor-Activist Resolutions over Hydraulic Fracturing.” Review of International Political Economy.
  • 2018 Baka, J., K. Neville, E. Weinthal, and K. Bakker. 2018. Policy Mobilities and Agenda-Setting at the Energy-Water Nexus: Constructing and Maintaining a Policy Monopoly in US Hydraulic Fracturing Regulation. Review of Policy Research. (DOI) – 10.1111/ropr.12287
  • 2017 Dunn, G., R. Brown, J. Bos, and K. Bakker. 2017. “The Role of the Science-Policy Interface in Sustainable Urban Water Transitions: Lessons from Rotterdam.” Environmental Science & Policy. 73 (2017): 71-79.
  • 2017 Neville, K., Baka, J., Gamper-Rabindran, S., Bakker, K., Andreasson, S., Vengosh, A., Lin, A., Nem Singh, J., and Weinthal, E. Debating unconventional energy: Social, political and economic implications. Annual Review of Environment and Resources. 42, 241-266.
  • 2016 G. Dunn, R. R. Brown, J. J. Bos & K. Bakker (2016): Standing on the shoulders of giants: Understanding changes in urban water practice through the lens of complexity science, Urban Water Journal, DOI: 10.1080/1573062X.2016.1241284
  • 2016 Simms, R., Harris, L., Bakker, K., and Joe, N. (2016) Navigating the Tensions in Collaborative Watershed Governance: Water Governance and Indigenous Communities in British Columbia, Canada. Geoforum. 6 – 16. DOI 10.1016/j.geoforum.2016.04.005
  • 2015 de Freitas, C., A. Marston, and Karen Bakker. “Not-quite-neoliberal natures in Latin America: An introduction.” Geoforum 64: 239-245.
  • 2015 Dunn, G., Harris, L., Bakker, K.. “Microbial Risk Governance: Challenges and opportunities in freshwater management in Canada.” Canadian Water Resources Association Journal. 40(3), 237-249.
  • 2015 Norman, E. and K. Bakker.“Do good fences make good neighbors? Canada-United States Transboundary Water Governance, the Boundary Waters Treaty, and 21st century challenges.” Water International. 40(1), 199-213.
  • 2014 Bakker, K. ‘The Business of Water’ Annual Review of Environment and Resources. 39(1), 469 – 494.
  • 2014 Cohen, A. and K. Bakker. The eco-scalar fix: Rescaling environmental governance and the politics of ecological boundaries in Alberta, Canada. Environment and Planning D. doi:10.1068/d0813.
  • 2014 Yates, J. and K. Bakker. Neoliberalism and Post-neoliberalism in Latin America. Progress in Human Geography. 38(1), 62 – 91. (second author: contribution 40%)
  • 2014 Dunn, G., Harris, L., Bakker, K., and Allen, D. Drinking Water Quality Guidelines across Canadian Provinces and Territories: Jurisdictional variation in the context of decentralized water governance. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 11(5), 4634-4651. (third author; contribution 25%)
  • 2014 Cohen, A. and K. Bakker. The eco-scalar fix: Rescaling environmental governance and the politics of ecological boundaries. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. doi:10.1068/d0813
  • 2013 Bakker, K. and C. Morinville ‘The Governance Dimensions of Water Security: A review.’ Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science. 371 (2002), 2013011
  • 2013 Bakker, K. Constructing “public” water: The World Bank and water as an object of development. Environment & Planning D, 31(2), 280-300
  • 2013 Bakker, K. Neoliberal versus Postneoliberal Water. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 253-260.
  • 2012 Bakker, K. Water Security: Research challenges and opportunities. Science, 337, 914. (Summary and reprints also available.)
  • 2012 Cook, C. and K. Bakker. Water Security: Debating an emerging paradigm. Global Environmental Change, 22(1), 94–102.
  • 2011 Bakker, K. and Cook, C. Water governance in Canada: Innovation in the context of fragmentation. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 27(2): 275–289.
  • 2010 Bakker, K. Debating green neoliberalism: The limits of “neoliberal natures”. Progress in Human Geography, 34(6), 715–735.
  • 2010 Furlong, K. and Bakker, K. The contradictions of ‘good’ governance: Business Models, Alternative Service Delivery, and Sustainability in Municipal Water Supply. Environment and Planning C 28(2), 349–368.
  • 2010 Bakker, K. Participation du secteur privé à la gestion des services des eaux : Tendances récentes et débats dans les pays en voie de développementEspaces et Societés 139, 91–105.
  • Recent Book Chapters (selected examples)

    • 2018 Bakker, K. (2018) “Bienes Comunes versus Mercancía: Alterglobalización y el derecho huano al agua en el hemisferio Sur.” In In Astudillo Pizarro, F. and Salamanca Villamizar, C. A. Recursos, Vinculos y Territorios: Inflexiones transversales en torno al agua. Buenos Aires: UNR Editora, pp 53-84. —
    • 2018 Bakker, K., L. Harris, N. Joe, and R. Simms. (2018). “Indigenous Peoples and Water Governance in Canada: Regulatory Injustice and Prospects for Reform.” In Water Justice, ed. R. Boelens et al., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 193-209.
    • 2017 Bakker, K. 2017. “The Business of Water.” In Oxford Handbook of Water Politics and Water Policy, ed. K. Conca and E. Weinthal. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    • 2017 Ahlers, R., Zwarteween, M. and K. Bakker. 2017. “Large Dam Development: From Trojan Horse to Pandora’s Box.” In The Oxford Handbook of Megaproject Management, ed. Bent Flyvbjerg, Nils Bruzelius, and Werner Rothengatter. 556 – 576, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    • 2017 Bakker, K. 2017. “From a ‘State Hydraulic’ to ‘Market Environmentalist’ Paradigm: Changing Paradigms of Urban Water Supply in Developing Countries in the 20th Century.” In The UNESCO Water Book Project: Water and Humanity: Historical Overview, ed. V. Scarborough, 197–217. Paris: UNESCO.
    • 2016 Dunn, G., L. Harris, and K. Bakker.  “Canadian Drinking Water Policy: Jurisdictional Variation in the Context of Decentralized Water Governance.” In Water Policy and Governance in Canada, vol. 17, ed. S. Renzetti and D. Dupont, 301–20. New York: Springer.
    • 2016 Norman, E., and K. Bakker. “Transboundary Water Governance.” In Water Policy in Canada, vol. 17, ed. S. Renzetti and D. Dupont, 139-158. New York: Springer.
    • 2015 Norman, E.S., A. Cohen, and K. Bakker. “The Water Convention from a North American Perspective.” In The UNECE Convention to the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes; Its Contribution to Internation, ed. A. Tanzi, O. McIntyre, A. Kolliopoulos, and A. Rieu-Clarke, 423–34. Boston: Brill Press.
    • 2015 Cook, C., and K. Bakker.  “Water Security: Key Issues.” In Handbook on Water Security, ed. C. Pahl-Wostl, J. Gupta, and A. Baduri, 19–37. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
    • 2015 Bakker, K.  “The Neoliberalization of Nature.” In Routledge Handbook of Political Ecology, ed. G. Bridge, T. Perreault, and J. McCarthy, 446–56. London: Routledge.
    • 2014 Kooy, M., and K. Bakker.  “(Post)Colonial Pipes Urban Water Supply in Colonial and Contemporary Jakarta.” In Cars, Conduits and Kampongs: Modernization of the Indonesian city, 1920 – 1960. Eds. F. Colombijn and J. Cote, 63–86. Leiden: Brill.
    • 2014 Bakker, K.  “From a ‘State Hydraulic’ to ‘Market Environmentalist’ Paradigm: Changing Paradigms of Urban Water Supply in Developing Countries in the 20th Century.” In The UNESCO Water Book Project, Volume 7: Water and Humanity: Historical Overview, ed. V. Scarborough, 197–217. Paris: UNESCO.
    • 2013 Bakker, K. Hegemony does not imply homogeneity: Thoughts on the marketization and privatization of water. In Contemporary Water Governance in the Global South, (Eds.) L.Harris, J. Goldin, and C. Sneddon. Routledge: London.
    • 2012 Bakker, K. “The ‘matter of nature’ in economic geography.” In Barnes, T., Peck, J. and E. Sheppard (eds.) The New Companion to Economic Geography. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
    • 2011 Bakker, K. Splintered Urbanisms: Water, urban infrastructure, and the modern social imaginary In Gandy, M. (ed.) Urban Constellations Berlin: Jovis, 62–64.
    • 2011 Bakker, K. Conflicts over water supply in Jakarta, Indonesia. In Barraque, B. (Ed.), Urban Water Conflicts, Paris: UNESCO, 195–217.
    • 2011 Bakker, K. The human right to water revisited. In Sultana, F., Budds, J. and Loftus, A. (eds). The Right to Water. London: Earthscan, 19–44.
    • 2010 Bakker, K. Commons versus Commodities: Political ecologies of water privatization. In Peet, R., Robbins, P., and Watts, M. (Eds.) Global Political Ecology London: Routledge, 345–368.
    • 2010 Norman, E. and K. Bakker. Governing Water across the Canada – U.S. Borderland. In G. Hale and M. Gattinger (eds.), Borders and Bridges: Navigating Canada’s International Policy Relations in a North America Context. Oxford University Press, 194–212.