Tieza Mica Santos

Master of Science in Environmental Sciences and Policy


DLGS, Falkenbrunnen, Würzburger Straße 35, Room 210

Email: t.santosioer@dlgs.ioer.de
Phone: +49 (0)351 463 42348
Fax: +49 (0)351 4679 212

DLGS 2020 (2020-2023)

Doctoral Thesis

Working title:
Navigating urban water systems transformation through the lens of a Social-Ecological-Technological Systems framework: A comparative case of ASEAN and EU urban regions

Prof. Dr. Marc Wolfram, Technische Universität Dresden

IOER Research areas:
Built Environment - Resources and Environmental Risks
Transformative Capacities

Abstract: Urban water literature is primarily influenced by narrow boundaries of techno-centric disciplinary perspectives. Amidst rapid urbanization, land-use change, and climate change, the scientific inquiry and application of theories and frameworks in governance and policy require approaches that consider the complexity and dynamic interaction of technical, social, and ecological dimensions. Water plays a vital role in urban transformation with sustainability and resiliency being central to address current and future realities. Urban water systems are currently characterized by systemic risks varying across temporal and spatial scales and interconnected resource boundaries that affect feedback mechanisms and hydrological-social patterns. Undervaluing the complexity of this dynamic system limits both scientific literature and empirical applications to frame narratives into problem-specific technological solutions and predict-and-control management approaches to water issues.

Urban water literatures employ either Social-ecological (SES) or Socio-technical (STS) Systems framework and emphasize the human-nature or human-technology relations. These have limits in so far as to their descriptive and diagnostic role, highlighting specific dimensions, interlinkages, and dynamics of the system. A challenge remains as to bridging ontological positions, epistemic standards, and methodological approaches.

Against this background, this research proposes a re-orientation of scientific inquiry on urban water systems transformation through a lens that bridges the SES and STS frameworks. It aims to explore how SES and STS lenses can be employed together towards a Social-Ecological-Technological Systems (SETS) frame. This is achieved by: (1) conducting a systematic literature review of references that employ such frameworks to examine the gaps, ontologies, epistemologies, and problem frames that shape the research narratives and governance-policy arenas; (2) developing a “Transformative Mosaic Framework”, a proposed diagnostic framework and methodological analytical tool that utilizes a patchwork of complementary SES and STS perspectives and approaches; and (3) deploying the proposed framework and tool through a comparative case study of urban water systems in select cities in ASEAN and EU member states. The expected results and contribution of the research is intended to support urban water and complex systems transformation scholars to advance scientific inquiry with a transformative agenda and the ontological and epistemological development of the emerging SETS framework. It also aims to transfer knowledge and strategies to practice areas and governance-policy agenda that are responsive to current and future water uncertainties.



Since 03/2020
Doctoral Student at the TU Dresden, Faculty of Environmental Science, Dresden, Germany

Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Academic Degree: Master of Science

Political Science Major in Global Politics, Ateneo de Manila University, Manila, Philippines
Academic Degree: Master of Arts

European Studies Major in International Relations with double
Minor Degrees in History and French Language and Studies,
Ateneo de Manila University, Manila, Philippines
Academic Degree: Bachelor of Arts


International Climate Protection Fellow of Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung / Guest Research Fellow at Fraunhofer ISI, Germany

Sustainable Finance Project Director, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Philippines

Sustainability Research Intern, Schneider Electric, Hungary

Research Intern, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), Hungary and Austria

Technical Specialist (Greenhouse Gas Management and Project Implementation Lead) for the Building Low Emission Alternatives to Develop Economic Resiliency and Sustainability Project, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Philippines

Project Consultant for the Climate Change and Clean Energy Project, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Philippines

Project Consultant for the Sustainable Energy Finance (SEF) Project, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Philippines

Assistant Director, Ateneo de Manila University – Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Philippines

Program Officer, Asia Society, Philippines and USA

Program Officer, Ashoka Innovators for the Public, Philippines and USA

Project Manager, Langogan Hydro Power Corporation, Philippines

Research Associate and Lecturer Faculty (Project-based, Part-time), Ateneo de Manila University – School of Government and Loyola Schools


Scholarship for a doctorate at the TU Dresden by the Dresden Leibniz Graduate School (DLGS), Germany

Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung Fellowship, Germany

UNU-MERIT Scholar for the International Conference of the Association for Public Policy and Management (APPAM) as presentor and participant, Belgium

(Full Scholarship) Master’s Excellence at Central European Univeristy, Hungary

Fellow and Philippine Representative, Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leadership Program awarded by the Asia Foundation and Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Malaysia

(Full Scholarship) Australia Leadership Awards Fellowship for training on Research Approaches and Methodology, Australia