Dr Rukhe Zehra Zaidi
Department of Geography
King's College London
Zehra completed her PhD at King’s College, London in 2009 after receiving a scholarship award from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan. Her thesis examined the dynamics of strategic decision-making in the landless peasant movement of the Anjumane Mazaarin Punjab in Pakistan. Zehra has an MA in Environment, Development and Policy from the University of Sussex and a BA in Economics from Mount Holyoke College (USA).
Prior to her PhD, Zehra worked as a freelance consultant for the non-governmental development sector in Pakistan. She also lectured at the Lahore University of Management Sciences as a Teaching Fellow, where she taught courses in Environment and Development Studies.
Zehra has been working as a research associate since July 2009 with Professor Mark Pelling in the Hazards and Risk Research Group on the broad themes of climate change adaptation and disaster risk management. She is interested in the role of actors and institutions in mediating and enacting decisions that influence risk and resilience, and the process whereby environmental triggers, especially those associated with climate change, affect the transfer of knowledge and practice across institutions, networks, and organizational boundaries.
She is currently engaged in research on a European Union FP7 project emBRACE (Building Resilience Amongst Communities in Europe) and is involved in developing a qualitative assessment of community level adaptive capacity for heat wave risk in London through a mapping of social networks and communication pathways for the elderly and other vulnerable groups in the city. This builds on her previous work for the EU funded MOVE (Methods for the Improvement of Vulnerability Assessment in Europe) project, where she provided input into the development of a common methodological framework for assessing vulnerability to natural hazards in Europe. Specifically, it involved a review and assessment of institutional arrangements for managing urban vulnerability to climate change hazards such as drought and heat shock in London. Emphasis was placed on the social and cultural component of vulnerability to natural hazards. Zehra has contributed to the SafeLand (Living with Landslide risk in Europe) project, where she produced a comparative assessment of the institutional cultures of risk management for landslide hazards in France, Italy, India, Norway and Romania.
Through their work on adaptation, Mark Pelling and Zehra have developed the ACI (Adaptive Capacity Index) tool for measuring institutional capacity for adaptation to hazard risk and disaster management, where institutions are viewed both as formal government frameworks for risk reduction, as well as informal social networks and communities of interest and practice.
In addition, Zehra has acted as a consultant on the World Bank ‘Climate change adaptation planning in Latin American and Caribbean cities’ project, examining urban institutional risk management strategies for flood and landslide risk in Cusco (Peru), Castries (St Lucia), Esteli (Nicaragua), El Progreso (Honduras), and Santos (Brazil). Using primary research and interviews with government and local stakeholders, she has also provided input into a report assessing institutional adaptive capacity for disaster risk management in Guyana for the IADB project ‘Design and implementation of an Integrated Disaster Risk Management Plan - Guyana’. In 2011 she carried out a scoping study on private sector interventions in disaster response during the drought crisis in Kenya and Somalia for the Humanitarian Futures Programme.
RZ Zaidi, M Pelling (In process) Institutionally configured risk: Assessing urban resilience to heat waves in London. Urban Studies
S Kienberger, T Blaschke, RZ Zaidi (2013) A framework for spatio-temporal scales and concepts from different disciplines: the ‘vulnerability cube’. Natural Hazards (online)
RZ Zaidi (2012) Entering the field: Examining the relevance of political ecology to the agrarian struggle of Anjuman Muzareen Punjab in Pakistan. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, Vol 33 (1) pp. 67-76
S Kim, GU Ojo, RZ Zaidi , R Bryant (2012) Bringing the other into political ecology: Reflecting on preoccupations in a research field. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, Vol 33 (1) pp. 34-48
S Kim, GU Ojo, RZ Zaidi , R Bryant (eds) (2012) Other political ecologies: Introduction. Special Issue. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, Vol 33 (1) pp. 29-33
Adaptive capacity indicators - Design and implementation of an Integrated Disaster Risk Management Plan – Guyana, IADB 2012
Commercial-Humanitarian engagement in the Horn of Africa crisis: a scoping study of the response in Kenya and Somalia. Humanitarian Futures Programme, King’s College, London May 2012
The cultures of landslide risk management in Europe and India. SafeLand Project EU. 2011