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Dr Maria Rusca

Dr Maria Rusca

Maria Rusca photo

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow

INHAbiT Cities Project



Department of Geography

King's College London

The Strand

London WC2R

Research interests


  • Southern urbanism and water governance
  • Urban infrastructures and conditions of inequalities in urban and sub-urban spaces in the Global South
  • Informality, urban development and everyday risks in high density low-income areas
  • Interdisciplinary research methodologies to further understandings of socio-natural inequalities in urban spaces.




Maria is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow in the Geography Department at King’s College London. Her research project, titled Investigating Natural, Historical and Institutional Transformations in Cities (INHAbIT Cities), aims at improving understandings of the dynamics of basic service provision in urban and suburban spaces in the global South. In particular, the project investigates the relation between urban infrastructures, distribution of everyday risks and conditions of inequalities in Maputo (Mozambique), Lilongwe (Malawi) and Karonga (Malawi). The project also aims at developing and testing innovative methodologies to further understandings of socio-natural inequalities in urban spaces. She believes that strong connection and commitment to a cause comes with inspiring stories. To engage with larger non-academic audiences and disseminate INHAbIT’s research findings, she will produce a short documentary telling stories and anecdotes of people accessing or providing water where formal utilities do not provide services. INHAbIT Cities is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 656738.

Maria holds an MA in Political Science (Roma Tre), and an MSc in Water Management (UNESCO-IHE). She completed her PhD in History of International Relations at the University of Roma Tre in 2009. Prior to King’s College, she worked as a Senior Lecturer in Water Governance at UNESCO-IHE (Delft, The Netherlands). She participated in various international multidisciplinary research projects, capacity development initiatives and technical assistance programmes in Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique, Kenia, and Namibia. She was Principal Investigator of the research project Uncovering Hidden Dynamics in Slum Environments (UNHIDE). UNHIDE focused on politics of informality and gendered water supply in Lilongwe and Maputo and was implemented in partnership with University of Amsterdam (Netherlands), Chancellor College (Malawi) and Eduardo Mondlane University (Mozambique).

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