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Department of Architecture



Rihab is an interdisciplinary researcher investigating sustainable climate adaptation, energy justice, and equitable housing infrastructure using socio-technical approaches to societal transitions. In particular, she is interested in the intersections of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 (gender equity), SDG7 (access to modern energy) and SDG11 (Sustainable growth in cities). Her work takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding climate adaptation and energy demand, amalgamating socio-cultural theories with more technically grounded understandings of consumption in the context of architectural and urban spaces. Rihab is committed to problem-driven and human-centred research to tackle societal challenges, and to improve energy efficiency and sufficiency to meet climate change targets.

Rihab completed her PhD in Architecture at the University of Cambridge in 2020. Her thesis “Socio-material constructs of domestic energy demand: Household and housing practices in Pakistan” addresses the gap in socio-technical studies of domestic energy-use in the Global South. Her study identifies various nexuses of practices and spatial arrangements of urban housing that have emerged, persisted, and transformed over time, giving rise to unsustainable levels of electricity consumption in middle-class housing in Lahore, Pakistan. She has used a mixed-method approach, combining practice theories with the knowledge of spatial agency in design to explore sustainability interventions in house design and use, with implications for housing and energy policy.


  • Climate adaptation and Energy justice
  • Gender and its intersections with energy and space use
  • Feminist and intersectional approaches
  • Socio-technical transitions of energy infrastructure and the built environment at the micro-, meso- and macro scales
  • Energy demand reduction and demand management
  • Social architecture; sociology of architecture; spatial agency in architectural design
  • Socio-technical sustainability transitions
  • In-depth qualitative methodologies
  • Interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral research


Current Research Projects

  • Energy SHINES: Energy Social Sciences and Humanities Insights for Non-Energy Sectors (Aug 22- Sep23)in collaboration with the Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, as part of the UK Energy Research Centre's Whole Systems Networking Fund (WSNF)- Phase 4
  • Towards an intersectional analysis of urban spatial inequalities in Pakistan (Aug 21- Mar22), as part of the Energy Transitions Small Grants scheme, Energy Transitions@Cambridge Research Centre, University of Cambridge.
  • Investigating factors affecting socio-technical integration of Micro-Hydro Power projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan (Sep 21-March 22), in collaboration with the University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar, as part of the British Council’s Researcher Links Climate Challenge Workshop: Delivering a Sustainable Energy Transition for Pakistan.
  • Moving beyond climate change mitigation: A socio-technical assessment of clean energy adaptation for off-grid communities in Pakistan (Sep 21-March 22), in collaboration with the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), as part of the British Council’s Researcher Links Climate Challenge Workshop: Delivering a Sustainable Energy Transition for Pakistan.
  • Techno-economic and social feasibility of off-grid solar PV power supply in rural communities of Pakistan: case-study of village Helario in Tharparkar (Sep 21-March 22), in collaboration with the Quaid-e-Azam University of Science, Engineering and Technology and others, as part of the British Council’s Researcher Links Climate Challenge Workshop: Delivering a Sustainable Energy Transition for Pakistan.


Key publications: 

Journal articles

  • Foulds, C., Khalid, R., Jensen, E.A., Sule, O., Lorenz, L. 2023 (open access, under open review). Social responsibility in research and innovation practice and policy across global regions, institutional types, and fields: Interview data and qualitative content analysis outputs revealing the perspectives and experiences of professionals. Open Research Europe.
  • Schiffer, A., Greene, M., Khalid, R., Foulds, C., Vidal, C.A., Chatterjee, M., Dhar-Bhattacharjee, S., Edomah, N., Sule, O., Palit, D., Yesutanbul, A.N., 2022. Brokering Gender Empowerment in Energy Access in the Global South. Build. Cities 3, 619–637.   
  • Khalid, R., Razem, M., 2022. The nexus of gendered practices, energy, and space use: A comparative study of middleclass housing in Pakistan and Jordan. Energy Res. Soc. Sci. 83, 102340.
  • Sharmin, T., Khalid, R., 2021. Post Occupancy and Participatory Design Evaluation of a Marginalized Low-Income Settlement in Ahmedabad, India. Building Research & Information 0(0):1–21.
  • Khalid, R., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2020. Housing and household practices: Practice-based sustainability interventions for low-energy houses in Lahore, Pakistan. Energy Sustain. Dev. 54, 148–163.  
  • Khalid, R., Christensen, T.H., Gram-Hanssen, K., Friis, F., 2019. Time-shifting laundry practices in a smart grid perspective: a cross-cultural analysis of Pakistani and Danish middle-class households. Energy Efficiency.  
  • 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, 293–305.   
  • Khalid, R., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2017. Homely social practices, uncanny electricity demands: Class, culture and material dynamics in Pakistan. Energy Research & Social Science 34, 122–131.


Book Chapters

  • Khalid, R., Lemanski, C., 2023 (accepted, publication in process). Infrastructure: Gendered Access to Energy, in: Peake, L., Adeniyi-Ogunyankin, G., Datta, A., Elgar International Handbook on Gender and Cities. Elgar Publishing


Policy reports


Conference papers

  • Coevolution of household practices and spatial layouts: a case of rising middle-class electricity consumption in Global South. In proceedings of the 5th European Conference on Behaviour and Energy Efficiency (BEHAVE) 2018, Zurich


News articles & Blog posts

Research Fellow, Lucy Cavendish College
Director of Studies in Architecture, Clare College
Affiliated Lecturer, Department of Architecture