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Department of Architecture



Rihab is an interdisciplinary researcher in sustainable energy consumption and demand management, focusing on socio-technical approaches to societal transitions. In particular, she is interested in the intersections of gender, energy infrastructure and space use in the Global South. Her work takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding 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 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.

Rihab is available for supervision.


• Gender and its intersections with energy and space use
• Socio-material 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

  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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.

Policy reports

Conference papers

  • Khalid, R., Sunikka-Blank, M., 2019. Built environment as mediator of good (or bad) household practices: moving towards sufficiency in middle-class houses in Pakistan. In ECEEE 2019 Summer Study Proceedings - Is efficient sufficient?, Toulon/Hyères
  • 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