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                                        Minna Sunikka Blank      


Principal Investigator: Dr Minna Sunikka-Blank, University of Cambridge

Dr Minna Sunikka-Blank is a Senior University Lecturer at the Department of Architecture in Cambridge. She is interested in energy transitions: the adoption of new technologies, how they transform practices and occupant behaviour. Dr Sunikka-Blank co-leads the Behaviour and Building Performance (BBP) research group and Global Energy Nexus in Urban Settlements (GENUS) research network. She has worked on environmental impact assessment in Finland and the Netherlands and held a visiting position at Keio University in Japan. Her current research looks at energy infrastructure and gendered household practices in the context of slum rehabilitation in India. Dr Sunikka-Blank is a Director of Studies and Fellow in Architecture at Churchill College in Cambridge

Ronita Bardhan

Co-Investigator: Dr Ronita Bardhan, University of Cambridge

Dr Ronita Bardhan is University Lecturer of Sustainable Built Environment at the Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge, UK and leads the Sustainable Design Group. She holds visiting position at Stanford University and Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.  She works on the niche sector of habitat design, energy decisions and gender equality for low-income housing in Global South, especially in the slum rehabilitation housing of Mumbai. Her tractable research informs demand-side design solutions which positively affects energy security, gender equality and well-being while entailing fewer environmental risks. Dr Bardhan is a Director of Studies and Fellow in Architecture at Selwyn College in Cambridge.

Research Partners:

adi  kumar

Adi Kumar, Development Action Group

Aditya Kumar is Executive Director of Development Action Group (DAG), based in South Africa. Adi has extensive experience in the development sector having worked across the globe in India, South Africa, Lebanon, United States, Kenya and Uganda.  Previously he worked as Head of Design and Planning for Nahr El Bared Palestinian Camp Reconstruction Project with the United Nations, Lebanon (UNRWA) and is shortlisted for the 2013 cycle of Aga Khan Award for Architecture. He was also Project Manager for Earthquake Rehabilitation Projects with Caritas India in Gujarat, India and worked extensively on planning projects in Boston and Los Angeles in the private and non-profit sector. Over the last eighteen years, Adi has become a specialist in post disaster & post conflict reconstruction; housing & land rights; and informal settlement upgrading. His work has fostered multi-stakeholder partnerships between local communities, CBO’s, government bodies, academic institutions and International NGO’s, with a key focus on strengthening community participation and activism.


 Lorenzo Johnson

Lorenzo Johnson, Development Action Group

Lorenzo is the Project Support Officer with over 3 years of experience working in the improvement district industry.  Lorenzo enjoys working for DAG because the organisation is passionate about supporting the marginalised communities. He enjoys his role at DAG because it gives him the opportunity to do what he is passionate about and that is working in the inner city and disadvantaged communities.




 Conrad Meyer


Conrad Meyer, Development Action Group

Conrad is the Project Officer at DAG. He is a Political Science and Economics professional with a strong interest in political economy. He started working at DAG as an intern before he became the Project Officer. Conrad says he enjoys working at DAG because the organisation has a knack for working strategically in the societal crevices where politics, economics and civil society collide in order to facilitate creative solutions to SA’s developmental challenges.

 Helen Rourke



Helen Rourke, Development Action Group

Helen is the Programme Manager. She holds a partially completed MPhil in Urban Infrastructure Design and Management, UCT as well as Diploma in Urban Land Management and Informal Settlement Regularisation, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Helen has over fifteen years of experience in the urban development sector with a focus on informal settlements, urban land markets, regeneration, low-income housing, citizen mobilisation and partnership building and local government. Helen has extensive expertise in informal settlement upgrading, including the coordination of the NUSP socio-technical assistance to the City of Cape Town for 32 informal settlements and pioneered the Hangberg Insitu upgrade in 2008.

 Ravikant Singh

Dr Ravikant Singh, Doctors For You









Dr Jacob Arikupuram, Doctors For You


Dr Vaishali Venu, Doctors For You


Nomzamo Mlungu

Nomzamo Mlungu, The City of Cape Town

Nomzamo Mlungu is the Head of Social Housing and Land Restitution at the City of Cape Town. She is a qualified Quantity Surveyor and holds an MBA degree from the UCT Graduate School of Business. She has eighteen years of experience in the construction industry and has had the fortune of being exposed to diverse environments within the industry. She has acquired expertise through working for Quantity Surveying consulting firms, the housing sector, a commercial bank and a property developer in South Africa. She is constantly seeking opportunities to contribute to the gaps that exist within the construction industry particularly in the area of housing delivery.


Eddy Gail, The City of Cape Town



Priti Mohandas, University of Cambridge

Priti is currently a candidate for the MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Cambridge, undertaking research on informal settlement rehabilitation, gender and energy in Cape Town, South Africa whilst also working towards obtaining the RIBA Part II professional qualification in architectural practice.




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