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Dr Najia Zaidi PhD

Dr Najia Zaidi


Research Associate

School of Geography and Planning


My research broadly explores the processes of social and spatial injustices in urban governance and maps its impacts on disadvantaged groups and vulnerable communities. As a human geographer and urban planner I am particularly interested in understanding the power politics of identity-based and politically-driven spatial demarcation in urban public space. I have worked with informal economy workers, ethnic minority and other less advantaged groups to examine the underlying social and structural causes of discrimination and poverty in urban participatory processes and their impact on livelihood capacities.



2019: PhD School of Geography and Planning Cardiff University

2014: Masters in Urban and Regional Planning, NED University

2005: Bachelors in Architecture, NED University

Honours and awards

2019: Second Prize in the ‘Images of Research’, by Doctoral Academy Cardiff University

Professional memberships

Associate Member of PCATP - Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners since 2006

Executive Committee Member of IAP - Institute of Architects Pakistan since 2006

Academic positions

2020-to present: Research Associate, Cardiff University

2017-to present: Teaching Assistant, Cardiff University

2018-2019: Research Associate, Cardiff University

2012-2014: Lecturer, NED University

Speaking engagements

I have presented my work at various national and international research platforms.

  • SIID – 8th Annual Postgraduate Research Conference

‘Exploring Socio-spatial and Political Drivers of the Informal Economy’ – 2017 Sheffield, UK

  • N-AERUS Conference

‘Social Capital: A Tool to Negotiate a Territory in informal economic spaces’ – 2016 Gothenburg, Sweden

  • THAAP Conference

‘Politics of Enclavisation in Informal Trading Spaces: A case of Karachi’ – 2016 Lahore, Pakistan.




My teaching contributes to range of modules in urban planning, urban design and architecture. I have taught both under-graduate and post-graduate students in NED and Cardiff University.

Under-graduate courses

  • Housing and community development
  • Introduction to development studies
  • Urban planning and design
  • Comprehensive environmental design

Post-graduate courses

  • CPT805 – Site Planning, Design and Development
  • CPT866 – Planning City Futures
  • CPT870 – Space and Place: International Planning Practice
  • CPT852 – Urban Design Foundation

My current research examines the barriers ethnic minority communities experience in accessing and participating in outdoor public environments. It investigates the role of institutions in creating the boundaries of participation and the factors underpinning the transforming patterns of inclusion and exclusion in public spaces. Other relevant areas of my research include gender disparity in home-based work, ethnic bordering and community wellbeing and production of conflict in urban economic spaces.

Research projects

Canal and River Trust – Understanding barriers to access  to waterways and its impacts of community wellbeing with Dr Hannah Pitt (Cardiff University), 2019-2021

DFID-ESRC funded project – Economic Recovery in

Post-Conflict cities: The Role of the Urban Informal Economy with Professor Alison Brown (Cardiff University), 2018-2019

External profiles