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Dr Abid Mehmood

Dr Abid Mehmood

Senior Research Fellow, Sustainable Places Research Institute

School of Social Sciences

+44 29208 76232
2.03, 33 Park Place, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3BA
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision


My broader expertise is in social innovation and sustainable development. I have research experience in climate change, international development, and social cohesion for local and regional policy and practice. I have also conducted research on climate change resilience strategies in London and Northeast England.

I am leading the Cities and sustainable places programme (#SDGAction28077) at Sustainable Places Research Institute. The programme integrates work related to sustainable urban transformations, governance of sustainable places, and spatial analysis and design of the built environment. Other relevant areas include community-led initiatives, sustainable mobility, energy transitions and integrative methods for sustainability research and development.

Impact Metrics:


I completed my Doctorate in Socioeconomic Development from Newcastle University UK, and Research Masters (DEA) in Regional Development from University of Lille, France. I have an MBA in Management Information Systems from Hamdard University. With this background, my research has been primarily of a collaborative and cross-disciplinary nature, involving research partnerships in Africa, Asia, Australasia, North and South Americas, and Europe. I have held visiting positions at Curtin University, Harokopio University of Athens, University of Milan-Bicocca, University of Naples Federico II, KTH Stockholm, KU Leuven, Newcastle University, Middle East Technical University Ankara, Beijing Normal University, and Renmin University of China.

Professional memberships

Speaking engagements

  • 2020: 'Planning for Climate Change', KU Leuven, Belgium (March)
  • 2019: 'Responsible and Inclusive Planning through Digital Social Innovation', State of the Australian Cities Conference, Perth, Australia (3-5 December)
  • 2019: ‘Planning for the Hothouse Earth’, KU Leuven, Belgium (March)
  • 2018: 'Experiences of large field surveys in rural areas: Lessons from Pakistan’, RGS-IBG Annual Conference, Cardiff, UK (28-31 August)
  • 2018: ‘Planning for Climate Change’, KU Leuven, Belgium (April)
  • 2017: ‘Social Innovation for Social and Political Transformation’, Planning Seminar at School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand (18 December)
  • 2017: ‘Social innovation and governance for sustainable place-making’ short course, Renmin University of China (October)
  • 2017: ‘Social Innovation and Restorative Justice’, RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, UK (29 August – 1 September)
  • 2017: 'Making justice accessible through social innovation', International Conference Making Space for Socio-spatial and Socio-ecological Justice, University of the Aegean, Mytilini, Greece (3-5 July)
  • 2017: ‘Resilient places and communities’, KU Leuven, Belgium (April)
  • 2016: Series of lectures on social innovation and sustainable development, Beijing Normal University, China (Nov-Dec)
  • 2016: (Co-chair) ‘Community development, land tenure and social innovation’, United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development - Habitat III, Quito, Ecuador (20 October)
  • 2016: (Keynote) 'Social innovation: from minority sport to game changer’, Habitat III, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito (18 October)
  • 2016: (Chair)  ‘Regeneration, Learning, Experiencing – Three perspectives on the transformative capacity of sustainable place-shaping’ Roundtable session at the UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference, Cardiff, UK (6 September)
  • 2016: ‘Justice and Social Innovation: Mobile courts in Pakistan’, Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD) Annual Conference, Swansea University, UK (13-14 July)
  • 2016: ‘Climate Change Resilience in Planning’, KU Leuven, Belgium (April)
  • 2016: ‘Place based planning for urban resilience’, Planning Seminar at School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand (15 February)
  • 2016: ‘Social Innovation and Ethnic Entrepreneurship’, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research Centre (SIERC) Conference, Collaborating for Impact, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand (10-12 February)
  • 2015: Invited Talk ‘Urban and Regional Development Trajectories in Contemporary Capitalism’ at IJUS Special Session Towards a Neo-Structural Methodology for Urban and Regional Development Analysis, 55th Annual Conference of Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, Justice and The City: (re)Examining the Past to Create the Future, Houston TX, USA (22 October)
  • 2015: ‘Resilience and Climate Change in Planning’, KU Leuven, Belgium (March)
  • 2014: (Keynote) ‘Planning for Resilience: Climate change adaptation strategy for London’, NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, Pakistan (August)
  • 2014: ‘Resilient entrepreneurship: The case of ethnic minority entrepreneurs in the UK’, South Asian International Conference, Islamabad, Pakistan (11-13 August)
  • 2014: ‘Sustainability, Resilience and Climate Change in Planning’, KU Leuven, Belgium (March)
  • 2013: ‘Social innovation in an unsustainable world’, Research Network for Social Enterprise (EMES) Conference If not for profit? For what? And how? Liège, Belgium (1-4 July)
  • 2013: ‘Social innovation and sustainable development’, Regional Studies Association Annual Conference Shape and be Shaped: The Future Dynamics of Regional Development, Tampere, Finland (5-8 May)
  • 2013: ‘Planning for Climate Change’, Middle East Technical University Ankara, Turkey (12 April)
  • 2013: ‘Climate change and planning’, KU Leuven, Belgium (March)
  • 2012: ‘Urban sustainability: Between mimetics and metaphors’, International conference Sustainability Through Biomimicry: Discovering a World of Solutions Inspired by nature, Dammam, Saudi Arabia (26-27 November)
  • 2012: ‘innovation/social/resilience’, Urban Symposium on Justice and the City, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK (16 November)
  • 2012: ‘Social innovation and resilience: A view towards risk governance’, Cardiff International Conference on Sustainable Place-Making, Cardiff, UK (29-30 October)
  • 2012: (Davoudi, S., Brookes, E. and Mehmood, A.) ‘Evolutionary resilience as a strategy for climate change governance’, Cardiff International Conference on Sustainable Place-Making, Cardiff, UK (29-30 October)
  • 2012: ‘Governance and social innovation for social and ecological transition’, Tipping Points Annual Conference, University of Durham, UK (2-3 July)
  • 2012: ‘Social innovation and resilience’, Regional Studies Association Annual Conference, Networked regions and cities in times of fragmentation: Developing smart, sustainable and inclusive places, Delft, Netherlands (13-16 May)
  • 2012: ‘Planning in an Unsustainable World’, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • 2012: ‘(Re)-Placing Utopia: On the perils of abstract ideologies’, International Symposium, Beyond Utopia: Crisis, values and the socialities of nature, University of California Santa Barbara, USA (1-3 March)
  • 2011: ‘Spatial planning and the governance of ecological settlements in the UK’, Regional Studies Association Annual Conference, Regional Development and Policy Development – Challenges, Choices & Recipients, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK (17-20 April)
  • 2011: ‘Spatial Planning in Pakistan: Opportunities and Challenges’, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • 2011: ‘Sustainability in Planning’ KU Leuven, Belgium
  • 2010: ‘Adaptation and Resilience: Securing Regional Futures Through Alliances’, 24th Congress of the Association of European Schools of Planning, Space is Luxury, Helsinki, Finland (7-10 July)
  • 2010: ‘The Weaker Links: Marine Spatial Planning and the Developing Countries’, Marine Spatial Planning Symposium Stepping into the Water: A New Domain for Spatial Planning, Sheffield Hallam University, UK (21 May)
  • 2009: ‘Use of Metaphors in Social Science Analysis’, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
  • 2009: ‘Spatial planning responses to climate change: Climate change vulnerability and planning challenges for small islands’, 23rd Congress of the Association of European Schools of Planning, Why can’t the future be more like the past?, Liverpool, UK (15-18 July)
  • 2009: ‘University as a network institution’, ESDP Network conference, Contemporary Society and Cultural Shifts in Public Policy, Aveiro, Portugal (22-23 June)
  • 2009: ‘Analysing socioeconomic development on small islands: Need for a multidisciplinary approach’, Regional Studies Association Annual Conference, Understanding and Shaping Regions: Spatial, Social and Economic Futures, Leuven, Belgium (6-8 April)
  • 2009: ‘European spatial planning and the role of cities on small islands’, Annual UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference, Unequal Places: Planning and Territorial Cohesion, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK (1-3 April)
  • 2007: ‘Planning for diversity: planning for islands’, International Congress on New concepts and approaches for Urban and Regional Policy and Planning? Leuven, Belgium (2-3 April)
  • 2007: ‘Analysing regional development: From territorial innovation to path dependent development’, International Congress on New concepts and approaches for Urban and Regional Policy and Planning?, Leuven, Belgium (2-3 April)

Committees and reviewing

  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Research in Architecture and Planning
  • Grant Reviewer, European Commission; Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Medical Research Council (MRC) UK; FWF Austria, Flemish Council of Universities and University Colleges (VLUHR), National Science Centre Poland, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), The Research Council of Norway, Swiss National Science Foundation, Czech Ministry of Education Youth and Sports
  • External Expert Adviser, National Assembly for Wales
















My lectures, seminars and tutorials cover topics around social innovation, sustainable development, climate change, behavioural change, urban resilience, and qualitative research methods.

  • Community, Sustainable Health and Well-being (SIR019, School of Social Sciences)
  • Environmental Policy and Climate Change (CPT855, School of Geography and Planning)
  • Critical Perspectives in Social Science (SIT720, School of Social Sciences)
  • Power, Politics, and Policy (SI0206, School of Social Sciences)
  • Web and Social Computing (CMT111, School of Computer Science and Informatics)

I have participated in research and consultancy projects for a range of organisations including DEFRA, ESRC, EPSRC, Leverulme Trust and the European Commission.

Projects and grants

  • ‘Interplay between density, design, and wellbeing towards developing resilient cities’, Royal Academy of Engineering (2020-21)
  • with Behzadian K et al ‘Strategic planning of urban water reuse interventions for community resilience’, Royal Academy of Engineering (2020-21)
  • with Matsika et al ‘Inclusive and accessible public transport system for women and PRMs’, Royal Academy of Engineering (2020-21)
  • with Pala A ‘Community Interest Litigation as a tool for sustainable development in Lesotho’. GCRF Facilitation Grant (2020-21)
  • 'Co-producing plans and strategies for community-based climate action’. ESRC/GCRF Impact Acceleration Award (2020)
  • with Pala A ‘Developing the impact of Community Interest Litigation for sustainable development', ESRC/GCRF Impact Acceleration Award (2020)
  • with Swensen G 'Sustainable Adaptation - Resilience in Urban Regeneration'. Research Council of Norway (2019-21)
  • with Brown A and Mackie P ‘Economic Recovery in Post-Conflict Cities: The Role of the Urban Informal Economy’. ESRC-DFID. ES/M008789/1 (2016-19)
  • 'Institutional change for sustainable placemaking'. International Collaboration Seedcorn Fund (2017-18)
  • 'Towards an agenda for sustainable food governance'. Cardiff University – KU Leuven Joint Collaboration Fund (2017)
  • with Rana O ‘Information Models for the "Sharing Economy"’. Cardiff University CUROP grant (2016)
  • with Roep D et al ‘Sustainable Place-Shaping’ SUSPLACE. European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska Curie ITN  (2015-19)
  • 'Low Carbon Planning, Innovation and Management'. Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) DTC Award, co-funded with Brecon Beacons National Park Authority (2015-18)
  • 'Making sense of financial consumption for ethnic minorities in Wales'. Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) DTC Award (2014-18) in collaboration with Islamic Banking and Finance Centre (IBFC) UK
  • 'Sustainable Urban Regeneration', European Commission Erasmus Intensive Programme (2013-14)
  • 'Biodiversity and Food Security: Developing Collaborative Policy for Seagrass Conservation in Turks and Caicos Islands'. Darwin Initiative DEFRA for UK Overseas Territories Challenge Fund, Round 18 (2012-13)
  • International seminar series on Environmental Governance. Cardiff University Graduate College (2011-12)
  • 'Planning Responses to Climate Change in the North East England'. Newcastle University Humanities Arts and Social Sciences Research Fund (2009-10)
  • 'Adaptation and Resilience in Cities: Analysis and Decision making using Integrated Assessment' ARCADIA. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) (2009-10)
  • 'Social Platform on Cities and Social Cohesion' SOCIALPOLIS. European Commission FP7 (2008-10)
  • 'Growing Inequality and Social Innovation: Alternative Knowledge and Practice in Overcoming Social Exclusion in Europe' KATARSIS. European Commission FP6 (2006-09)
  • 'Development Models and Logics of Socioeconomic Organization in Space' – DEMOLOGOS. European Commission FP6 (2004-07)


I am interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas:

  • Social innovation
  • Global development related challenges
  • Social and ethnic entrepreneurship
  • Sustainable development and climate emergency
  • Environmental planning
  • Social and public policy and governance
  • Resilience thinking

Current supervision

Muhammed Ahmed

Research student

Catia Rebelo

Catia Rebelo

Research student

Som Wolf

Research student

Past projects

Completed PhD theses

  • Lorena Axinte (Marie Curie ITN) 'Regenerative city-regions? A case study of Cardiff Capital Region and its future generations' (2016-20)
  • Kate O’Sullivan (ESRC +3) ‘The Impacts of Energy Transitions on Vulnerable Peripheral Communities in National Parks’ (2015-20)