In my doctoral work, I address the gap in the empirical and theoretical understanding of how resilience thinking is applied in the context of water governance, broadly defined. More specifically, I study the intersection of water governance, resilience and environmental justice in urban contexts. I study the nascent challenges to urban water governance in the face of global environmental change and the implications for transformation in the urban water sector. I engage critically with resilience, evaluating the various ways in which resilience thinking and planning agendas are (re)shaping urban water governance across different scales. With a specific focus on a case study from South Africa, I theorize and develop a situated understanding of water resilience – attentive to specific biophysical environments, lived experiences, socio-political and governance contexts, power and marginalization – for water experts and decision-makers on one hand, and residents of impoverished, peri-uban and informal settlements on the other. My work further informs the possibilities for addressing equity and social justice concerns within a resilience framework, by investigating the discursive and practical manifestations of questions of poverty, inequality and differentiated water-related vulnerabilities in water governance. Ultimately, this project aims to engage with resilience thinking critically by investigating the different dimensions in which resilience can be evaluated.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
I truly enjoyed fieldwork the most. I did mine in South Africa over several trips during my Master's and my PhD. Being outside of my comfort zone, meeting new people and navigating complex social, cultural and political dynamics have been the greatest learning experiences for me.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
Vancouver does not have a "big city" feel to it.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I moved to Vancouver for the outdoors activities it has to offer. UBC happens to be a great school in a great place.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
Independent research and possibilities for fieldwork were most attractive to me, in addition to working with great, like-minded, interdisciplinary scholars.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
The academic world is highly competitive and it is often quite challenging to make a real impact.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
My program has prepared me by teaching me to think critically and to be brave enough to follow my hunches.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
Natural curiosity and some healthy stubbornness probably prepared me best for my graduate studies.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
Rock climbing, snowboarding and yoga are the things I like to do the most. I try to go outside as much as possible in all seasons.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
An open mind and willingness to challenge your own ideas about the world will lead you on a great journey – tough at times, but immensely rewarding at the end.