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Department of Geography


Nida Rehman BArch, SMarchS

PhD candidate, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge

My PhD research examines historical relationships between water infrastructure, unintended ecologies and urban landscapes, focusing on how non-human actors like mosquitoes, water and invasive plants shape and are shaped by cultures of knowledge production and development across urban and global contexts.



  • 2009 Master of Science in Architectural Studies (SMArchS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 2002: Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch), Cornell University


  • 2012-2015 Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 2011 Adjunct Professor, Department of Architecture, American University of Sharjah
  • 2009- 2010, Architect and Project Manager, ORG Architects and Urban Designers
  • 2007-2008 Teaching and Research Assistant, Department of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 2006-2007 Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore
  • 2005-2007 Architect, SR DesignWorks, Lahore
  • 2002-2005 Architect, Rafael Viñoly Architects, New York

Funding and awards

  • Downing College Graduate Travel Fund Grant (2016)
  • PhD Studentship Award through ERC funded project “Rethinking Urban Nature” (2015-2018)
  • PhD Studentship Award, Foundation for Urban and Regional Studies (2015-2016)
  • Visiting Scholar Program Grant, Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (2014-2015)
  • Faculty Research Grant, College of Art and Architecture, The Pennsylvania State University (2013- 2014)
  • Merit Scholarship, MIT Architecture Department (2008)
  • Tuition Award, MIT Architecture Department (2007)


My PhD project, entitled “Urban Vectors: The Politics and Practices of Public Health in Lahore”, explores the historical geography of vector-borne diseases in the city of Lahore, focusing on interventions and experiments with mosquito surveillance, control and eradication since the early twentieth century. Drawing on scholarship in urban political ecology and more-than-human geographies, it aims to examine how vector control measures and their accompanying discourses have sought to bring —often experimentally— mosquitoes, people, urban spaces and municipal practices into collective projects of reform since the early 20th century, linking the city’s material ecologies with global contexts of knowledge production around epidemic disease and water development. It will also critically reassess these issues through new insights into the postcolonial question, particularly how subjectivity and agency may be addressed productively in light of anthropogenic climate change and new forms of subalternity. Methodologically the project is committed to examining the situated complexities of urban nature without foregoing crucial constructivist perspectives. Using archival sources and ethnographic methods it will explore ideas of nature and environment driving public health planning in colonial, post-colonial and contemporary contexts, the practices of vector surveillance and eradication, and the ways in which these are mutually constitutive of the spaces, ecologies, and politics of the city.


Peer reviewed

  • Rehman, N., 2014. Description, display and distribution: cultivating a garden identity in late nineteenth-century Lahore. Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes, 34(2), pp.176-186.
  • Rehman, N., 2010. The Lahore Canal: Artifact and Site. LSE Writing cities programme working paper, 1.

Other publications

  • Rehman, N. and Cardoso Llach, D., (equal contribution) 2016. Functional Utopias: Are Latin America’s Cities Arcadias of Radical Modernism. Urban Flux. (forthcoming)
  • Rehman, N., 2012. The Ghosts of Next Urbanism. Monu, (17), pp.82-87.
  • Rehman, N., 2012. Lahore’s Two Rivers: Stories of Decay and Reform. In: P. Vandal, ed., Lahore: Portrait of a City. Lahore: THAAP Publications.
  • Rehman, N., 2009. From artifact to site : understanding the canal in the city of gardens. [Thesis] Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Available at: <>.

Conference presentations and talks

  • “The aftermath of an experiment: Assembling medical knowledge and urban space at Mian Mir (1901-1909)” Techniques, Technologies and Materialities of Epidemic Control, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge (September 2016)
  • “Materials for Rethinking a Spatial History: Crafting the Garden of the Agri-Horticultural Society of Punjab 1860-1883” Publics and Politics: Global South Asia Conference, New York University, Panel: ‘Architecture’ as a guide through the archive (February 2016)
  • “Situating the Desert: An Examination of the Thal Development Project” Association for American Geographers Annual Meeting, Panel: Grounding Knowledge, Assembling Policies: Urban development and the Global South. Chicago (April 2015)
  • “Natures of Practice: The Work of the Agri-Horticultural Society of Punjab (1851-1883)”. Invited talk at The South Asia Center, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University (March 2015)
  • “Disparate trajectories: Comparing Approaches to Urban River Projects in South Asia” Association for American Geographers Annual Meeting, Panel: Tracing Asian Green Urbanism in a Global Context. Co-author: Aparna Parikh. Tampa, Florida (April 2014)
  • “Canal Cities of the Punjab: Towards an Urban History of an Agricultural Territory” International Water History Association Conference Montpellier, France (June 2013)
  • “Lahore’s Two Rivers: Stories of Decay and Reform” Trust for History Art & Architecture Pakistan (THAAP) Annual Conference, Lahore, Pakistan (November 2011)
  • “Science vs. Storytelling” Invited talk, with Daniel Cardoso Llach. Archiprix 2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA (May 2011)
  • “The Lahore Canal: Artifact and Site” Writing Cities Workshop London School of Economics, London, UK (June 2009)
  • “The Canal In The ‘City Of Gardens'” Research-in-Progress: What Site? History, Theory and Criticism graduate student conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA (April 2009)



  • Instructor, “Basic Design Studio I /II”, The Pennsylvania State University (2012-2015)
  • Instructor, “Architecture and Ideas”, The Pennsylvania State University (2013-2015)
  • Instructor, “Postcolonial and Contemporary Perspectives in South Asian Architecture”, The Pennsylvania State University (Sp & Fa 2013, Fa 2014).
  • Instructor (with Vanessa Miriam Carlow), “Design Inquiry, Berlin Graduate Studio” The Pennsylvania State University (Sp 2013)
  • Instructor, “The History and Culture of Cities”, The Pennsylvania State University (Fa 2012)
  • Instructor, “Design Foundations”, American University of Sharjah (Sp 2011)
  • Teaching Assistant, “Applied Arch Design Studio”, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Fa 2008)
  • Teaching Assistant “Advanced Architectural Design Studio”, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Fa 2007)
  • Instructor, “Third year design studio”, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore (Fa 2006, Sp 2007)


  • Instructor, “Re-Drawing Lahore” Design Research Workshop, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Lahore, Pakistan (June-July 2015)
  • Instructor (with Daniel Cardoso Llach) “Manhattan Promenades”, Archiprix 2011 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (June 2011)

External activities

  • Member, American Association of Geographers (2016)
  • Member, British Association of South Asian Studies (2016)
  • Member, Political Ecology Reading Group, University of Cambridge (2015-onwards)
  • Member, External Advisory Board, Department of Architecture, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Lahore, Pakistan (2013 onwards)
  • Student member, SMArchS admissions committee, Department of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2008)
  • Reviewer: Society & Natural Resources, Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, International Conference 2014