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Durham University

Research & business

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Dr Hanna Ruszczyk

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Post Doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42364
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 237
Assistant Professor (Research) in the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience

Contact Dr Hanna Ruszczyk (email at


At the present time, I am the postdoctoral research associate at Durham University’s Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience. 

My postgraduate research in the Department of Geography argued for a broader and deeper understanding of urban risk perception in ordinary medium sized cities of the world such as Bharatpur, Nepal. The research considered an intra urban comparison of residents' perceptions of risk in a core urban mixed usage ward and a rapidly urbanising ward. Risk perceptions were impacted by the 2015 Gorkha earthquake and change in municipal status. Understanding the relationship between the everyday and events is essential to understanding how residents cope as well as how they change their urban environment. Through the lens of these two events as well as the everyday, the role of the local authority is viewed as a particularly important form of risk governance. The local authority manages the informality of risk governance space allowing some groups of residents to address their perceived risks while excluding large segments of urban residents. In parallel, the international aid community's ambivalence towards the concept of resilience framing their work is made visible. Power relations are ignored and the resilience discourse is at odds with urban residents' perceptions of risk and the manner in which risks are addressed.

My Master of Art’s by Research (50,000 words) was on the topic of ‘Local understandings of community resilience in earthquake prone Nepal’.


My research is concerned with urban risk and resilience governance strategies and frameworks in cities of the global South. I investigate which portfolio of risks different scales of government are concerned with and which they govern for. Exploring how residents manage their interpretation of risk and how residents interact with local authorities is also a key area of my research. Understanding how the international aid community, different scales of government, and urban residents interact to make regional cities resilient and liveable is an additional element of my research. 

I have spent most of my career living and working in countries that are rapidly changing and urbanising. My international development work, primarily with United Nations agencies (International Labour Organisation and United Nations Development Programme), has focused on livelihoods and local economic development in several countries. One of my professional strengths is my ability to build relationships with a wide range of stakeholders in different fields and to collaborate for a common purpose. I am particularly keen to ensure my research is of relevance to practitioners, policy makers and governments. 

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Dixit, Amod Mani, Shrestha, Surya Narayan, Guragain, Ramesh, Jimee, Ganesh, Dhungel, Ranjan, Pradhan, Suman, Shrestha, Nisha, Acharya, Surya Prasad, Adhikari, Sujan Raj, Bhattarai, Kapil & Ruszczyk, Hanna A. (2018). Earthquake Risk Reduction Efforts in Nepal: NSET’s Experience. In Evolving Narratives of Hazard and Risk. Bracken, L.J., Ruszczyk, H.A. & Robinson, T. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. 15-43.
  • Ruszczyk, H.A. & Robinson, T. (2018). Introduction to the Gorkha Earthquake. In Evolving narratives of hazard and risk: The Gorkha earthquake, Nepal, 2015. Bracken, L.J., Ruszczyk, H.A. & Robinson, T. Palgrave Macmillan. 3 - 13.
  • Robinson, T., Ruszczyk, H.A. & Bracken, L.J. (2018). Looking and Moving Forward. In Evolving narratives of hazard and risk: The Gorkha earthquake, Nepal, 2015. Bracken, L.J., Ruszczyk, H.A. & Robinson, T. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. 183-192.
  • Ruszczyk, Hanna A. (2018). Reflecting on the 2015 Gorkha earthquake, tread carefully. In The Routledge Handbook of Green Social Work. Dominelli, Lena Abingdon, Oxon New York, NY: Routledge. 500-510.
  • Ruszczyk, Hanna A. (2018). The Earthquake and Ideas Lying Around. In Evolving Narratives of Hazard and Risk, The Gorkha Earthquake, Nepal, 2015. Bracken, Louise A., Ruszczyk, Hanna & Robinson, Tom Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. 125-139.

Edited book

Journal Article

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