School of Geography

Image of Arabella Fraser

Arabella Fraser

Nottingham Research Fellow, Faculty of Social Sciences



Arabella is a social and political scientist whose research specialises in the politics of urban resilience in the global South. Prior to joining Nottingham in 2018 she was a Lecturer in International Development at the Open University and a Research Associate in the Geography Department at King's College London. She holds a PhD in International Development (London School of Economics), MSc Politics of Development (London School of Economics) and BA (Hons) in Social and Political Sciences (University of Cambridge). Before joining academia, she worked as a Research Advisor for Oxfam Great Britain, Advisor for UNDP (Rwanda) and Researcher at the Centre for Family and Social Research, Universidad Metropolitana, Caracas, Venezuela. She has continued to work across academic, policy and practice research through projects for the Overseas Development Institute, World Bank, UN-Habitat, and International Institute for Environment and Development. She is an Associate Editor for the journal Climate and Development, and also an Associate Lecturer at the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education.

I currently work across these research projects related to urban resilience:

1. Transforming Urban Adaptation Finance (TRANSFIGURE). (Funded by the University of Nottingham Nottingham Research Fellowship Scheme 2018-2022).

2. Co-Director GCRF Global Engagement Network Climate Change and Urban Violence (2019-2021, led by Prof Nausheen Anwar, Karachi Urban Lab, Institute of Business Administration, Pakistan).

3. GCRF Inter-disciplinary Research Hub 'Tomorrow's Cities'. (Co-I, 2019-2024, led by University of Edinburgh).

4. AHRC-GCRF Urgency Grant 'Supporting Just Response and Recovery to COVID-19 in Informal Urban Settlements: Perspectives from Youth Groups in Sub-Saharan Africa' (Co-I, 2020-2021, led by University of Warwick and Slum Dwellers International).

My past research has investigated the comparative politics of disaster recovery in the Dutch and French Caribbean; the multi-scalar, structural processes shaping local risk management responses to urban coastal flood events in Southern Europe and the Caribbean; and the politics of landslide risk assessment in informal settlements in Bogota, Colombia. Out of this work, I retain a strong interest in decision-making processes for managing retreat and resettlement in response to climate change, understanding the relationship between risk management and development and methods for integrating causal analysis into risk assessment.

Past Research

Journal articles

Fraser, A., M. Pelling, A. Scolobig, S. Mavrogenis (2020) 'Relating root causes to local risk conditions: a comparative study of the institutional pathways to small-scale disasters in three urban flood contexts.' Global Environmental Change.

Collodi, J., M. Pelling, A. Fraser, M. Borie & S. Di Vicenz (2019) 'How do you Build Back Better so no one is left behind? Lessons from St Maarten, Dutch Caribbean, post-Hurricane Irma.' Disasters.

Byskov MF, Hyams K, Poshendra S, Benjamin L, Blackburn S, Borie M, Caney S, Chu E, Edwards G, Fourie K, Fraser A, Heyward C, Jeans H, McQuistan C, Paavola J, Page E, Pelling M, Priest S, Swiderska K, Tarazona M, Thornton T, Twigg J, Venn A., 'An Agenda for Ethics and Justice in Adaptation to Climate Change' (2019) Climate and Development.

Pelling, M., S. Parnell, L. Pasquini, I. Ajibade, H. Leck, C. Johnson, E. Osuteye, S. Boubaca, A. Fraser, A. Barcena & S. Lwasa (2018) 'Africa's Urban Adaptation Transition Under a 1.5 Degree Climate', Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 31: 10-15.

Fraser, A. (2018) 'Informality in the New Urban Agenda: From the Aspirational Policies of Inclusion to the Politics of Constructive Engagement', Planning Theory and Practice, 19 (1): 124-126.

Fraser, A. (2017) 'The Missing Politics of Urban Vulnerability: The State and the Co-production of Climate Risk.' Environment and Planning A, 49 (12): 2835-2852.

Fraser, A., H. Leck, S. Parnell, M. Pelling, D. Brown & S. Lwasa (2017) 'Meeting the challenge of risk-sensitive and resilient urban development in sub-Saharan Africa: Directions for future research and practice.' International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 26: 106-109.

Fraser, A., H. Leck, S. Parnell & M. Pelling (2017) 'Africa's Urban Risk and Resilience.' International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 26: 1-6.

Fraser, A., S. Paterson & M. Pelling (2016) 'Developing Frameworks to Understand Disaster Causation: From Forensic Disaster Investigation to Risk Root Cause Analysis.' Journal of Extreme Events: 3 (2).

Edited volumes

Fraser, A., H. Leck, S. Parnell & M. Pelling (Eds.) (2017) 'Africa's Urban Risk and Resilience' International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 26: 1-110.

Book chapters

Fraser, A. (2016) 'Redefining Risk from Below: Political Responses to Landslide Risk Assessments in the Informal Settlements of Bogota, Colombia' in Urban Poverty and Climate Change: Life in the Slums of Asia, Africa and Latin America, Eds. Roy, M., D. Hulme, M.Hordijk and S. Cawood. Abingdon: Routledge, p.221-237.

Fraser, A., M. Pelling & B. Solecki (2016) 'Understanding Risk in the Context of Urban Development: Definitions, Concepts and Pathways' in Cities on a Finite Planet: Towards transformative responses to climate change, Eds. Sheridan Bartlett and David Satterthwaite. Abingdon: Routledge, p.17-40.

Working papers

Fraser, A. & A. Kirbyshire (2017) 'Supporting Governance for Resilience: Working with Political Institutions.' ODI Working Paper 517: London. August 2017.

School of Geography

Sir Clive Granger Building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact us