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Assoc Prof Gina Ziervogel


Associate Professor

Room: 4.03.1
Tel: 021-6504796

DPhil (Oxford), Hons (Rhodes), Bsc (UCT)

Academic Profile

Associate Professor Gina Ziervogel is a geographer by training, with 18 years of experience in the field of adaptation and vulnerability to global environmental change. She is a lecturer in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science researching issues related to development in a context of climate change. Through this she has focused on a number of areas including municipal adaptation strategies, adaptation governance, institutional barriers and enablers to adaptation and transdisciplinary processes for urban transformation. Gina completed her PhD in Geography at the University of Oxford in 2002 after completing her BSc at the University of Cape Town and her Honours in Environmental Water Management at Rhodes University.

Research Interests

  • Adaptation to climate change 
  • Building adaptive and transformative capacity across scales
  • Southern African development under climate change
  • Urban environmental governance
  • Applied research and engaged scholarship
  • Transdisciplinary research and action


The Cape Town drought:

I have been involved in the Cape Town drought, in an advisory capacity, research capacity and communication capacity - please see related material here 


Selected Publications


Ziervogel, G., J. Enqvist, L. Metelerkamp, and J. van Breda. 2021. Supporting transformative climate adaptation: Community-level capacity building and knowledge co-creation in South Africa. Climate Policy 0(0):1–16.

Enqvist, J., G. Ziervogel, L. Metelerkamp, J. van Breda, N. Dondi, T. Lusithi, A. Mdunyelwa, Z. Mgwigwi, M. Mhlalisi, S. Myeza, G. Nomela, A. October, W. Rangana, and M. Yalabi. 2020. Informality and water justice: community perspectives on water issues in Cape Town’s low-income neighbourhoods. International Journal of Water Resources Development.

Hamann, R., L. Makaula, G. Ziervogel, C. Shearing, and A. Zhang. 2020. Strategic responses to grand challenges: Why and how corporations build community resilience. Journal of Business Ethics 161(4):835–853.

Hamann, M., R. Biggs, L. Pereira, R. Preiser, T. Hichert, R. Blanchard, H. W. Coetzee, N. King, A. Merrie, W. Nilsson, K. van der Leun, S. Poskitt, D. Betancourt Sanchez, and G. Ziervogel. 2020. Scenarios of good anthropocenes in southern Africa. Futures:102526.

Humphrey, G. J., L. Gillson, and G. Ziervogel. 2020. How changing fire management policies affect fire seasonality and livelihoods. Ambio:1–17.

Matikinca, P., G. Ziervogel, and J. P. Enqvist. 2020. Drought response impacts on household water use practices in Cape Town, South Africa. Water Policy:1–18.

Potter, E., F. Miller, E. Lövbrand, D. Houston, J. McLean, E. O’Gorman, C. Evers, and G. Ziervogel. 2020. A manifesto for shadow places: Re-imagining and co-producing connections for justice in an era of climate change. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space 0(0):251484862097702.

Ziervogel, G. 2020. Climate urbanism through the lens of informal settlements. Urban Geography 00(00):1–5.

Ziervogel, G. (2019) Building transformative capacity for adaptation planning and implementation that works for the urban poor: Insights from South Africa. Ambio.

Borie, M. et al., 2019. Mapping narratives of urban resilience in the global south. Global environmental change, 54, pp.203–213.

Enqvist, J.P. & Ziervogel, G., 2019. Water governance and justice in Cape Town : An overview. WIRES Water, 6, pp.1–15.

Harris, L.M., Chu, E. & Ziervogel, G., (2018). Negotiated resilience. Resilience. 6.3. 196-214 

Jordhus-Lier, D., A. Saaghus, D. Scott and G. Ziervogel (2018). Adaptation to flooding, pathway to housing or ‘wasteful expenditure’? Governance configurations and local policy subversion in a flood-prone informal settlement in Cape Town, Geoforum.

Romero-Lankao, P. and Bulkeley, H. and Pelling, M. and Burch, S. and Gordon, D. and Gupta, J. and Johnson, C. and Kurian, P. and Lecavalier, E. and Simon, D. and Tozer, L. and Ziervogel, G. and Munshi, D. (2018) 'Realizing the urban transformative potential in a changing climate.', Nature climate change. 8, 30. 754-756.

Scott, D., Iipinge, K.N., Mfune, J.K.E., Muchadenyika, D., Makuti, O.V. and Ziervogel, G. (2018). The Story of Water in Windhoek: A Narrative Approach to Interpreting a Transdisciplinary Process. Water 2018, 10(10), 1366;

Ziervogel, G. (2018). Climate Adaptation and Water Scarcity in Southern Africa. Current History. 181-186.

Baudoin, M.A. & Ziervogel, G., (2017). What role for local organisations in climate change adaptation? Insights from South Africa. Regional Environmental Change, 17(3), pp.691–702.

Rodina, L., Baker, L A., Galvin, M., Golden, J., Harris, L M., Manungfala, T., Musemwa, M., Sutherland, C., & G. Ziervogel (2017). Water, equity and resilience in Southern Africa: future directions for research and practice. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 26-27: 143-151.

Singh, C. et al., (2017). The utility of weather and climate information for adaptation decision making: current uses and future prospects in Africa and India. Climate and Development, 0(0), pp.1–17.

Ziervogel, G. et al. (2017). Inserting Rights and Justice into Urban Resilience: A Focus on Everyday Risk. Environment and Urbanization, 29(1), pp.123–138.

Ziervogel, G., Pasquini, L. & Haiden, S., (2017). Nodes and networks in the governance of ecosystem-based adaptation: the case of the Bergrivier municipality, South Africa. Climatic Change.

Magnan, A. K., E.L.F. Schipper, M. Burkett, S. Bharwani, I. Burton, S. Eriksen, F. Gemenne, J. Schaar, and G. Ziervogel. (2016). Addressing the Risk of Maladaptation to Climate Change.” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change. doi:10.1002/wcc.409.

Mahlanza, L., Ziervogel, G. & Scott, D., (2016). Water, Rights and Poverty: an Environmental Justice Approach to Analysing Water Management Devices in Cape Town. Urban Forum, pp.1–20.

Salzmann, N., Huggel, C., Nussbaumer, S.U., Ziervogel, G. (2016). Setting the scene: adapting to climate change – a large-scale challenge with local-scale impacts. In Salzmann, N., Huggel, C., Nussbaumer, S.U., Ziervogel, G. (eds.) Climate Change Adaptation Strategies – An Upstream-downstream Perspective, pp. 3-15. Springer.

Ziervogel, G., Cowen, A. & Ziniades, J., (2016). Moving from adaptive to transformative capacity : building foundations for inclusive, thriving and regenerative urban settlements. Sustainability, 8, pp.1–26. (Download article).

Ziervogel, G., Archer van Garderen, E. and Price, P. (2016). Strengthening the science-policy interface through co-production of a climate adaptation plan: leveraging opportunities in Bergrivier municipality, South Africa. Environment and Urbanization.  1-20. (Abstract)

Ziervogel, G., Waddell, J., Smit, W. and Taylor, A. (2016). Flooding in Cape Town’s Informal Settlements: Barriers to Collaborative Urban Risk Governance. South African Geographical Journal 98 (1): 1–20. doi:10.1080/03736245.2014.924867.

Shackleton, S. Ziervogel, G. Sallu, S. Gill, T. and Tschakert, P., (2015) Why is socially-just climate change adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa so challenging? A review of barriers identified from empirical cases. WIREs Climate Change. 6. 321-344. doi: 10.1002/wcc.335

Ziervogel, G., New, M., Archer Van Garderen, E., Midgley, G., Taylor, A., Hamann, R. Stuart-hill, S., Myers, J. and Warburton, M. (2014). Climate change impacts and adaptation in South Africa. WIRES Climate Change. 5. 5. 605-620. doi:10.1002/wcc.295 (Download Article)

Pasquini, L., Ziervogel, G., Cowling, R. M., & Shearing, C. (2014). What enables local governments to mainstream climate change adaptation? Lessons learned from two municipal case studies in the Western Cape, South Africa. Climate and Development, 0(0), 1-11. doi:10.1080/17565529.2014.886994

Pasquini, L., Cowling, R.M. & Ziervogel, G. (2013) Facing the heat: barriers to mainstreaming climate change adaptation in local government in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Habitat International 40: 225-232.​​​​​​​

Wiid, N. and Ziervogel, G. (2012) Adapting to climate change in South Africa: commercial farmers' perception of and response to changing climate. South African Geographical Journal. 94 (2). 152-173.​​​​​​​

Frayne, B., Moser, C. and Ziervogel, G. (eds).  (2012) Climate change, assets and food security in southern African cities. Routledge. Abingdon, U.K.​​​​​​​

Wågsæther, K. and Ziervogel, G.  (2011). Bridging the communication gap: An exploration of the climate science-water management interface. Environment. 53. 3. 33-43.

Quinn, C.H., Ziervogel, G., Takama, T., Taylor, A. and Thomalla, F. (2011) Coping with multiple stresses in rural South Africa. Ecology and Society. 16 (3): 2. [online] URL:

Ziervogel, G. and Ericksen, P. (2010). Adapting to climate change to sustain food security. WIRES Climate Change. 1. 525-540.​​​​​​​

Ziervogel, G, Shale, M. and Du, M (2010). Climate change adaptation in a developing country context: The case of urban water supply in Cape Town. Climate and Development. 2. 94-110.​​​​​​​

Ziervogel, G., Johnston, P., Matthew, M. and Mukheibir, P. (2010) Using climate information for supporting climate change adaptation in water resource management in South Africa. Climatic Change. 103. 3-4. 537-554.​​​​​​​

Ziervogel G and Zermoglio F (2009) Climate-change scenarios and the development of adaptation strategies in Africa: challenges and opportunities. Climate Research, 40(2-3): 133-146.

O'Brien K, Quinlan T and Ziervogel G (2009). Vulnerability interventions in the context of multiple stressors: lessons from the Southern Africa Vulnerability Initiative (SAVI).Environmental Science and Policy. 12 (1) 23-32.​​​​​​​

Ziervogel, G. and Drimie, S. (2008). The integration of support for HIV/AIDS and livelihood security: District level institutional analysis in southern Africa. Population and Environment. 28. 3-4.​​​​​​​

Ziervogel, G., Nyong, A., Osman-Elasha, B. Conde, C., Cortés, S. and Downing, T. (2008) 'Household food security and climate change: comparisons from Nigeria, Sudan, South Africa and Mexico'. In Leary, Conde, Kulkarni, Nyong and Pulhin. Climate Change and Vulnerability. Earthscan.​​​​​​​

Ziervogel, G. and Taylor, A. (2008). Feeling Stressed: Integrating Climate Adaptation with Other Priorities in South Africa. Environment. 50, 2. 32-41.​​​​​​​

Mukeibir, P. and Ziervogel, G. (2007). Developing a Municipal Adaptation Plan (MAP) for climate change: the city of Cape Town. Environment & Urbanization. 19(1).​​​​​​​

Ziervogel, G., Bharwani, S. and Downing, T.E. (2006). Adapting to climate variability: pumpkins, people and policy. Natural Resource Forum. 30 (4). 294-305.

Please see my personal webpage for a list of links to my older publications