The Political Ecology of Urban Flood Risk and Management: Dialogues across the North-South Divide - Floodplain Management and Adaptation

Type: Paper
Theme: Hazards, Geography, and GIScience
Sponsor Groups: Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Urban Geography Specialty Group, Water Resources Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM (MDT)
Room: Napoleon B3, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Organizers: Emma Colven, Nate Millington, Malini Ranganathan
Chairs: Emma Colven


In contrast to the rich literature on the politics of piped water and water scarcity, scholars within critical human geography and urban political ecology have only recently begun to substantially engage with urban flooding (Mustafa 2005; Smith 2006; Padawangi 2014; Ranganathan 2015; Arabindoo 2016; Cousins 2017). In the wake of deadly flood events and violent storms this year across South Asia, the US, and the Caribbean, there is a need for further research into the political ecologies of urban flooding in contemporary cities. This session aims to contribute to this research agenda by critically reflecting on the politics and history of urban flood risk and flood management in cities around the world.

Informed by scholarship in postcolonial urban theory and creative ways of rethinking comparative urbanism (Robinson 2006, 2011), this session intends to facilitate a dialogue across cities of the global north and the global south. While mainstream urban theory has long assigned northern and southern cities distinct literatures and conceptual categories, the planetary scale of climate change and urbanization -- and the recognition of the coloniality of urban ecologies within the global North -- have further eroded the validity of such dualisms. More than ever, there is a need to create opportunities for dialogue and learning across diverse cities to critically examine the entanglements of ecological and urban processes. In this session we ask: what new insights regarding the causes and implications of unequal flood risk can be gleaned from engaging in 'transnational learning' (Ranganathan 2015)? What can we learn about the social, political, and ecological dimensions of urban flooding and flood management by posing 'third world questions of the first world' (Roy 2003)?


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Joshua Cousins*, Dartmouth College, Configuring socio-technical relations: Flood control, weaponization, and urban sustainability at Morris Dam 15 1:20 PM
Presenter Samantha Hamlin*, Portland State University, Lone wolves and copycats: A survey of floodplain administrators throughout Oregon 15 1:35 PM
Presenter Joshua Lewis*, Tulane University, Henrik Ernstson, Manchester University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, University of Cape Town, Contesting the Coast: Ecosystems as Infrastructure in the Mississippi River Delta 15 1:50 PM
Presenter Shruti Syal*, University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign, “Nuisance”-based Slum Evictions & the Inequity of Environmental Risk 15 2:05 PM
Discussant Malini Ranganathan American University 20 2:20 PM

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