Perspectives from Urban Political Ecology & Disaster Studies

Type: Virtual Paper
Theme: HDGC & HRD Symposium: Socio-ecological Justice in Hazards Adaptation
Sponsor Groups: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters Specialty Group, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Urban Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 6
Organizers: Emma Colven, Maria Khristine Alvarez
Chairs: Emma Colven

Call for Submissions

We invite theoretical, empirical, and methodological papers that explore one or more of the following topics:

• Hazard- and disaster-induced dispossession
• Managed retreat and resettlement programs
• Bourgeois environmentalism and climate gentrification;
• Environmental and climate justice movements;
• Climate risk and insurance riskscapes;
• Critical perspectives on disaster ecology;
• (Global) racial capitalism and intersectional approaches to disaster research;
• Participatory planning and community-led disaster preparedness and response;
• Political ecologies of urban disasters;
• The material production of hazardscapes;
• Materialities and objects of urban disaster risk reduction;
• Real estate development in marginal urban areas;
• Critical studies on urban disaster policies and policy networks;
• Studies that center marginalized and underrepresented communities;
• Spatialities of urban adaptation to climate change and natural disasters;
• Urban zoning, redlining and the production of environmental risk and vulnerability;
• Vulnerability studies of communities in low-income, rental and mobile housing.

Interested participants should send a title and abstract of no more than 250 words to emmacolven@ou.edu by November 6, 2020. Participants will be notified of acceptance by November 14 and asked to register for the conference and provide their PIN by November 19.

Relevant Literature

Ajibade, I. (2019). Planned retreat in Global South megacities: disentangling policy, practice, and environmental justice. Climatic Change, 157(2), 299-317.

Ajibade, I and Gordon McBean (2014). Climate extremes and housing rights: A political ecology of impacts, early warning and adaptation constraints in Lagos slum communities. Geoforum (55), 76–86.

Ajibade, I., Pelling, M., Agboola, J., & Garschagen, M. (2016). Sustainability transitions: exploring risk management and the future of adaptation in the megacity of Lagos. Journal of Extreme Events, 3 3), 1650009.

Alvarez, M. K., & Cardenas, K. (2019). Evicting slums, ‘building back better’: Resiliency Revanchism and disaster risk management in Manila. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 43(2), 227–249.

Collins, Timothy W. (2008) The political ecology of hazard vulnerability: marginalization, facilitation and the production of differential risk to urban wildfires in Arizona's White Mountains. Journal of Political Ecology 15(1): 21-43.

Colven, E. (2017) Understanding the allure of big infrastructure: Jakarta’s Great Garuda Wall Project. Water Alternatives, 10(2), 250-264.

Grove, K. (2014). Biopolitics and adaptation: governing socio-ecological contingency through climate change and disaster studies. Geography Compass 8(3), 198-210.

Marks, D. (2015). The Urban Political Ecology of the 2011 Floods in Bangkok: The Creation of Uneven Vulnerabilities. Pacific Affairs, 88 (3), 623-651.

Saguin, K. (2017). Producing an urban hazardscape beyond the city. Environment and Planning A, 49(9), 1968-1985.

Yee, D. K. P. (2018). Constructing reconstruction, territorializing risk: imposing “no-build zones” in post-disaster reconstruction in Tacloban City, Philippines. Critical Asian Studies, 50(1), 103-121.

Zeiderman, A. (2012). On shaky ground: The making of risk in Bogotá. Environment and Planning A, 44(7), 1570–1588.


Description

Political ecology and disasters studies share much common ground. Both fields are committed to explaining the unequal distribution of environmental processes and risks; how socio-spatial positioning shapes our experiences of environmental processes/events; and the role of the state in creating and perpetuating environmental risks and inequalities. This is perhaps unsurprising given the strong influence of the hazards school (Burton et al., 1978) on early political ecology, and its intellectual origins in seeking to provide more critical perspective on hazards, and risk and vulnerability scholarship.

Yet curiously, these fields have since developed largely independently from one another. The last decade has seen the emergence of scholarship bridging political ecology and disaster studies (Collins, 2008; Grove, 2014; Marks, 2015; Colven, 2017; Saguin, 2017); however, this approach remains marginal. We believe that urban political ecologists and disaster researchers could learn from one another in ways that would produce more theoretically robust, critical research that better serves marginalized communities and directly engages with policy and praxis. Disaster researchers, for instance, are generally more effective at linking theory to praxis. They have also contributed to advancing conceptualizations of vulnerability and risk, which are comparatively under-theorized in (urban) political ecology. At the same time, urban political ecology’s radical Marxist roots, critical perspectives on power, and concepts such as metabolism might find new resonances in the field of urban disaster studies.

The opportunity for engagement across these fields is pertinent at this current conjuncture. Coastal cities around the world are grappling with the realities of sea-level rise and increasingly severe storms; normative definitions of urban resilience that maintain the status quo have been adopted by city governments and transnational policy networks; and emergent research is demonstrating how urban adaptation projects often re-intrench inequalities in exposure, risk, and vulnerability (Alvarez & Cardenas 2019), highlighting the urgent need for equitable and just adaption.



References

Alvarez, M. K., & Cardenas, K. (2019). Evicting slums, ‘building back better’: Resiliency Revanchism and disaster risk management in Manila. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 43(2), 227–249.

Collins, Timothy W. (2008) The political ecology of hazard vulnerability: marginalization, facilitation and the production of differential risk to urban wildfires in Arizona's White Mountains. Journal of Political Ecology 15(1): 21-43.

Colven, E. (2017) Understanding the allure of big infrastructure: Jakarta’s Great Garuda Wall Project. Water Alternatives, 10(2), 250-264.

Grove, K. (2014). Biopolitics and adaptation: governing socio-ecological contingency through climate change and disaster studies. G


Agenda

Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Sayd Randle*, University of California Berkeley, Climate Adaptation as Green Gentrification in a Perennial Urban Floodscape 15 3:05 PM
Presenter Luke Drake*, California State University, Northridge, Translocal effects and community response to compounding disasters: urban, peri-urban, and rural change in Vanuatu 15 3:20 PM
Presenter Robert Farnan*, SEI-York, Jonathan Ensor, Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, UK, Richard Friend, University of York, UK, Urban Knowledge Infrastructures and the Political Capabilities of Planning in Nepal and Thailand 15 3:35 PM
Presenter Ven Paolo Bruno Valenzuela*, Graduate Program in Sustainability Science Global Leadership Initiative, The University of Tokyo, Miguel Esteban, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Waseda University, Motoharu Onuki, Graduate Program in Sustainability Science Global Leadership Initiative, The University of Tokyo, Amplifying Risks and Attenuating Resilience: The Middle-class Perception of Urbanization, Disasters, and Climate Change in Metro Manila 15 3:50 PM
Discussant Idowu Ajibade Portland State University 15 4:05 PM

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