2023 – Plenary sessions

Keynote Address

Karachi: A society in flux

Arif Hasan, Architect, Planner and Chairperson, Karachi Urban resource Center

Arif Hasan is an architect, planner, and social scientist. He is the author of a number of books on planning, social change, and the history and monuments of Karachi. He was the advisor and then chairperson of the Orangi Pilot Project Research and Training Institute and the founding chairperson of the Urban Resource Centre (URC). Both projects have received international acclaim. He is also the architect of award-winning architectural projects, and he has received a large number of prestigious national and international awards for his work.

Talk 1 – Thermal (In)Justice & the City: Living with Everday Risks of Extreme Heat and Surviving in the Anthropocene in the urban Global South

Dr Nausheen H. Anwar, Professor City & Regional Planning, School of Economics & Social Sciences, IBA, Karachi, Director, Karachi Urban Lab (KUL)

Extreme heat is now affecting one-tenth of Earth’s land area, with an eightfold increase in record-breaking hot months over the past decade and ensuing deaths and bodily harms. The IPCC Working Group II Sixth Assessment Report has underscored that increasing heat and humidity will create conditions that test human tolerance. These will also impact the interconnected food-livelihoods-water-energy-health systems. Heat is largely understood in terms of temperature or as a disembodied and apolitical thing with no history and detached from lived experiences embedded in the built environment. However, for ordinary citizens, experiences of heat or thermal suffering are bodily, intimate, and political; they present new kinds of risks an age of global warming. I will talk about heat and associated risks as something that must be understood as socially embedded, place-based, embodied and as a historically contingent process that extends beyond the brief moments of heat waves. My talk will also focus on the term ‘thermal (in)justice” to think about the role of urban planning and, more broadly, distributional concerns that relate to the built environment and urban futures.

Talk 2 – Highly populated deltas facing climate and environmental changes: adaptation challenges

Dr Sylvie Fanchette, Geographer, CESSMA, IRD, Paris

Deltas have a long record of adapting to natural hazards and accustomed to being highly exposed to environmental risks. But they are among the most affected by climate and environmental changes because they are low lying areas, host high density of vulnerable population affected by hazards. Their future depends on the nature of negotiations among riverine countries and local policy, and on how they are integrated in globalisation and coastalisation of their economies. However, delta societies have a long record of living with floods and adapting to hazards. Their notion and representation of risk is different from the Western “positive” science (like beautiful floods concept in Mekong delta). This presentation intends to analyse the contradiction between the top down and bottom approaches of adaptation in several delta and the conditions for a better integration of “living with floods strategies” in management policies.

Talk 3 – Volontary (non-)migration and Environmental Risk

Dr Bishawjit Mallick, Associate Professor Climate Change and International Development Studies, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University

‘Voluntary non-migration’ is a largely under-researched topic, especially within the climate change adaptation discourse and has increasingly come to the attention of scientists and policymakers for sustainable adaptation planning. So far, there exists hardly any conceptual and methodical guidelines to study environmental non-migration. Considering this research gap, this paper explores environmental non-migration based on the notion that factors of livelihood resilience can describe the decision of non-migration. This includes societal and environmental factors on the community and the individual/household level. They are supposed to inform migration decisions taken in case of a hazard or creeping change of the environment. Their influence generalizes the spectrum of migration and non-migration decision-making conceptualized by four broad outcomes of voluntary and involuntary non-migrants and migrants. This analytical concept is operationalized through examples of concrete factors with respective indicators. An empirical study is used to assess environmental migration and non-migration in southwest coastal Bangladesh. The results suggest that Livelihood Resilience Index (LRI) has a relationship to the voluntary nature of decisions once they are made, but a household’s resilience cannot predict the decisions the household will make to stay or migrate. The paper concludes that the proposed analytical concept, with its exemplary factors, maybe an initial means of how to holistically explore migration decisions in the context of natural hazards and climate and environmental change. However, voluntary non-migration remains complex and multi-faceted, and its assessment requires deeper examination at various scales.

Keywords: Environmental Non-Migration; Livelihood Resilience; Migration Decisions; Environmental Risks; Household level.

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