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Studies show that preparing pro-poor climate action in urban centres requires that lessons from the lived experience of climate varibility are combined with insights about the larger physical context of places, both significant for understanding a broad range of sources of vulnerability (Roy, Cawood, Hordijk & Hulme 2016). Approaches dealing with these distinct appreciations, nevertheless, pertain to different scales, disciplines and organizations, and rarely converge in their results. As separate, they may be too confined (e.g. to community level actions) to counter larger hazards or lack sufficient resolution to acknowledge the impacts of climate variability on the most vulnerable populations. Disproportionate differences in these assessments might endorse high cost, radical, inadequate or even unnecessary measures (e.g. large gray infrastructure and resettlement). It remains to be seen how approaches and methods can be integrated to jointly address the conditions of vulnerability created by poverty and climate hazards (UN Habitat 2011). Whilst the role of local planning agencies in solving this question has been deemed crucial for some time now, in absense of built critical capacities, new coalitions of researchers, communities and ngo’s (among others) have taken the lead in producing knowledge and offering guidance to local authorities (Roy, Cawood, Hordijk & Hulme 2016; Moser, Norton, Georgina & Stein 2010). Thus broadly, the research aims to understand how future adaptation initiatives today emerging as a form of action-research deeply rooted in the knowledge of local communities can critically engage with dominant (often large scale) frameworks in the context of Guayaquil, in Ecuador. The project’s inquiry emerged from ongoing collaborations with urban movement CUBE and communities in the Suburbio, a low-income and largely self-organized settlement lying on a former vast mangrove swampland bordering the El Salado estuary. In development and progressive densification since the 1950s el Suburbio can be understood today as consolidated, yet new struggles for land and citizenship are arising in particular for riverbank communities, coupled with uncertainty about hazards expected to worsen under the effects of climate change (tidal flooding and storm surges, sea level rise). The doctoral dissertation expects to contribute to our understanding of how through collaborative practices, urban practitioners can support the coalenscence of new networks and simultaneously address interscalar questions of development and climate change adaptation.

Date:8 Jul 2020 →  Today
Keywords:Pro-poor Adaptation, Urbanism, Action Research
Disciplines:Urbanism and regional planning
Project type:PhD project