The September issue of Pacific Affairs is a special issue titled, “Governing Flooding in Asia’s Urban Transition.”
In the special issue Introduction, guest editors Michelle Miller and Mike Douglass explore how diverse and divided societies in urbanizing Asia deal with flooding events from a governance perspective. The introduction highlights a set of central concerns in the ongoing search for more effective and inclusive governance in dealing with the multiple causes and cascading impacts of flooding disasters in Asia’s urbanizing populations.
In the following article, “Water, Water Everywhere: Toward Participatory Solutions to Chronic Urban Flooding in Jakarta,” authors Rita Padawangi and Mike Douglass examine Jakarta’s era of chronic flooding as a consequence of complex combinations of global climate change and human transformations of the urban landscape. This article’s political ecology framework relates the expansion of the capital city’s mega-urban region with compound disasters that come with flooding, in the context of the continuous spatial marginalization of disadvantaged groups as well as possibilities of community mobilizations as alternative flood responses. They further argue that flood-resilient communities are rooted in non-emergency times through the expansion of rights to live in the city, which are expressed in initiatives such as building houses and creating vernacular communities.
Next, Devanathan Parthasarathy’s article, “Informality, Resilience, and the Political Implications of Disaster Governance,” looks at how informal sector actors played a key role in Mumbai’s resilience to disastrous floods in 2005. The author argues for more imaginative disaster mitigation and management strategies that recognize the role of informal sector workers in post-disaster resilience. It is suggested that paying attention to and involving informal sector actors in disaster governance can both augment the quality of disaster management and enhance the possibility of greater integration of the city’s marginalized and excluded groups into its mainstream social fabric.
This is followed by Michael DiGregorio’s article, “Bargaining with Disaster: Flooding, Climate Change, and Urban Growth Ambitions in Quy Nhon City, Vietnam.” Here DiGregorio argues that while the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam frequently notes the vulnerability of the country’s cities to climate change and has instituted programs to address it, evidence of change at the local level is scarce. In fact, as Vietnam’s cities grow, so have their vulnerabilities to climate related threats. This article, which uses a problem-driven political economy approach to analyze Quy Nhon City’s urban growth ambitions, concludes that failure to address climate vulnerabilities is largely a result of incentives embedded in land administration and urban development regulations that encourage cities to target growth as a means of moving up the urban class hierarchy.
In his contribution, “Risky Change? Vietnam’s Urban Flood Risk Governance between Climate Dynamics and Transformation,” author Matthias Garschagen looks at how Vietnam’s cities are not only rapidly transforming along with the country’s politico-economic change but are also recognized as being increasingly affected by natural hazards and the projected impacts of climate change. The article analyzes the resulting flood governance challenges and examines how the responsibilities and capacities for risk reduction and adaptation are negotiated and shared within the country’s changing political economy. The findings suggest that the transformation process has not only produced mixed and socially stratified effects on vulnerability amongst urban residents but has also led to mismatches between state and non-state action for risk mitigation.
Author Danny Marks, in his article, “The Urban Political Ecology of the 2011 Floods in Bangkok: The Creation of Uneven Vulnerabilities,” uses an urban political ecology analysis to question the discourses used by Thai government leaders about the causes of the 2011 floods in Bangkok and the solutions that they have proposed in response. In contrast to their argument that the main causes of the floods in Bangkok were climate change and nature, the author argues that the causes of the 2011 are compound. They are a result of human-nature interactions: while Thailand did receive heavy rainfall that year, a number of human activities interacted with this heavy rainfall to create uneven vulnerabilities to the floods.
Closing out this special issue, in “Links between Floods and Other Water Issues in the Himalayan and Tibetan Plateau Region,” authors Robert J. Wasson and Barry Newell examine how damaging floods in the Tibeto-Himalayan region are part of a complex human-environment system. The dynamics of such floods involve interactions between water supply, pollution, groundwater, and glacial melt. The authors present dynamic hypotheses concerning these interactions, and point out their relevance to policy makers and managers.
Pacific Affairs is an interdisciplinary journal committed to advancing empirical and conceptual knowledge in the field of Asia Pacific-focussed area studies. We view area studies as combining serious commitment to original research on specific regions and countries in Asia and the Pacific with insights and analytical rigour derived from multiple disciplines and various theoretical perspectives.
Impact Factor Score: .562 (22 out of 65 Area Studies journals) – cites in 2014 to articles published in 2012 and 2013.
5-Year Impact Factor Score: 0.855 (16 out of 65 Area Studies journals) – cites in 2014 to articles published from 2009 to 2013
Immediacy Index Score: 0.087 (23 out of 65 Area Studies journals) – cites in 2014 of articles published in 2014
Article Influence® Score: 0.451 (17 out of 65 Area Studies journals)
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Pacific Affairs is a peer-reviewed, independent, and interdisciplinary scholarly journal focussing on important current political, economic and social issues throughout Asia and the Pacific. Each issue contains approximately five new articles and 40-45 book reviews. Published continuously since 1928 under the same name, Pacific Affairs has been located on the beautiful campus of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, since 1961. The journal is committed to providing to the scholarly community and the world at large high quality research on Asia and the Pacific that takes readers beyond the headlines and across multiple disciplines.
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