Working Papers

The UCRSEA Working Paper series addresses key issues related to urban climate resilience, the challenges for secondary cities in addressing climate change, and issues of social and environmental justice as related to broader themes of human-environment relations in Southeast Asia. The working paper series can provide in-depth consideration of conceptual, analytical, or methodological issues relating to these challenges. Overall, the series aims to enhance the emerging knowledge on urban climate resilience in Southeast Asia, and on related development and policy challenges for urban climate governance, and to strengthen the analytical analysis and tools of the UCRSEA project.

Enclaves of Capital in Myanmar: Urbanization and the Dawei Special Economy
Carli Melo (Mekong Migration Network)

The Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in southeastern Myanmar (Burma) is
slated to be the largest industrial complex in Southeast Asia. The development
of the SEZ is driving contemporary urbanization and giving rise to uneven
development. Dawei and Karen villagers are being dispossessed of their land and
livelihoods as a direct result of construction and as an indirect result of speculation.
Land grabbing, enabled by the state, is reorganizing labour dynamics as people are
expelled from agriculture without being absorbed elsewhere in the economy. Ms Melo’s research in Dawei on the SEZ and its impacts is influenced by a three-month internship placement in Myanmar through the UCRSEA Partnership. In this paper, she provides her recommendations for actions that will support meaningful public participation, fair compensation, and environmental and social impact assessments in accordance with international standards, as well as create long-term strategic plans to manage future urban growth.

The Political Ecology of Urban Climate Injustice in Thailand
Danny Marks (University of Toronto)

This paper addresses a gap in the literature on urban climate justice by examining inequity at the “urban scale” and adds to growing discussions and acknowledgment about the need for climate justice at the city scale. The study examines instances of climate injustice in Bangkok, Thailand, a city not only highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but also with one of the highest carbon emissions per capita in the world. Ultimately, the main argument presented is that the city’s governance of climate change has unjustly benefited the upper echelon of society, while low-income communities have been adversely affected.

Urban Disasters: Case Studies from Southeast Asia
Esther Lambert (University of Toronto)

This paper explores the global environmental change disasters that have affected Southeast Asia over the past five to ten years and the practice of predicting and responding to such disasters. The report seeks to understand who the various actors are (pre- and post-disaster) and some of the social, economic and political factors affecting the region’s capacity to predict and respond effectively. The report is available for download here and a summary of the report is available here.