Event — Panel

Climate Change in Coastal Cities: Centring the Voices of Urban Residents in Asia and Africa

Institutional panel of the IIAS-Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA), to be held at the 12th International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS 12).

Climate, political economy and society

The notions of adaptation, mitigation, resilience and vulnerability through which climate change is commonly approached in public policy and discourse are predicated on the positioning of the climate as something outside of society—an external threat that can be addressed through policies and practices that maintain the underlying status quo.  

However, this view is increasingly being challenged by scholars working in the humanities and social sciences. Building on an older tradition of inquiry which has disputed the notion of 'natural' disasters 1 Davis, Mike. 2000. Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World. London: Verso. , scholars working in the fields of political ecology and critical urban studies have demonstrated the fundamentally entangled social, spatial and meteorological factors that 'co-produce' the weather. 2 Moore, Jason W. 2016. Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital. London: Verso; and Taylor, Marcus. 2015. The Political Ecology of Climate Change Adaptation: Livelihoods, Agrarian Change and the Conflicts of Development. London: Routledge/Earthscan.

Panel objectives and target group

The goal of this IIAS-Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) panel is to foreground everyday urban practices as a source of knowledge and action in relation to the climate. What do the narratives and activities of city residents reveal about how the climate is changing? How are shifting climatic conditions conceptualized, experienced, addressed or ignored on the ground? How is a sense of vulnerability or resilience in relation to the weather perceived at the level of the household, street or neighbourhood? And how might urban lived experience be mobilized to produce more inclusive and sustainable urban planning strategies?

The panel will address these questions and more from the perspective of residents of coastal cities in Asia and Africa. Coastal cities, which house ever-growing numbers of people in both continents, are widely recognized as being particularly vulnerable to rising waters and extreme weather events.

In addition to bringing together leading scholars studying how coastal urban residents are thinking about, living alongside and coping with the weather, we seek to address the northern bias that continues to dominate studies of climate change by giving priority to academics based at research institutes in Asia and Africa. Creating a space for dialogue between those working on urban coastal climate change around the world, the goal is to build a transnational and interdisciplinary network of scholars, committed to multi-centring knowledge production in this field.


This panel will be a one-day event that will take place during the International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS), to be hosted by Kyoto Seika University (SEIKA) and scheduled for 24-27 August 2021. (Note: the specific date in this panel will be communicated once the final convention program has been published).

Concept note
For more detailed information about the symposium objectives and scope, download the concept note (pdf) for this event.
For more information about ICAS 12, visit: www.icas.asia