The Implications of Urbanization and Climate Change in Urbanizing Cities in the Lower Mekong Region

June 27, 2022

Medium-sized cities in the Lower Mekong countries are rapidly urbanizing. Most urban centres are geographically located in hazardous space, such as low-lying floodplains, river deltas, and coastal zones. Rapid growth and expansion, leading to significant changes in ecological landscapes and land use, exacerbate existing risks. Weak governance and institutional capacity magnify the impacts of climate change and natural disasters, contributing to increasing vulnerability of urban residents. Regionalization will accelerate the pace of urbanization, particularly in smaller border towns. As cities continue to protect urban economic centres from weather-related disasters, risks are shifted and transferred to the hinterlands. But the development growth of urban centres is dependent on the hinterlands for natural resources and labour. Understanding regionalization and urbanization implications as complex, transformative processes is critical for assessing climate vulnerability and strengthening urban resilience to climate change.


Dr. Pakamas Thinphanga is one of the co-directors of the Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia Partnership, funded by IDRC and SSHRC. As a Programme Manager at the Thailand Environment Institute Foundation, she leads the Urban Climate Resilience Programme and is responsible for the overall management, strategic planning, and building capacity of the project teams. Under the programme, projects, including the Rockefeller supported Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) and USAID funded Mekong Building Climate Resilient Asian Cities (M-BRACE), focus on research areas in urbanization, climate change, understanding vulnerability and resilience concepts, and translating urban climate resilience concepts into practice. Pakamas provides technical assistance to city stakeholders in urban climate resilience planning and building efforts. Her team at TEI also focuses on disseminating and communicating urban climate resilience thinking to broader audience for dialogues and to inform decision-making processes.


Pakamas has a technical background in biological sciences and coastal ecology with a PhD from James Cook University, Australia and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oxford.

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