Journal Articles

Asia’s Changing Cities: Water, Climate and Power in the Transformation of Urban Spaces

Amrita Daniere, UCRSEA Co-Director and Vanessa Lamb, UCRSEA Postdoctoral Fellow

This introduction to the special issue of the International Development Planning Review brings together research from across diverse Asian cities to reveal how water is foundational to the city. Articles in this issue examine the central paradigms of ‘water and the city’ by emphasising the ‘water work’ of multiple actors, to identify possibilities and opportunities, in addition to ‘governance failures’ in the production of the urban form (Bakker et al., 2008). In particular, these papers provide compelling evidence that to comprehend fully the future of Asian cities in the Anthropocene, it is necessary to understand their related topographies, their water systems and, also, their practices and politics of water distribution.

Visualizing Vulnerability for Inclusive Community Resilience: Photovoice Evidence from the Philippines

Yanjun Cai, UCRSEA Postdoctoral Fellow

This study explores the integration of photovoice with Facebook to demonstrate diverse dimensions of vulnerability through the lens of twenty-six informal settlers in metropolitan Manila and Cebu City. Through this mixed-methods approach, the article adds to the growing literature on vulnerability as an intrinsic and dynamic outcome of unjust social structures in the context of community resilience. Findings demonstrate the richness of vulnerability through a participant-driven approach, enhancing planners’ understanding of current resilience studies. Such a nonlinear exploration also presents place-based concerns and capabilities, which potentially inform planners for more inclusive resilience building across scales.

Find this article here.


Fishing, farming and factories: adaptive development in coastal Cambodia
Jason Horlings and Melissa Marschke, University of Ottawa

The objective of the paper is to determine if the emergence of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) influences adaptive development in coastal Cambodia. Among their findings are “from a systems perspective, that development capacities are being strengthened with SEZ employment as many employees experience an increased, predictable income, even as climate-specific capacities are weak, beyond the changes to climate exposure that people experience through migration. However, even as industrial and migration systems develop, the lack of climate-specific capacities in the urban system is concerning: water supply, land-use planning, and urban governance take little account of climate change adaptation, which may undermine longer-term development in this region.”

The article is available at

Urban Water Crises under Future Uncertainties: The Case of Institutional and Infrastructure Complexity in Khon Kaen, Thailand
Richard Friend, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York, UK; and Pakamas Thinphanga, Thailand Environment Institute, Thailand

This paper uses the emerging crises in water management in North East Thailand as a case study to examine the effectiveness of existing institutional structures and processes to adapt to an uncertain future climate. The authors argue that it is through an analysis of the interface of actors, institutions and physical infrastructure that climate vulnerability can be better understood, and conversely, that climate resilience might be strengthened. This research has global significance as case studies of emerging water crises provide valuable insights into future vulnerabilities and the Thailand experience speaks to similar challenges across the global South. Their findings illustrate that water managers on the front line of dealing with climate variability are constrained by the interaction of infrastructure that was designed for different times and needs, and of institutional structures and processes that have emerged through the interplay of often competing organisational remits and agendas.

The full paper is in open access and is available from the Sustainability Journal at

Assessing the Potential of a Low-carbon Future for Cambodia
Furqan Asif, University of Ottawa; Melissa Marschke, University of Ottawa; and Chanrith Ngin, Royal University of Phnom Penh

This paper examines Cambodia’s current carbon pathway and considers if Cambodia could move towards a low carbon future. The authors do so by examining two of Cambodia’s largest carbon emitting sectors: energy and transportation. They argue that Cambodia has a unique window of opportunity to pursue a low carbon pathway given that, despite significant economic growth, the country is currently producing less CO2 per capita compared to most other countries across Asia. Cambodia could benefit greatly (in economic, social, and environmental terms) from adopting a low carbon pathway.

The full article appears on the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy and is available at

Urban Climate Vulnerability in Cambodia: A Case Study in Koh Kong Province
Kimleng Sa, Faculty of Development Studies, Royal University of Phnom Penh

This study investigates an urban climate vulnerability in Cambodia by constructing an index to compare three different communes, Smach Meanchey, Daun Tong, and Steong Veng, located in the Khemarak Phoumin district, Koh Kong province. It is found that Daun Tong commune is the most vulnerable location among the three communes, followed by Steong Veng.

The full article was published in the Economies Journal and can also be accessed at

Emerging Livelihood Vulnerabilities in an Urbanizing and Climate Uncertain Environment for the Case of a Secondary City in Thailand
Astrud Lea Beringer and Jutamas Kaewsuk, International Research Center for Sustainable Environmental Management  in Greater Mekong Sub-Region, Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahasarakham University

Increasing flood risks in Thailand are leading to new challenges for flood management and subsequently for livelihoods, which are still significantly agricultural. Policy makers prefer building flood protection infrastructure over utilizing non-structural measures like urban planning regulations to mitigate risks. The authors argue that unplanned urbanization intensifies flood risks and livelihood vulnerability and may even create new poverty patterns in peri-urban areas. However, urbanization can also strengthen the adaptive capacity of people in flood risk areas by providing more secure employment opportunities.

The full paper appears in the Sustainability Journal and is also available at