Urban resilience to flooding in Chennai

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Preliminary research findings on the institutional adaptive capacity to floods in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.


<ul><li> 1. Urban resilience to flood risks in Chennai Preliminary Research Findings Shazade Jameson 14th August 2013 </li></ul> <p> 2. Outline Background to Research Theory Methods Preliminary Findings Causes of flooding Institutional Social Capital Knowledge Management Rights issues Tentative Conclusions: Financial &amp; Infrastructural Violence 3. Why Chennai? Chance2Sustain WP3: Environmental Risk Assessment WP4: [Participatory] Knowledge Management in Urban Governance Special relationship to water Acute water scarcity / inequalities Rainfall &gt; national average =&gt; Flooding either too much or not enough 4. Environmental Risk By 2050: developing world will be 67% urban Indias current population 1.2 billion (UN 2012) Chennai = Low Elevation Coastal Zone (LECZ) Greater risk from climate change Not everybody experiences risks the same. Risk = hazard x vulnerability 5. Socioeconomic Vulnerability 6. Adaptive Capacity 1. Institutional Social Capital Cooperation? Conflict? Sites of overlap? Networks? Power relations? How do people work together? 2. [Spatial] Knowledge Management Actors and their networks Discourses Products Consequences 7. Critical Urban Theory Infrastructure shapes space Space shapes social relations . &amp; social relations shape space . &amp; infrastructure. = co-construction. What are the consequences for socioeconomic inequalities? 8. In short How do long term flood knowledge management systems build or hinder institutional adaptive capacity to flooding, and what are the effects for the citys current resilience to floods? 9. Qualitative Methodology Critical Realist approach 31 Stakeholder interviews, 20 min 1h 30 approx. Corporation Academics Various CSOs PWD CMDA MetroWater Content &amp; Discourse analysis through coding 10. Causes of Flooding Gupta &amp; Nair 2011 Long term flood management requires attention to all these aspects. In Chennais urban governance, flood management does not exist as such. 11. Causes of flooding: Direct 1. Encroachments - Legal - Illegal 2. Water bodies reclaimed 3. Loss of traditional rainwater harvesting system (Eris) 12. Watch the OggiumMadu gu connect Pallikaranai to the back waters, though obstructed by Kannagai Nagar Flats ExNoRa 13. Till Sep 2002, the Madugu is still connected to the Muthukadu back waters ExNoRa 14. Aug 2004 the back water is fragmented and dry ExNoRa 15. April 2009, the marsh disappears and land mass appears ExNoRa 16. Cause of flooding: Indirect 17. Causes of Flooding: Indirect Archaic British land use codes inapplicable High population pressure = high land value Lack of holistic recognition of water Improper solid waste management - Level -Location 18. Institutional Social Capital Very little. Ignoring bigger picture makes it difficult! lack of participatory process Why? Different priorities Different knowledge domains Funding (JNNURM) prioritised as separate departments Sites of cooperation: - Informal personal connections. Requires personal investment. - Technology 19. High-tech mapping Aerial Laser Terrain Mapping Highly accurate, 30cm elevation determines flood risk Defense issue Only user agencies Hazard-centric viewpoint In a vision from above, a city is just a layout of streets, but what happens there is hidden. - Fernandez 20. Storm Water Drains 21. Lack of records = Minimal centralised knowledge management Feasibility of plans checked by inspection Lack of monitoring of construction Different urban networks in conflict Prevents potential drinking of floodwater 22. Performativity of records Cause of flooding depends on which department you work with Fear of blame Records kept minimal Reinforces dominance of engineering approach Socioeconomic &amp; Environmental variables tend to be ignored, only dealt with during flood relief Reinforces individual informal social capital 23. Success from the top down New ideas pushed through mostly by top-down support Procedures can be performative E.g. Conservation Authority of Pallikaranai Marshland = CAPML Multi-departmental society Support from Chief Minister New funding mechanism After 15 years campaigning by CSOs . Requires political will 24. Flood Management as a Human Right [illegal] encroachments universally blamed for floods Resettlement = political issue Further segregation of engineering approach Argument of city modernisation&amp; beautification IT Corridor = floodplain = compounding vulnerabilities Participatory methods not taken up for lack of skills &amp; time Also, vested interests in land reclamation 25. Tentative Conclusions Flood management as a human, ecological and economic right unaddressed by complex entanglement of priorities Lack of holistic &amp; participatory flood management despite relative awareness Resilience requires redundancy &amp; flexibility, transparency and openness for innovation at all levels. Implementing agencies suffocated by restrictive funding and narrow mindsets. Financial and infrastructural violence ignoring lived experience 26. Thank you! @shazjameson seekingthequestion.com Any questions? </p>