Planning for climate adaptation, disaster risk reduction, social vulnerability, and local sustainability initiatives are my key research interests. In my doctoral dissertation I am exploring the changing pattern of social vulnerability in a multi-hazard urban environment. Social vulnerability refers to socio-economic indicators of vulnerability (i.e. race, income, education, age, etc.) that influence one’s ability to respond to or recover from a disaster event. Literature on social vulnerability primarily adopts a social constructivist approach and considers the drivers of vulnerability within our policies and socio-economic settings. But in our usual planning approaches, whether it is at local, regional, or global level, we emphasize more on the external impacts of environment or climate change, assuming a static social setting. It creates a problematic intersection, where local needs and aspirations come into direct conflict with our planning approaches and questions the whole planning process. I am exploring this problematic intersection of environmental planning that will contribute to the present discourses on social vulnerability, environmental justice, and planning for sustainable development.
In my present doctoral research I am specifically examining the role of subsidized low income housing in the process of changing pattern of social vulnerability in hazard exposed areas. For this research I have narrowed down my focus on housing subsidy, but vulnerability science widely recognizes the multiple dimensions of vulnerability and multiple drivers that influence social vulnerability. For my future research I plan to expand my present work and encompass other drivers of vulnerability, particularly urban renewal, gentrification, policies for poverty reduction, tourism developments, local sustainability initiatives, etc.
Dissertation abstract available here.