Southeast Asian Waters Series: "Don't Always Blame Climate Change": The Political Ecology of Uneven Development and Vulnerability to Flooding in Southeast Asian Megacities

Hosted by the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre


Dr Danny Marks

Dr Danny Marks

Assistant Professor in Environmental Policy and Politics, Dublin City University


Prof. Hyun Bang Shin

Prof. Hyun Bang Shin

Professor of Geography and Urban Studies and Director of Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre, LSE

As part of the SEAC Southeast Asian Waters Seminar series Dr. Danny Marks (Assistant Professor in Environmental Policy and Politics, Dublin City University) spoke on flooding in Jakarta and the social and political causes of these disasters. The talk was chaired by Prof. Hyun Bang Shin.


Talk Abstract

In the past decade, we have witnessed deaths, displacement, and high losses due to heavy flooding in Jakarta, Manila, and Bangkok. In response to these disasters, government and urban leaders have tended to blame the devastation on the external forces of climate change and nature. While it is likely that climate change contributed to the magnitude of these floods, by blaming nature or climate change, government leaders sought to absolve themselves of any responsibility for causing or worsening the extent of the disasters. I argue that floods in Southeast Asia, have been socially and politically produced. They are outcomes of urban development, particularly political decisions, economic interests, and power relations. Vulnerability to floods, a combination of exposure to and capacity to cope with them, has been uneven across the geographical and social landscape. Those who have been worst affected have primarily been the most marginalized groups. This presentation focuses on the historical production of flooding in the region’s three largest megacities: Bangkok, Jakarta, and Manila, since a number of similarities between these cities exist.

A video recording of this research seminar is available to watch here.


Speaker and Chair Biographies

Dr Danny Marks (@Danny_A_Marks) is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Politics and Policy in the School of Law and Government of Dublin City University. Prior to this position, he was an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at the Department of Asian and International Studies of City University of Hong Kong. He also was previously a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia project at the Munk School of Global Affairs of the University of Toronto. Dr. Marks has spent a number of years conducting research and working in Southeast Asia, particularly in the field of environmental governance.

Prof. Hyun Bang Shin (@urbancommune) is Professor of Geography and Urban Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science and directs the LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre. His research centres on the critical analysis of the political economy of speculative urbanisation, gentrification and displacement, urban spectacles, and urbanism with particular attention to Asian cities. His books include Planetary Gentrification (Polity, 2016), Neoliberal Urbanism, Contested Cities and Housing in Asia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), Exporting Urban Korea? Reconsidering the Korean Urban Development Experience (Routledge, 2021), and The Political Economy of Mega Projects in Asia: Globalization and Urban Transformation (Routledge, forthcoming). He is Editor of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and is also a trustee of the Urban Studies Foundation.


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