Disasters Beyond the City: Urban Development and Environmental Risks in the Eastern Himalayas
The State of Cities – #CityConversations with Prof Andrew Rumbach on Disasters Beyond the City: Urban Development and Environmental Risks in the Eastern Himalayas.
The State of Cities – #CityConversations with Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay
Prof Andrew Rumbach, Associate Professor, Texas A&M University
Andrew Rumbach is an Associate Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at Texas A&M University. Rumbach received his PhD and Masters in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University and a BA in Political Science from Reed College.
Rumbach’s research centers on household and community risk to natural hazards and climate change, in the United States and India. Using a mix of qualitative, quantitative and geospatial data, he examines the intersection of urbanization and extreme weather events and the political-economic context for disaster risk creation.
His writing has appeared in such venues as the Journal of the American Planning Association, Habitat International, Journal of Urban Affairs, and the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, as well as in edited volumes. Rumbach’s current research projects include a longitudinal study of landslide and earthquake risk in rapidly urbanizing towns and villages in the Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalayas. His research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Natural Hazards Center, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the GeoEye Foundation, among others.
Rumbach is active in numerous state and national efforts to help communities build resilience to environmental hazards through land-use and historic preservation.
Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Associate Professor, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan; Senior Fellow, IMPRI
About the Talk- Disasters Beyond the City: Urban Development and Environmental Risks in the Eastern Himalayas
Prof Andrew Rumbach
India is one of the fastest urbanizing countries in the world. Although urban scholars tend to focus on India’s large cities, urbanization is also transforming its villages and towns. In this presentation I will discuss a long-term study of “rural urbanization” and its effects on environmental risk. The study is based in the Darjeeling District, a mountainous
region in the state of West Bengal. Drawing on primary and secondary data collected over a 4-year period 2015–2018, we find that urbanizing towns and villages are characterized by rapid spatial growth, dynamic and challenging hazard contexts, and limitations in governance capacity or resources to document, govern, or adapt to emerging environmental threats. These characteristics and trends are likely common in other small urbanizing places in India and must be managed to achieve national and international goals for sustainable and resilient development.
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