Prof. Dr Wiwandari Handayani, we had the pleasure of meeting you through the pre-conference process as a speaker in a webinar about infrastructures and climate change. Can you tell us more about your field of research?
My work is centred around resilience – meaning city resilience, disaster resilience and climate resilience. Most of my work and research thus far has been related to climate change and resilience, so far not as much on the aspect of migration and how that plays into it, but it’s becoming more and more interesting and relevant, as migration and climate change are of course deeply interwoven and connected. In developing countries, including Indonesia, talking about migration, it is mostly through the lens of economic reasoning behind the motivation to migrate, not necessarily because of environmental reasons. However, it’s going to play a bigger role going forward – that is why I am really interested in the upcoming International Metropolis Conference in Berlin.
More and more, people are being displaced because of environmental reasons and it feels like a lot of the research community centring around migration and/or climate change is trying to get ahead of it.
I got into my field of work because living and planning a future in Indonesia depends on sustainable solutions. Proportionally, we need to shift the public discourse of refocussing migration due to economic reasons and interlink it with environmental issues. The question will be: how should we view the issues of climate change from a multidisciplinary perspective? If we, at the level of operational realisation, only think about climate change or the environment, without combining it with economic issues or bigger questions and answers of migration, then we will keep being blindsided; they don’t each exist in a vacuum.