Migration and mobility depend on the availability of technological infrastructures (airports, train stations, connectivity) as much as on the circulation of knowledge (oral and written communication, education systems, academic and expert knowledge).
We therefore see migration being shaped and co-produced both by intangible infrastructures (e.g. discursive processes for constructing and shaping social realities) and by material infrastructures related to or justified by adaptation to climate change (e.g. dams, sea defences and other technologies of environmental control). These infrastructures are accompanied by a set of narratives and imaginaries, especially where migration is concerned. The development of green and blue infrastructures and technologies – to promote resilience and help the population adapt to climate change – interacts with migration in a variety of ways including resettlement, expulsion or more recently climate gentrification. On the other hand, in some places the interplay between infrastructures and the circulation of knowledge can help to keep people in place; in fact, such factors may even attract newcomers. In South-East Asia, for example, some sections of coastlines have been turned into interventionist spaces for hydro-engineering experimentation and are as a result emerging as new profit frontiers. Such developments are legitimised by visions such as ‘blue urbanism’ – and also by extreme weather events, coastal erosion, salinisation and land subsidence – as an answer to the anticipated rise in sea levels.
Focusing on coastal areas, our webinar will shed light on the interplay between large infrastructures and new mobilities. We have invited four speakers, each of whom will provide a ten-minute insight into their respective work. Two will concentrate on Semarang and Jakarta in Indonesia, while the other two will highlight their research dealing with Northern Germany, the Netherlands and Bangladesh.
Prof. Dr Wiwandari Handayani, Universitas Diponegoro, will speak about the situation in Semarang. By setting up a variety of infrastructures, the city is equipping itself with the tools needed to become resilient to climate stress.
Dr Johannes Herbeck, artec University of Bremen, will introduce us to multinational ethnographic research into multifunctional dykes and floating infrastructures in a variety of regional settings. The BlueUrban project deals with the dissemination of environmental ideas and with their implementation in different parts of the world.
Prof. Dr Simon Richter, University of Pennsylvania, will discuss how the lock-in consequences of aggressive water defense strategies in the Netherlands impede the development of sensible adaptation and retreat strategies.
Dr Shahnoor Hasan, Utrecht University, will present her current work on water policies and the production of knowledge in the Bengal delta in Bangladesh, drawing on the real-life stories of people in the delta who are dealing with the transplantation into their country of Dutch delta infrastructure.