Governing Urban Flooding in Global Capitalism: The Relational International Political Economy and Environment of Climate Resilience in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Sharma, Sarah
global political economy , international political economy and environment , urban flooding , climate change , global environmental governance , resilience , Amsterdam , Dhaka , Netherlands , Bangladesh , neoliberal urbanism , austerity urbanism
This dissertation examines climate resilience policies as a form of flood control in two cities: Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Dhaka, Bangladesh. I situate my examination of resilience within the subnational, national and supranational dynamics of global capitalism and climate change governance that have unfolded since the ascendency of neoliberalism (mid-1970s) until 2020. By undertaking the first transnational study of climate resilience across the traditionally ontologically and epistemologically divided global North and global South, I develop a relational International Political Economy and Environment (IPEE) framework to understand how climate resilience has emerged and is executed as the prominent policy approach to urban flood control in these distinct cities. A relational IPEE approach understands all spaces to be situated in relation to one another in global capitalism, and as such interpretively draws comparisons and contrasts divergences across uneven locales, outlining the relations of power shaping historically and contextually driven everyday experiences. The dissertation format is article-based (otherwise known as the “Manuscript, Project, Portfolio” format), comprised of three independent substantive articles (Chapters Three to Five) that examine the historical, institutional, discursive and material facets of of climate resilience in Amsterdam and Dhaka. These three articles are flanked by introductory (Chapter One), literature review (Chapter Two) and concluding (Chapter Six) chapters. The relational IPEE framework I employ focuses its attention on the role of urban space in global capitalism that comes into tension with comprehensive climate action, and the subnational, national and supranational socio-economic relations of power at play in each of my cases. The two cases selected across the global North and global South divide contextually compare and contrast the patterns and divergences associated with climate resilience on the ground in cities that are disparately framed as “model” masters of water (Amsterdam) and underdeveloped “apprentices” requiring guidance and change (Dhaka). The content of my dissertation interrupts and interrogates the rhetorical discourse that enhancing resilience can support sustainable forms of urbanization and contributes a theoretically and empirically oriented analysis of the relations of power leading to the reality of uneven socio-spatial experiences with urban flooding across and within Amsterdam and Dhaka.
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