CSTPR Noontime Seminar
Institutions, infrastructures, and coastal hazard risk in Bangladesh
by Kimberly Rogers, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder
PLEASE NOTE: This talk has been cancelled for April 17 and will be rescheduled for Fall 2019.
Abstract: Built infrastructure designed to enhance socioeconomic development within the constantly shifting landscapes of river deltas often transcends institutional boundaries. Static, state-governed infrastructure such as embankments and irrigation systems are difficult to maintain on physically dynamic delta surfaces; as a result, these systems can locally fail under stress from river migration and storm surges, resulting in the loss of arable land. Water management in river basins further impacts the sustainability of agriculture in deltas by reducing the delivery of freshwater and sediment to deltaic floodplains. Rural farming communities in deltas are dealing with the collective impact of upstream infrastructure that restricts downstream flows, and dysfunctional local-scale embankment governance. Vulnerability to this convergence is likely to increase with stochastic and gradual climate change. In this talk, I will describe how rural communities are interacting with a failing state-managed infrastructure system in a delta where physical and institutional processes intersect: the Ganges-Brahmaputra (Bengal) Delta in Bangladesh. A nested Institutional and Analysis and Development Framework (IADF) is used to (i) identify critical overlaps between multi-scalar physical processes, infrastructure, and institutions in the Bengal Delta and its river basins, and (ii) diagnose how failure of this coupled infrastructure system increases coastal hazard risk. The IADF guided focus group discussions with smallholder farmers in coastal Bangladesh, revealing that spatially variable physical processes heterogeneously impact infrastructure performance and thus, how local institutions collectively mitigate and manage the effects of failing infrastructure.
Kimberly Rogers is an INSTAAR Research Associate and environmental scientist specializing in coupled human-natural systems in coastal regions. She integrates quantitative and qualitative data collected using mixed methods, which help her to understand complexity arising from multi-scalar interactions between infrastructure, physical processes, and livelihood choices within the dynamic landscapes of river deltas. Kimberly has a PhD in Environmental Engineering from Vanderbilt University and a BSc in Geological Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a Research Affiliate of the Center for the Analysis of Socioecological Landscapes at Indiana University, and is a Visiting Scholar alumnus of the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research-UFZ in Germany and the Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University. She has worked as an international science advisor to the World Bank and to USAID in Bangladesh. Dr. Rogers is an advocate for actionable and open science, as well as for integrating local-scale solutions into top-down policy related to sustainable coastal management.