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Bargaining with Disaster: Flooding, Climate Change, and Urban Growth Ambitions in Quy Nhon, Vietnam

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This article uses a problem-driven political economy approach to analyze the city of Quy Nhon's ongoing attempts to pursue long-standing urban growth ambitions in the face of increasing awareness of climate threats. In spite of a recent history of multiple, catastrophic floods, the provincial Department of Construction (DOC) has proposed expanding the city's boundaries into low-lying agricultural areas nearby. Based on past experience and projections of future climate change impacts, environmentalists in the provincial administration have opposed this move. Fuelling this conflict are incentives within Vietnam's urban development and management system. Rather than respond to urban growth, these incentives are used to lead it. Thus, while climate vulnerability assessments have alerted city and provincial officials to potential dangers in their urban development strategy, incentives within the political-administrative system continue to pull them along a growth pathway that is likely to increase their vulnerability to climate change. Monumental public works and citywide early warning systems mask increasing risks embedded in these urban growth priorities rather than resolve them. Getting the incentives right, therefore, becomes the key to improving resilience to climate change.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2015

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