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Valentine Gabrielle Huet Publishes Master Thesis Supervised by Ethemcan Turhan

Published Sep 01, 2020

The master thesis "Infrastructure Projects and Climate Change Adaption in the Era of Grassrotts Movement Resurgence: Suggestions for Transformational Actions" is now available in DiVA.

Key words: climate change adaptation, transformation, paradigm shift, environmental justice, Hawai’i, indigeneity, urban political ecology.

Full text available in the KTH DiVA register


In an ever-moving world, urban governance and infrastructure have to adapt to climate change. In the meantime, people's concerns and engagement towards urban projects which will affect their lives are growing. The climate change adaptation process is inevitable to implement, considering the multiplicity of climate change threats. Hawai'i is no exception, and it has to adapt its infrastructures to stronger and more frequent floods. This master's thesis highlights the case of the Ala Wai risk flood management plan in Hawai'i, the U.S., and the engagement of some Hawaiians in the Protect Our Ala Wai Watershed (POAWW) grassroots movement against the proposed project. The conflict creates the emergence of two paradigms, which are translating two opposing strategies of action. Each paradigm aligns with a specific approach that reflects the interests and value systems of the individuals that constituted it.

On the one hand, there is the economic growth paradigm supported by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which manages the project and unfolds the resilience strategy by protecting Honolulu's dominant economic interests. On the other hand, there is the environmental justice paradigm, mobilized by the POAWW grassroots movement. This latter one is positioned within the transition strategy and demands the integration of indigenous knowledge into the project. To go beyond this conflictual standoff, the master's thesis argues that a hybrid paradigm, which would move towards a transformation strategy, would be preferable to surpass the current cleavages. This paradigm shift gives keys of actions and could be transferable in a contextualized way to other urban conflicts linked with the climate change adaptation process.


Belongs to: Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment
Last changed: Sep 01, 2020