Research Department: Regeneration of Cities and Towns
Project Leader within IRS: Prof. Dr. Felicitas Hillmann
Project Team: Usha Ziegelmayer Giulia Borri Rueben Okine Laura Günther
Consortium: Universität Bremen (Coordination) Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen Leibniz Zentrum für Marine Tropenökologie, Bremen
Funding Organization: VolkswagenStiftung
Duration: 06/2015 - 12/2017
Coastal regions are and will continue to be strongly affected by mega trends such as environmental change and migration. Traditionally, internal migration originates from but also flows to coastal regions. This particularly applies to international migration as well. At the same time, coastal regions worldwide are strongly impacted by unfolding geomorphological, climatic and societal changes. It is probable that global warming and existing migration corridors will further accelerate environmental change and migration flows.
Current research in this field has shown that environmental factors alone do not explain the dynamics of migratory systems. As such, postulating a simple causal relationship between rising sea levels and increasing migration flows does not do justice to this complex research field. Instead, such dynamics are better understood by studying local and regional contexts, and by taking into consideration political, social, economic and cultural factors as well. This is the approach taken by this project. It examines local adaptive strategies and assesses to what extent they are linked to political discourses on the regional level. It further analyses in what respect local and systemic logics differ. It also asks what causes resilience-building and what crisis. The project's regional focus is manifested in its name: 'New Regional Formations'. It builds on an international comparison of two coastal regions (the city of Keta in eastern Ghana and the city of Semarang in northern Java, Indonesia). These regions were selected on the basis of pre-defined criteria (prolonged and severe environmental changes; strong population grow th). Comparing and contrasting the two regions reveals differences and similarities concerning the interrelation of environmental change and migration dynamics.
The IRS department on the Regeneration of Cities and Towns will oversee and run the 'Migrant trajectories' sub-project. It will focus on patterns and trajectories of migration, as these co-constitute 'regional formations'. In particular, it will examine key characteristics of migration in both coastal regions and identify its respective causes. Changing migration patterns are conceptualised as elements of wider societal transformations, which regions adapt to in different ways. The project will focus these regional contexts . Migrants mediate between different socio-spatial scales, and their actions contribute to a convergence of national and global migration pattern s. Likewise, migrants can proactively contribute to seemingly dangerous regions becoming decouple d. The project will afford attention to the way perceptions, narratives and environmental discourses re-produce assumptions about the benefits and risks of migration, particularly with regard to the diaspora and the integration of migrants into regional development agendas.
Photos: Felicitas Hillmann