Rethinking heat in the city

This podcast prompts an exploration of heat experiences in the urban landscape of Karachi, and its conceptualizations under notions of disaster, health, and planning. With host Aqdas Fatima and guests from various academic backgrounds, we question what it means to understand city futures under warming impacts of climate change. What do we mean by rising heat and its historical, socio-political, economic, and developmental implications? Where do conversations among academics, environmentalists, architects, health experts, and planners concur? How can broader, global conversations on heat be contextualized in South Asian environments? And what is needed to secure a heat-safe future for Karachi? Based on ongoing work at Karachi Urban Lab as part of the Cool Infrastructures project, this podcast brings the conversation of heat in the city to the wider public.

Epsiode 1

Beyond Heatwaves: discussing chronic heat impacts with Dr. Elspeth Oppermann

In this episode, Dr.Oppermann offers her expertise in breaking down conceptualizations of heat to unfold its complexities and emphasize the increasing urgency in discussing heat impacts in relevance to cities. We discuss the various kinds of extreme heat impacts– from heatwaves to prolonged health impacts– differential vulnerabilities, capacity building, and what the future of heating cities looks like.

Guest bio: Elspeth is a critical geographer specializing in adaptation to environmental challenges. Her past research examined discourses of climate change adaptation in the United Kingdom and the social practices through which outdoor workers manage extreme heat in Australia. She is a member of the International Commission on Occupational Health’s Scientific Committee on Thermal Factors, and continues to engage in heat-health research, particularly for those most exposed. Recently, she has particularly explored how the social is co-produced through material-energetic relations, developing an inter-disciplinary, more-than-human social practices approach to the analysis of occupational heat management. As a senior research fellow at the Rachel Carson Centre, Elspeth is CI on Cool Infrastructures, a UK-ESRC funded 3-year project. Cool Infrastructures seeks to identify what knowledges and strategies people in ‘off-grid’ communities, such as informal settlements, use to keep cool in hot conditions, and how local innovations and approaches might be supported, scaled up and shared.

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