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I am the PI of The LAVA Project, which is based in the Mekong Delta and is conducted in collaboration with senior researchers at the DRAGON Institute and the College of the Environment and Natural Resources at Can Tho University. Launched in August 2018, this project aims to situate current responses to climate change within a broader temporal and spatial context of water hazards management and socio-economic development. It builds on research that identifies differential vulnerability to climate change as a function of primarily social rather than physical factors (WIREs Climate Change 2018).

Specifically, this project asks: How is vulnerability to climate change socially and spatially distributed in the Lower Mekong Delta? How do climate change programs intervene in this landscape of vulnerability and with what effects? Do climate change adaptation measures reduce vulnerability to climate change-related hazards? To address these questions, we are examining how the active construction of water infrastructure and implementation of agricultural diversification projects affect people’s exposure and sensitivity to environmental hazards in the coastal region over time. We will compare these changes against a historically-informed baseline of human vulnerability to water hazards, recognizing that contemporary environmental vulnerability is a function of both past landscape interventions and future climate change (Climate and Development 2019). This work has been supported through a Multi-Country Research Fellowship by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC 2019) and the Institute for Human Geography.