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IBA faculty members co-author a paper on hot climates in urban South Asia

Ms. Soha Macktoom, Lecturer, School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS) and Associate Director, Karachi Urban Lab (KUL); and Dr. Nausheen H. Anwar, Professor of City & Regional Planning, SESS, and Director, KUL, co-authored a paper titled ‘Hot climates in urban South Asia: Negotiating the right to and the politics of shade at the everyday scale in Karachi’, published in the Urban Studies Journal (Impact Factor: 4.7 / 5-Year Impact Factor: 4.9).

Although the climate has admittedly always been hot and humid in cities like Karachi, increasingly hotter temperatures are exacerbating the impact of heat on informal, precariously employed outdoor workers such as street vendors, guards and rickshaw drivers, who must negotiate their right and access to shade at the everyday scale. Recalling Mike Davis’ radical, political claim that shade is an inalienable human right, this paper proposes that few people working in the outdoor spaces of the South Asian city today understand or experience shade in these terms. Rather shade is something that must be claimed, alongside other rights and entitlements. Moreover, shade alone is insufficient as it cannot reduce the exposure of bodies to harmful ambient radiations and overall thermal discomfort. This paper makes three broad propositions for outlining a theory for the social study of shade in the South Asian city. By paying closer attention to the ways that outdoor workers negotiate shade in Karachi, this paper opens up for analysis a wider spectrum of claims-making activity in changing South Asian urban climates. It places workers’ search for shade in the broader context of shade policing and urban management aimed at creating spatial as well as social order. Finally, this article emphasises key directions and questions for future research.

The paper can be accessed here.