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Authors: Jamshed, Ali
Title: Assessing dynamics of rural-urban linkages and their influence on rural vulnerability to extreme flood events : case study of three rural farming communities in Punjab, Pakistan
Issue Date: 2021 Dissertation XIX, 210
Abstract: Although rural areas and cities are intrinsically linked, the vulnerability of rural households and communities to hazards or extreme weather and climatic events is often assessed without considering their relationships to cities. These linkages are important due to interdependencies between rural and urban areas for socio-economic and physical growth. Moreover, extreme events can lead to dramatic shifts in societal processes, disrupt rural-urban linkages, and affect rural vulnerability; these matters need to be investigated. Considering these gaps in knowledge, this study aims to conceptualise and understand rural vulnerability with respect to the dynamics of rural-urban linkages in the case of flooding, with a special focus on spatial factors like city size and proximity to the city. To do so, a mixed methods approach was adopted in this research. Still, the present study is largely based on quantitative techniques. First, the current literature on rural-urban linkages, vulnerability and factors that influence them was critically reviewed, and a unified framework was proposed to connect the elements of rural-urban linkages and flood vulnerability. The framework was designed to examine changes in rural-urban linkages and the subsequent impact on rural vulnerability to flooding. For empirical research, three case studies (Darya Khan, Muzaffargarh, and Multan) were selected in the Punjab province of Pakistan. A multistage, mixed methods sampling approach was applied to derive 325 samples. Secondary data, observations and a focus group discussion deepened understanding of the topic. The household survey, using a structured questionnaire, was administered to collect information from the required sample, comprised of a flood-affected rural population surrounding three different-sized cities and at varied proximity. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics (frequency analysis, cross-tabulation) and inferential statistics (correlation, regression, chi-square, the Mann-Witney U test). Moreover, an index-based approach was developed to obtain the composite values of the three components of vulnerability: (1) exposure, (2) susceptibility and (3) capacity. The findings show that flooding severely affects rural households both directly and indirectly. The ramifications have led to several changes among rural households; most notably, they have modified how they earn a living and their relationship with the nearest major city. Floods have shifted the flow of people, information, finances, goods, and services between rural and urban areas. The research indicates that rural-urban linkages are altered in that flooding both increases and decreases rural households’ dependence on cities in different ways. These outcomes are largely driven by socio-economic, spatial, and flood-related factors. In terms of vulnerability, first, the findings signal that rural populations surrounding smaller cities are less exposed, but more vulnerable, as compared to rural households that surround larger cities. This is because rural populations adjoining larger cities are better able to deal with flood hazards due to stronger linkages. Secondly, the results confirmed that distance to the city influences the vulnerability of surrounding farming households. Rural farming households located close to cities are less vulnerable, mainly due to a better transfer of services and facilities from cities, which has made such households more educated, informed, financially strong and more closely connected, with easier access to public and private institutions. Thus, city size and proximity to the city modify linkages that further impact the flood vulnerability of the rural population. Lastly, changes in linkages made by rural households following a flood influence their overall vulnerability differently; increasing linkages with the city after a flood reduce their vulnerability, while decreasing linkages with the city exacerbate it. These changes in linkages are used to adapt to future floods and affect rural households’ vulnerability both positively and negatively. Hence, the dynamics of linkages and rural households’ exchanges with cities are crucial to reducing their vulnerability to future flood hazards. This study paves the way for regional planners and disaster managers to establish synergies between them for devising integrated flood management and development strategies that strengthen linkages, mitigate disparities and curtail vulnerability.
Appears in Collections:02 Fakultät Bau- und Umweltingenieurwissenschaften

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