Bridging Systems and People-Centred Approaches in Urban Vulnerability Research: Insights for Resilience from Dawei, Myanmar

  • Taylor MartinEmail author
  • Melissa Marschke
  • Saw Win
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


Dawei, a coastal secondary city in southeastern Myanmar, is poised to face significant social and environmental change. Dawei’s location at the head of the Dawei River estuary, just 30 kilometres from the Andaman Sea and 350 kilometres to the west of Bangkok, has attracted increasing attention from foreign investors. Namely, to develop a Special Economic Zone, build the largest deep-sea port in the region, and connect Dawei by road to the southern economic corridor of mainland Southeast Asia. Little is known about how these developments will affect Dawei, nor how climate change will interact with such changes to shape urban vulnerability. In this chapter, we examine how Dawei’s urban systems are exposed to various climatic and non-climatic stresses and investigate how this plays out through people’s everyday livelihoods. Our analysis then turns to how people cope and adapt to social and environmental change, illuminating how social capital and the ways that people relate are fundamental to shaping resilience. We situate this analysis within the larger context of Myanmar’s political and economic transition, highlighting both the challenges that this transition poses to vulnerability and the possibility of shaping a resilient future.


Vulnerability Livelihoods Environmental change Urban socio-ecological systems Secondary cities Myanmar 



This chapter was written as part of the research programme called Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia (UCRSEA). We greatly appreciate the time that households, NGO staff, CSOs, and municipal officials took to meet with two of the authors for this research, along with the support of UCRSEA and MercyCorps, Myanmar in facilitating this work. Discussions with Nilan Fernando, Dr. Richard Friend, and Dr. Pakamas Thinphanga at the design stage of this research were most helpful. We also thank Dr. Amrita Daniere, Dr. Matthias Garshagen, and Yanjun Cai for feedback on an earlier draft of this chapter. The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Council (SSHRC) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of International Development and Global StudiesUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Maubin UniversityMaubinMyanmar

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