Climate Change, Urban Futures, and the Gendering of Cities in South Asia
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Comprised of the nation-states of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, South Asia is home to an estimated 1.5 billion people. This region accommodates a large portion of the world's poor and margin alised populations, an increasing share of which live in urban areas. Between 2001 and 2011 South Asia's urban population grew by 130 million and is projected to reach 250 million by 2030. South Asia is also anticipated to be one of the regions worst affected by climate change; its cities are under serious threat from rising air pollution and sea levels, increasing incidences of extreme weather events such as floods, cyclones and storm surges, in addition to the irregularity of the monsoons and intense heat waves. Many cities in this region are located on floodplains, in dry areas or on coasts where severe floods have led to the destruction of homes, the loss of livelihoods and the loss of life. The prediction of the Intergovernmen tal Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007 that freshwater shortages in South Asia would be compounded by flooding (from rivers, flash floods and sea surges) has proven to be accurate. Furthermore, more than 800 million people in South Asia presently live in communities projected to become zones with extremely high temperatures that will cause increased damage, especially under the region's carbon-intensive energy regimes.