Balakrishnan Balachandran

Balakrishnan Balachandran PhD Candidate

Hometown: Thiruvananthapuram, India

Where did you go for undergrad and what did you major in?

Bachelor of Architecture, University of Kerala, India; Post Graduate Diploma in Planning, CEPT University, India

Research:My PhD research is on disaster-induced relocation of communities, examining the social, economic and political dynamics of the relocation planning process. From households and communities, to planners and decision makers, all the stakeholders in disaster recovery negotiate tradeoffs between hazard risk and other risks including risks to livelihood, social networks and cultural identity. My research investigates how planners and decision makers deal with these risk tradeoffs and how planning processes can take them into account to improve outcomes for affected communities. I have initiated detailed case study research in South Louisiana, where I study ongoing processes of relocation. The coastal communities in this region have been experiencing both chronic and acute disasters. There has been gradual and progressive land loss due to subsidence, erosion and other factors. The region has also experienced hurricanes and storm surges, causing flooding and structural damage. As they lost their homes, families have been relocating individually over several decades and currently there is an ongoing project to proactively relocate a whole community. This entire regional context with the diverse range of relocation scenarios constitutes my case study.

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