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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Life Sciences - Resource Economics

Dissertation of Ruhi Gandhi

Vulnerability of Urban Poor to Changes in Food Accessibility: A study of opportunities and constraints for adaptation to climate change and rapid urbanization in Hyderabad

Start: February 2010
End: February 2013

Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, is undergoing rapid urbanization and economic development. Nevertheless, the urban poor constituting 23 % of the total city population, struggle for basic amenities, including food. Although urbanization has brought better income opportunities to the poor and food is readily available in market, poor urban households are vulnerable to factors such as food price inflation. The poor families living in slum settlements are daily wage earners, street food vendors and marginal farmers. They are often employed in low skilled work in informal sector where jobs are highly unstable with low wage rates and susceptible to seasonal variations. The present institutions, governance structures and policies such as the Public Distribution System and livelihood or pension schemes have not been effective in improving the food security of the poor. Therefore, the study aims to explore the vulnerability of urban poor households to changes in food accessibility caused by climate change and rapid urbanization. In particular, the role of existing institutions, governance structures and policies in determining food access will be analyzed. As rapid urbanization and increased frequency of extreme climatic events may create new interdependencies between various actors, this may weaken existing institutions and governance structures or even render them obsolete, and the policies and programmes in place may become ineffective. Accordingly, analyzing the robustness or potential failure of existing institutions and governance structures when they will be exposed to rapid urbanization and climate change represents an important component of the project.


Researcher: Gandhi, Ruhi

Cooperation partners: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Advisors: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Konrad Hagedorn, Dr. Katharine Nora Farrell

Funding: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

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