How do Manufacturing Firms Respond to Floods? Adaptation Between Action and Inaction in Ho Chi Minh City


About the Seminar

The megacity Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is heavily affected by regular flood events, as the latest severe flooding in November 2018 exemplifies. The economic powerhouse of Vietnam provides an appropriate example of a location facing manifold challenges due to its exposure to natural hazards and notably high levels in current flooding. Additionally, the city is confronted with an ongoing process of rapid industrialization. Hence, multiple local effects are induced, e.g. the emergence of private businesses within the (peri-)urban area. Particularly firms in the manufacturing sector are at the front line in terms of loss and damage caused by flooding, as they are characterized by hard-to-change infrastructure and a strong dependence on the down  and upstream supplier system. The research on damage evaluation of firms is burgeoning within the last years, but the state of the art widely neglects firms’ response to flood events particularly in developing countries. Moreover, a clear understanding of how and under which conditions firms develop adaptation strategies has been sparsely addressed. Against this backdrop, we provide an improved understanding of firms’ response to the uncertainty of flooding, applying a more actor-centred and risk-anticipative perspective. First, we reveal conforming firm types on the basis of the Vietnam Enterprise Census Survey (2016) within flood-exposed areas in HCMC. Second, drawing on the preliminary results of in-depth interviews from 2018 and 2019, we aim to map their implemented and planned adaptation measures and thus decipher exemplary patterns of adaptive strategies.

About the Speaker

Javier Revilla Diez holds a Chair in Human Geography at the Institute of Geography and is associated to the Global South Study Center at the University of Cologne. He has research interests in the regional outcomes of participating in global production networks, regional impacts of transformation processes induced by political and structural change, and impacts of natural risks on people, firms, and regions. The regional focus is on urban and rural areas in Southeast/East Asia and Africa. As a former visiting fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, he analyzed Singapore’s role in the oil and gas industry in Southeast Asia. Recently, he started a research project targeting the flood exposure, impacts and adaptation options of individual firms and businesses in Ho Chi Minh City. In addition, he participates in the collaborative research center “Future Rural Africa: Future-making and social-ecological transformation” and concentrates on the desired and undesirable regional socio-economic effects of two growth corridors in Namibia and Tanzania.


For registration, please click here. Registration closes on 16 September 2019.


Sep 17 2019


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2