Thinking habitability as socially differentiated, and as influenced by tele-connections - Harald Sterly | Cyberseminar on the Habitability concept

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Marion Borderon

Mar 15, 2023, 3:21:26 PMMar 15
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  Dear all,   

Earlier on, we promised you an intellectually stimulating day J and so I am delighted to share with you the second contribution of our third day of reflection on habitability.

Harald Sterly (University of Vienna, Austria)'s statement "Thinking habitability as socially differentiated, and as influenced by tele-connections", pushes us to broaden our horizons by reminding us that thinking in terms of interconnectivity and translocal livelihoods could make more sense than measuring only the in-situ habitability of a place.

Changes in habitability are indeed not uniform for a given place or spatial unit, and two important aspects are missing from current conceptualizations: changes in habitability do not affect all people living in a given place in the same way, and places are connected to other places through multiple ways.

Harald argues that habitability is distributed unequally along multiple intersecting axes of difference such as gender, age, ethnicity, class, caste, disability, etc., much like risk exposure and vulnerability. It is also important to consider places as connected with other places and units through multiple ways. In this context, the conceptualisation of habitability could not be done without adopting a relational perspective, seeing places as connected across scales and space.

The final message of Harald’s statement is clear and inspirational:  “if we do not take into account tele-connectivities, we might overlook important local habitability changes that stay “hidden” by compensating mechanisms, e.g. very short-term temporary migration, remittance transfers, government or NGO support and subsidies, etc, and thus risk to overestimate the stability of a places’ habitability”.

Please have a read and share your thoughts, comments or questions !


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