Urbanization and Environment

Coordinator: Kristian Hoelscher

​​Over half the world’s population now lives in cities, with this number to reach 70 percent by 2050. Moreover, climate change poses one of the greatest challenges of this century. Focusing on the city as a site, and urbanization, demographic and environmental change as processes, the Urbanization and Environment research group examines how spatial, demographic and physical factors condition human affairs, and their implications for peace and conflict dynamics. 

​The group takes a multi-disciplinary perspective, engaging researchers using both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Researchers use disaggregated data and approaches to understand cross-scale dynamics of linkages between urbanization, demography, the environment and sociopolitical outcomes; and engage comparative approaches to understand the relevance of local factors and conditions.


 
Selected research themes include:
  • Interrelations between governance, institutions and violence in urban areas
  • Implications of linkages between urbanization and climate change 
  • Demographic causes and consequences of armed conflict
  • The security implications of climate variability 
  • Conflict and cooperation over resource accessibility and distribution 
  • Spatial patterns and drivers of armed conflict.

Publications

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Sandvik, Kristin Bergtora & Kristian Hoelscher (2017) The Reframing of the War on Drugs as a “Humanitarian Crisis”: Costs, Benefits and Attendant Consequences, Latin American Perspectives (Forthcoming).
von Uexkull, Nina; Mihai Croicu; Hanne Fjelde & Halvard Buhaug (2016) Civil conflict sensitivity to growing season drought, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113(44): 12391–12396.
Lujala, Päivi & Siri Aas Rustad (2016) Engines for Peace? Extractive Industries, Host Countries, and the International Community in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding , Natural Resources 7(2016).
Rustad, Siri Aas; Gudrun Østby & Ragnhild Nordås (2016) Does Artisanal Mining Increase the Risk of Sexual Violence? Micro-level evidence from Eastern Congo, Quality In Primary Care 24(33).
Rustad, Siri Aas (2016) Socioeconomic Inequalities and Attitudes toward Violence: A Test with New Survey Data in the Niger Delta, International Interactions 42(1): 106–139.
Rustad, Siri Aas; Gudrun Østby & Ragnhild Nordås (2016) Artisanal mining, conflict, and sexual violence in Eastern DRC, The Extractive Industries and Society 3(2): 475–484.
Hegre, Håvard; Halvard Buhaug; Katherine V. Calvin; Jonas Nordkvelle; Stephanie T. Waldhoff & Elisabeth Gilmore (2016) Forecasting civil conflict along the shared socioeconomic pathways, Environmental Research Letters 11(5): 054002.
Hoelscher, Kristian (2016) The Evolution of the Smart Cities Agenda in India, International Area Studies Review 19(1): 28–44.
Hoelscher, Kristian & Rumi Aijaz (2016) Challenges and Opportunities in an Urbanising India, International Area Studies Review 19(1): 1–9.
Hoelscher, Kristian & Enzo Nussio (2016) Understanding Unlikely Successes in Urban Violence Reduction, Urban Studies. DOI: 10.1177/0042098015589892.
Reid-Henry, Simon (2015) Genealogies of Liberal Violence: Human Rights, State Violence and the Police, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 33(4): 626–641.
Buhaug, Halvard; Tor Arve Benjaminsen; Espen Sjaastad & Ole Magnus Theisen (2015) Climate variability, food production shocks, and violent conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa, Environmental Research Letters 10(12): 125015–.
Hoelscher, Kristian (2015) Darkness in the City of Light: The Paris Attacks and Urban Security in Europe, Harvard International Review.
Østby, Gudrun (2015) Rural-Urban Migration, Inequality and Urban Social Disorder: Evidence from African and Asian Cities, Conflict Management and Peace Science. DOI: 10.1177/0738894215581315 .
Buhaug, Halvard (2015) Climate–conflict research: some reflections on the way forward, Wires Climate Change 6(3): 269–275.
Tollefsen, Andreas Forø & Halvard Buhaug (2015) Insurgency and Inaccessibility, International Studies Review 17(1): 6–25.
Hoelscher, Kristian (2015) Politics and Social Violence in Developing Democracies: Theory and Evidence from Brazil, Political Geography 44(1): 29–39.
Gürel, Ayla & Laura Le Cornu (2014) Can Gas Catalyse Peace in the Eastern Mediterranean?, The International Spectator: Italian Journal of International Affairs 49(2): 11–33.
Wischnath, Gerdis & Halvard Buhaug (2014) Rice or riots: On food production and conflict severity across India, Political Geography 43: 6–15.
Buhaug, Halvard; Jonas Nordkvelle; Thomas Bernauer; Tobias Böhmelt; Michael Brzoska; Joshua W. Busby; Antonio Ciccone; Hanne Fjelde; Erik Gartzke; Nils Petter Gleditsch; Jack A. Goldstone; Håvard Hegre; Helge Holtermann; Vally Koubi; Jasmin S. A. Link; Peter Michael Link; Päivi Lujala; John O'Loughlin; Clionadh Raleigh; Jürgen Scheffran; Janpeter Schilling; Todd G. Smith; Ole Magnus Theisen; Richard S. J. Tol; Henrik Urdal & Nina von Uexküll (2014) One effect to rule them all? A comment on climate and conflict, Climatic Change 127(3): 391–397.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2014) A Tale of New Cities, Harvard International Review 36(1): 13–18.
Böhmelt, Tobias; Thomas Bernauer; Halvard Buhaug; Nils Petter Gleditsch; Theresa Tribaldos & Gerdis Wischnath (2014) Demand, Supply, and Restraint: Determinants of Domestic Water Conflict and Cooperation, Global Environmental Change 29: 337–348.
Wischnath, Gerdis & Halvard Buhaug (2014) On Climate Variability and Civil War in Asia, Climatic Change 122(4): 709–721.
Buhaug, Halvard (2014) Concealing Agreements over Climate-Conflict Results, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111(6).
Theisen, Ole Magnus; Nils Petter Gleditsch & Halvard Buhaug (2013) Is climate change a driver of armed conflict?, Climatic Change 117(3): 613–625.
Binningsbø, Helga Malmin; & Rustad, Siri Aas (2012) Sharing the wealth: A pathway to peace or a trail to nowhere? , Conflict Management and Peace Science 29(5): 547–566.
Urdal, Henrik & Kristian Hoelscher (2012) Explaining Urban Social Disorder and Violence: An Empirical Study of Event Data from Asian and Sub-Saharan African Cities, International Interactions 38(4): 512–528.
Rustad, Siri Aas; & Helga Malmin Binningsbø (2012) A Price Worth Fighting For? Natural Resources and Conflict Recurrence, Journal of Peace Research 49(4): 531–546.
Fox, Sean & Kristian Hoelscher (2012) Political Order, Development and Social Violence, Journal of Peace Research 49(3): 431–444.
Bernauer, Thomas; Tobias Böhmelt; Halvard Buhaug; Nils Petter Gleditsch; Theresa Tribaldos; Eivind Berg Weibust; & Gerdis Wischnath (2012) Water-Related Intrastate Conflict and Cooperation (WARICC): A New Event Dataset, International Interactions 38(4): 529–545.
Benjaminsen, Tor Arve; Koffi Alinon; Halvard Buhaug & Jill Tove Buseth (2012) Does Climate Change Drive Land-use Conflicts in the Sahel, Journal of Peace Research 49(1): 97–111.
Brochmann, Marit;Rød, Jan Ketil; & Gleditsch, Nils Petter (2012)International Borders and Conflict Revisited , Conflict Management and Peace Science 29(2): 170–194.
Sandvik, Kristin Bergtora (2012) Negotiating the Humanitarian Past: History, Memory, and Unstable Cityscapes in Kampala, Uganda, Refugee Survey Quarterly 31(1): 108–122.
Bergholt, Drago; & Lujala, Päivi (2012) Climate-related Natural Disasters, Economic Growth, and Armed Civil Conflict , Journal of Peace Research 49(1): 147–162.
Hendrix, Cullen & Kristian Skrede Gleditsch (2012) Civil War: Is it all About Disease and Xenophobia? A Comment on Letendre, Fincher & Thornhill, Biological Reviews 87(1): 163–167.
Slettebak, Rune (2012) Don’t Blame the Weather! Climate-related Natural Disasters and Civil Conflict , Journal of Peace Research 49(1): 163–176.
Theisen, Ole Magnus (2012) Climate Clashes? Weather Variability, Land Pressure, and Organized Violence in Kenya, 1989-2004, Journal of Peace Research 49(1): 79–106.
Gleditsch, Nils Petter (2012)Whither the Weather? Climate Change and Conflict , Journal of Peace Research 49(1): 3–9.
Theisen, Ole Magnus; Helge Holtermann; & Halvard Buhaug (2012) Climate Wars? Assessing the Claim that Drought Breeds Conflict, International Security 36(3): 79–106.
Butler, Christopher K.; & Gates, Scott (2012)African Range Wars: Climate, Conflict, and Property Rights , Journal of Peace Research 49(1): 23–34.
Oba, Gufu (2011) Colonial Resource Capture: Triggers of Ethnic Conflicts in the Northern Frontier District of Kenya, 1903-1930 , Journal of Eastern African Studies 5(3): 505–534.
Urdal, Henrik;Theisen, Ole Magnus;Gleditsch, Nils Petter; & Buhaug, Halvard (2010) Klimakriger? En vurdering av det faglige grunnlaget [Climate Wars? An Assessment of the Scientific Foundation] , Norsk Statsvitenskapelig Tidsskrift 26(4): 297–320.
Raleigh, Clionadh & Håvard Hegre (2009) Population Size, Concentration, and Civil War: A Geographically Disaggregated Analysis, Political Geography 28(4): 224–238.
Carling, Jørgen (2008) Toward a Demography of Immigrant Communities and Their Transnational Potential, International Migration Review 42(2): 449–475.

Book Chapter

Hendrix, Cullen; Scott Gates & Halvard Buhaug (2016) Environment and Conflict, in Mason, T. David; & Sara McLaughlin Mitchell, eds, What Do We Know About Civil Wars?. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield (231–246).
Baev, Pavel K. (2015) Russia Gambles on Resource Scarcity: Energy Intrigues in a Time of Political Crisis, in Steven, David ; Emily O'Brien; & Bruce Jones, eds, The New Politics of Strategic Resources: Energy and Food Security Challenges In the 21St Century. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press (245–260).
Nordås, Ragnhild & Nils Petter Gleditsch (2015) Climate change and conflict, in Hartland, Susanne; & Wolfgang Liebert, eds, Competition and Conflicts on Resource Use. London: Springer (21–38).
Lujala, Päivi & Siri Aas Rustad (2012) High-value Natural Resources: A Blessing or a Curse for Peace?, in Siri Aas Rustad, ed., High-Value Natural Resources and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding. Abingdon: Earthscan (3–18).
Ross, Michael W.; Päivi Lujala & Siri Aas Rustad (2012) Horizontal Inequality, Decentralizing the Distribution of Natural Resources Revenues, and Peace, in High-Value Natural Resources and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding. Abingdon: Earthscan (251–259).
Rustad, Siri Aas; Päivi Lujala & Philippe Le Billon (2012) Building or Spoiling Peace? Lessons from the Management of the High-Value Natural Resources, in High-Value Natural Resources and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding. Abingdon: Earthscan (571–621).
de Soysa, Indra & Michael Roll (2011) Natural Resource Curse and State Failure: A Comparative View of Sub-Saharan, in Fuelling the World ­ Failing the Region? Oil Governance and Development In Africa¹s Gulf of Guinea. Berlin: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung .

Edited Volume

Lujala, Päivi; & Siri Aas Rustad, eds, (2012) High-Value Natural Resources and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding. Abingdon: Earthscan. Post-Conflict Peacebuilding and Natural Resource Management.

Non-refereed Journal Article

Buhaug, Halvard (2010) Reply to Burke et al.: Bias and Climate War Research, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 107(51): 186–187.

Popular Article

Hoelscher, Kristian; Hanne Cecilie Geirbo; Ingrid Nytun Christie; Lisbet Harboe & Sobah Abbas Petersen (2016) Hvilken vei skal byene gå? [Which Way Will Cities Go?], Dagsavisen.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2016) En beretning om fremtidens byer [On the Future of Cities], Ny Tid.
Hoelscher, Kristian (2015) Angrepene i Paris kan få enorme konsekvenser for europeiske storbyer [Paris attacks can have enourmous consequences for European cities], Aftenposten.
Mistelbacher, Jochen (2015) Smart cities no panacea for urban future, Deccan Herald.
Norheim-Martinsen, Per Martin & Kristian Hoelscher (2014) Kan ditt nabolag få urban krigføring à la Ferguson? [Could your neighbourhood see urban warfare à la Ferguson?], Aftenposten.
Hoelscher, Kristian (2014) Selvmål i Brasil [An Own Goal in Brazil], Aftenposten.
Hoelscher, Kristian & Jason Miklian (2014) Kontroversiell og hardtslående [Controversial and Hardhitting], Dagsavisen.
Miklian, Jason (2013) “Let’s Deal”: A Conversation with a Diamond Smuggler, Words Without Borders, 6 September.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2013) Government Quells Maoist Rebellion in West Bengal, New York Times.
Miklian, Jason (2013) Rough Cut, Foreign Policy, 02 January.
Gleditsch, Nils Petter (2010) Klima og politisk uro [Climate and Political Unrest], Aftenposten, 21 July.
Benjaminsen, Tor Arve (2009) Samarbeid om knappe ressurser [Cooperation over scarce resources], Aftenposten, 10 December.

PRIO Report

Hoelscher, Kristian; Katherine Edelen; Jason Miklian; Silje Holen; Joyeeta Bhattacharjee; Line Barkved; Farzana Jahan; Hari Bansh Jha; & Åshild Kolås (2013) Water Scarcity in Bangladesh. Transboundary Rivers, Conflict and Cooperation, PRIO Report, 1. Oslo: PRIO.

Master Thesis

Wischnath, Gerdis (2011) Climate Change and Civil War? A Quantitative Approach on Climate Variability and Armed Conflict in Asia. MA thesis, Department of Geography, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.

Conference Paper

Rustad, Siri Aas; Gudrun Østby & Ragnhild Nordås (2014) Artisanal Mining, Conflict and Sexual Violence: Micro-Level Evidence from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, presented at The 49th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, Toronto, 26–29 March .
Buhaug, Halvard & Gerdis Wischnath (2013) On climate-conflict dynamics across India, presented at 54th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, San Francisco, CA, 3–6 April.
Wischnath, Gerdis & Halvard Buhaug (2012) Heat Waves and Rebel Raves? On Climate Variability and Civil War in Asia, presented at Annual convention of the International Studies Association, San Diego, CA, 1–4 April.
Urdal, Henrik; Kristian Hoelscher & Halvard Buhaug (2012) Does Urbanization Lead to More Peace? Rural-Urban Age Structure Differentials and Civil War, presented at The Annual convention of the International Studies Association, San Diego, CA, 1–4 April.

PRIO Policy Brief

Rustad, Siri Aas & Kristian Hoelscher (2016) Apoio ao diálogo de diversas partes interessadas em Barcarena, Brasil [Supporting Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue in Barcarena, Brazil], PRIO Policy Brief, 26. Oslo: PRIO.
Miklian, Jason & Niranjan Sahoo (2016) Supporting a More Inclusive and Responsive Urban India, PRIO Policy Brief, 3. Oslo: PRIO.
Buhaug, Halvard & Ida Rudolfsen (2015) A Climate of Conflicts?, Conflict Trends, 5. Oslo: PRIO.
Miklian, Jason (2013) Exposing and Limiting the Global Trade in Conflict Diamonds, PRIO Policy Brief, 7. Oslo: PRIO.

PRIO Paper

Buhaug, Halvard & Jonas Nordkvelle (2014) Climate and conflict: A Comment on Hsiang et al.'s Reply to Buhaug et al., PRIO Paper. Oslo: Peace Research Institute Oslo.
Rolandsen, Øystein H. & Ingrid Marie Breidlid (2013) What is Youth Violence in Jonglei?, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Buhaug, Halvard; Håvard Hegre & Håvard Strand (2010) Sensitivity Analysis of Climate Variability and Civil War, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.

Report - Other

Gilmore, Elisabeth; Halvard Buhaug; & Håvard Hegre (2016) Maintaining security: What can be done to prevent the pressures of climate change leading to conflict?, Climate 2020. Rising to the Challenge. London: United Nations Association - UK.

Blog Posts

How did the 13 November Paris Killers get their Guns?

Posted by Nic Marsh on Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Full details of the arms used in the 13 November massacres will emerge in time. This post provides some information on illicit automatic weapons, such as the Kalashnikov, in France, and how they reach illicit markets. Overall, it appears that there is a pool of several thousand illicit military style firearms in France and relatively small numbers are trafficked in from abroad. Such quantities mean that terrorists and criminals in France and neighbouring countries can obtain Kalashnikovs and similar weapons, and that should be a matter of great concern. Nevertheless, Europe is very far from being ‘awash’ with illegal Kalashnikovs ...

Paris Attacks may have Consequences for European Cities

Posted by Kristian Hoelscher on Monday, 16 November 2015

Attacks in Paris show how urban security challenges are becoming more complex. They ask difficult questions and present no easy answers. Friday’s attacks in Paris were an alarming reminder of the threats of organised violence in European cities. This comes less than a year after the assault against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and days after similar attacks in Beirut, in Lebanon, and Sinai, in Egypt. The coordinated events in the French capital were quickly linked with islamic terrorist groups, with ISIS on Saturday claiming responsibility. In response, the French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency, implemented curfews ...

Pakistan’s Crippling Energy Crisis and Increasing Remittances

Posted by Marta Bivand Erdal & Zain Ul Abdin on Thursday, 1 October 2015

Deadly heat exposes Pakistan’s power problems. This summer CNBC run a report titled Deadly heat exposes Pakistan’s power problems after more than a thousand people died during heatwaves during the first days of Ramadan. Insufficient preparedness for the heatwave is largely seen as the cause of deaths, yet the context of the protracted electricity crisis in Pakistan is also widely connected with the scale of deaths and hospitalization during this summer’s heatwave. Pakistan’s energy crisis has worsened over the past few years, with increasing gaps between electricity supply and demand in the country. The crisis has been reported on in ...

A Climate of Conflicts?

Posted by Halvard Buhaug & Ida Rudolfsen on Thursday, 7 May 2015

Political violence correlates strongly with climate: Civil conflict risk is seven to ten times higher in dry and tropical climates than in continental climate zones. Yet, there is little evidence that climatic variability and change are important in understanding this pattern. The prospect of climate change causing forced migration and food and economic insecurity, meanwhile, raises new concerns about possible future conflict scenarios. Climate change is not likely to have a common and universal effect on armed conflict risk. Indirect effects of climate on conflict may work via migration, food insecurity or economic shocks. Many of the factors that increase ...

Reflections on Climate-Conflict Research: More Confusion than Knowledge

Posted by Halvard Buhaug on Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Does climate change constitute a threat to peace and security? Many agree that it does. The US administration’s new National Security Strategy, launched last month, portrays climate change as ‘an urgent and growing threat.’ And this week, a new study appears to add scientific credibility to this concern, suggesting human-caused climate change contributed to the drought that preceded the Syrian civil war. So does the Syrian case represent a general pattern, where climate changes and extremes are systematically increasing conflict risk? The short answer is no. But if scientists want to explore these links more closely, there are a few ...

A Tale of New Cities: The Future of Urban Planning in the Developing World

Posted by Jason Miklian & Kristian Hoelscher on Friday, 27 June 2014

The global shift from rural to urban living will be the most important demographic transformation of the 21st century. All great shifts create the opportunity for great fortunes, especially for those with audacious visions who are positioned to capitalize on them. Indian industrialist Ajit Gulabchand runs Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), which is responsible for some of the country’s most iconic infrastructure projects. In what might be the single biggest bet in the history of Indian real estate, Gulabchand has staked HCC’s future – and his own family fortune – on a cluster of five planned cities perched along artificial fjords ...

An Own Goal in Brazil

Posted by Kristian Hoelscher on Monday, 16 June 2014

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff must see off two fast gaining rivals to win reelection in October. Problems during the World Cup might end up being be her political downfall. With the World Cup underway, the eyes of the world are on the football in Brazil. Off the field though, the focus has been on violence in the country’s cities and the wave of protests that started last summer. Protesters took to the streets over the lack essential investment in health, education, transport, and other critical areas of need in Brazilian society, and how this contrasted with the exorbitant sums spent ...

Electing India's Future

Posted by Jason Miklian & Kristian Hoelscher on Monday, 12 May 2014

In April, 800 hundred million people began casting their ballots all across India in the largest election the world has ever seen. When we think of voting in India, we often picture a poor elderly villager showing a big ink-stained thumb and boasting a wide smile as proof of democracy in action. But elections in today’s India mean big money, big ideas and a growing focus on big urban centers as the drivers of development that will continue to catapult it from a 20th century agrarian laggard to a 21st century global power. ​India’s electorate is bigger than all of ...

Climate Change and War

Posted by Nils Petter Gleditsch on Thursday, 17 April 2014

The day after the publication of the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the effects of climate change, Norwegian daily newspaper Dagsavisen was able to report that Norway’s Minister for Climate and Environment now envisaged a future world with more conflicts. This is in line with claims made earlier by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Against this background, I embarked with some anticipation on the report’s 2,679 pages. I found that each of the four chapters that address this question gives a slightly different answer. The question is discussed most thoroughly in the chapter on ...

Roots of conflict : Don't blame environmental decay for the next war

Posted by Nils Petter Gleditsch & Henrik Urdal on Monday, 22 November 2004

When Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan known for her work in human rights and environmental conservation, including efforts to fight deforestation, won the Nobel Peace Prize last month, many took note that the Nobel Committee had evidently expanded its notion of “peace.” “Peace on earth depends on our ability to secure our living environment,” it proclaimed, seeming to embrace an extended concept of peace as “human security.” More probably, the committee intended to highlight scarcity of renewable natural resources as an important cause of war. Their statement, it is true, didn’t deal with that issue directly, but Maathai herself said that ...

An Urban Century: Which Direction Should Cities Take?

Posted by Kristian Hoelscher, Hanne Cecilie Geirbo, Ingrid Nytun Christie, Lisbet Harboe & Sobah Abbas Petersen on Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador this week is the most important meeting on cities and development in decades. It will shape the urban agenda of the 21st century. It is now well-known that the world is more urban than rural, with the challenges of 21st century urbanisation firmly on the agenda. In Quito, Ecuador’s capital, the contrasting opportunities and challenges of cities are fully on display – vibrant and exciting culture, choking pollution, snarling traffic, and prosperity and insecurity varying dramatically between neighborhoods. And it is in Quito this week that these and other challenges will be taken ...