Urbanization and Environment

Coordinator: Siri Aas Rustad

​​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

Recent publications

Hoelscher, Kristian (2017) Institutional Reform and Violence Reduction in Pernambuco, Brazil, Journal of Latin American Studies. DOI: forthcoming.
Buhaug, Halvard (2017) Food insecurity and political instability, in Dahlhaus, Nora; & Daniela Weißkopf, eds, Future Scenarios of Global Cooperation – Practices and Challenges. Duisburg: Centre for Global Cooperation Research (105–112).
Theisen, Ole Magnus (2017) Climate Change and Violence: Insights from Political Science, Current Climate Change Reports. DOI: 10.1007/s40641-017-0079-5.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2017) Smart Cities, Mobile Technologies and Social Cohesion in India, Indian Journal of Human Development 11(1): 1–17.

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Hoelscher, Kristian (2017) Institutional Reform and Violence Reduction in Pernambuco, Brazil, Journal of Latin American Studies. DOI: forthcoming.
Theisen, Ole Magnus (2017) Climate Change and Violence: Insights from Political Science, Current Climate Change Reports. DOI: 10.1007/s40641-017-0079-5.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2017) Smart Cities, Mobile Technologies and Social Cohesion in India, Indian Journal of Human Development 11(1): 1–17.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2017) Smart Cities, Mobile Technologies and Social Cohesion in India, Indian Journal of Human Development 11(1).
Rustad, Siri Aas; Philippe Le Billon & Päivi Lujala (2017) Has the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative been a success? Identifying and evaluating EITI goals, Resources Policy 51: 151–162.
Sandvik, Kristin Bergtora & Kristian Hoelscher (2017) The Reframing of the War on Drugs as a “Humanitarian Crisis”: Costs, Benefits and Consequences, Latin American Perspectives 44(4): 168–182.
Seter, Hanne; Ole Magnus Theisen & Janpeter Schilling (2016) All about water and land? Resource-related conflicts in East and West Africa revisited, Geojournal. DOI: 10.1007/s10708-016-9762-7: 1–19.
Hoelscher, Kristian & Jason Miklian (2016) A Blueprint for Pro-Peace Innovation, Harvard International Review 37(4).
Buhaug, Halvard (2016) Climate Change and Conflict: Taking Stock, Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy 22(4): 331–338.
Smørdal, Ole; Kristina Ebbing Wensaas; Susana Lopez-Aparicio; Ida Nilstad Pettersen & Kristian Hoelscher (2016) Key Issues for Enhancing Citizen Participation in Co-constructing City Futures, CEUR Workshop Proceedings 1776: 68–75.
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.
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(2): 77–80.
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.
Hoelscher, Kristian & Enzo Nussio (2016) Understanding Unlikely Successes in Urban Violence Reduction, Urban Studies 53(11): 2397–2416.
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.
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.
Hoelscher, Kristian (2015) Politics and Social Violence in Developing Democracies: Theory and Evidence from Brazil, Political Geography 44(1): 29–39.
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.
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.
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 Uexkull (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: The Future of Urban Planning in the Developing World, Harvard International Review 35(4): 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.
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.
Binningsbø, Helga Malmin & Siri Aas Rustad (2012) Sharing the Wealth: A Pathway to Peace or a Trail to Nowhere?, Conflict Management and Peace Science 29(5): 547–566.
Brochmann, Marit; Jan Ketil Rød & Nils Petter Gleditsch (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 & Päivi Lujala (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): 81–96.
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. & Scott Gates (2012) African Range Wars: Climate, Conflict, and Property Rights, Journal of Peace Research 49(1): 23–34.
Urdal, Henrik; Ole Magnus Theisen; Nils Petter Gleditsch & Halvard Buhaug (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

Buhaug, Halvard (2017) Food insecurity and political instability, in Dahlhaus, Nora; & Daniela Weißkopf, eds, Future Scenarios of Global Cooperation – Practices and Challenges. Duisburg: Centre for Global Cooperation Research (105–112).
Theisen, Ole Magnus; Nils Petter Gleditsch & Halvard Buhaug (2017) Climate Change and Armed Conflict: Reviewing the Evidence, in Stohl, Michael; Mark I. Lichbach; & Peter Nils Grabosky, eds, States and Peoples in Conflict. New York: Routledge (113–129).
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 Sebastian Sperling, ed., 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, 18 October.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2016) En beretning om fremtidens byer [On the Future of Cities], Ny Tid, 13 October.
Mistelbacher, Jochen (2015) Smart cities no panacea for urban future, Deccan Herald, 26 March.
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, 21 August.
Hoelscher, Kristian (2014) Selvmål i Brasil [An Own Goal in Brazil], Aftenposten, 18 June.
Hoelscher, Kristian & Jason Miklian (2014) Kontroversiell og hardtslående [Controversial and Hardhitting], Dagsavisen, 9 May.
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, 14 January.
Miklian, Jason (2013) Rough Cut, Foreign Policy, 2 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) 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

What to Expect from India at COP23?

Posted by Åshild Kolås & Uttam Sinha on Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Climate change is not a one-way street of cause and effect. International negotiations on climate change and the reduction of emissions are equally complex. A consistent Indian demand has been  green technology transfer from “high-emitting” developed countries. An equally longstanding principle is that of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities, ... Read more »

Climate, Peace and Security

Posted by Halvard Buhaug on Sunday, 12 February 2017

Despite rapid scientific progress, firm knowledge about the societal consequences of global warming remains limited. What are the implications of climate change for peace and security? Should we expect more wars and more political instability as the world heats up? The real concerns linked to climate change are not about ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »

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), ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »