This Interventions essay presents 14 stories of, and positions on, urban climates in South Asia. We look analytically and linguistically from this region to engage the terms ‘mahaul’, ‘mausam’ and ‘aab-o-hawa’ as critical concepts to conceptualize climate in its political, social, historic, atmospheric, ecological, material, sensory and embodied registers. Gathered together, the stories scaffold a perspective on climate that connects concerns about broader structural conditions (mahaul); local and lived experiences in different temporal registers (mausam) and sociomaterial entanglements that demand new ways of knowing nature (aab-o-hawa). An expansive yet grounded conceptualization allows us to narrate individual cases and local climate stories in their multiplicity and difference, rather than through cumulative effects across much wider geographies. This essay on South Asian urban climates provides an analytical frame based on shared colonial history, and geographies connecting experiences of climate across fraught geopolitical borders. These diverse South Asian urbanisms provide evidence of a range of environmental vulnerabilities, while seeking possibilities in already existing climates—in the seas and airs that reorient the experience of land and atmosphere, in centering marginalized voices, in historical remnants to read contemporary urban change, in exploring planning agency grounded in local politics, and from the position of partial knowledge that being within urban climates entails.
Nida Rehman, Aparna Parikh, Zachary Lamb, Shruti Syal, D. Asher Ghertner, SiddhaRth Menon, Nausheen Anwar, Hira Nabi, Waqas Butt, Malini Ranganathan, Krithika Srinivasan, Harshavardhan Bhat, Anthony Powis, Nikhil Anand
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