As a president's doctoral scholar at the GDI, my research focuses on two Chinese and Japanese-led port infrastructure projects, the Lamu Port and the Dongo Kundu SEZ, in two Kenyan Coastal cities: Lamu and Mombasa. The objective of this research project is to conduct a comparative study of both projects through a close analysis of their effects on the two cities and how in return these singular urban agglomerations affect the projects.
My conceptual framework includes a diverse set of disciplines, mainly anthropology, geography, political ecology and international relations and aims at grasping how the current 'infrastructure turn' in development policies influences geopolitical rivalries and transforms southern urbanity and territories. I particularly intend to study how both projects produce specific socio-ecological relations that entail 'metabolic regimes' marked by the unequal distribution of benefits and pollution.
The research project also stems from current debates regarding the possibility of a "new cold war" between China and the US (and its allies), and I intend to see in what sense it could be interesting to analyse the nascent rivalry through the lens of what I call a "geopolitical ecology" of competing regimes of production of spaces and mobilities.
My PhD Scholarship is a joint initiative between the Universities of Manchester and Melbourne and I am currently under the supervision of Seth Schindler, Kevin Ward, Julie Tian Miao and Patrick Cobinah.