UCL Urban Laboratory


Funding Awarded for New Research to Investigate Climate and Culture in Gilgit-Baltistan

22 August 2023

A UCL Global Engagement Fund has been awarded to Professor Nishat Awan and Laajverd, an organisation working at the intersections of cultural geography, design and arts, led by Dr Zahra Hussain.

Yugo village near Skardu, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

The project will investigate climate induced threats and challenges to the landscape in the Hindu Kush Himalaya mountain valleys of Pakistan. Pakistan ranks eighth on the Global Climate Risk Index for 2019 and is termed the fourth most vulnerable to future climate change impacts. This suggests an alarming rise in extreme climate events, which in the Hindu Kush Himalaya mountain valleys mean a heightened risk of glacial Lake outburst floods.

Together with the local community and project partner Dr Zahra Hussain of Laajverd, the research will explore both nature and culture, addressing customary land rights, everyday practices, the vernacular built environment and the immaterial heritage of Kharmang Valley, focusing on how these are being threatened by and adapted to a changing environment. Kharmang Valley is located in the vicinity of Skardu (the largest city in the region and capital of Gilgit-Baltistan province), but remains vulnerable because of its remoteness, harsh terrain and years of conflict due to its close proximity to the Line of Control between Pakistan and India.

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