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Congratulations, Dr Gillian Cornish!

Congratulations to Gillian Cornish who has recently completed her PhD in Planning at UQ. The title of her thesis is ‘Settling into a New Place: Livelihood recovery and belongingness of households forced to relocate in Yangon, Myanmar‘.

This thesis examines the recovery process of people who were forced to relocate from central Yangon, Myanmar, to the city’s outskirts in 1991. While the impacts of forced relocation and resettlement for development projects, particularly in rural settings, are well documented, relatively little is known about how urban relocatees navigate the recovery of their essential assets. In a context of inadequate support provided to rebuild necessary assets, this thesis examines how people who are impacted by forced relocation, who are usually in a marginalised position already, survive and settle into their relocation site.

This research contributes to the conceptual and empirical understandings of how relocated urban households and communities become settled into their new location and cope with impoverishment risks by developing livelihood actions. It uses multiple concepts to create a new way to examine how people attempt to recover from the impacts induced by forced relocation. It builds on the conceptual understandings of impoverishment risks associated with forced displacement and combines it with the particularities of urban poverty to create a lens through which to examine livelihood actions the urban poor develop to survive. The analysis focuses on how relocatees rebuilt their livelihoods, using different types of capitals (social, economic and human) and build their new neighbourhood (housing, infrastructure and services). It also examines how affected people managed to find a ‘sense of belonging’, which is an aspect overlooked in the literature.

Supervisors: Dr Sonia Roitman and A/Prof Karen McNamara