Natasha Affolder


Relevant Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Mar 2019)
International Crime and the Politics of Criminal Theory (2016)

No abstract available.

Reconstituting the role of law in development-induced displacement and resettlement : lessons from Uganda's Bujagali hydroelectric project (2011)

Imagine that one morning you wake up and learn that the place you have called home for generations is no longer going to be home. Your house will be demolished and in its place, government or a private developer will construct a dam or put up a residential complex. You have no right to say no because government has eminent domain over your land (or a legal right to compulsorily acquire it in the public interest). Now imagine that the development will also result in the acquisition of the land on which you grow crops for subsistence and trade. It will close off access to the river where you fetch water for daily household use and catch fish for home consumption and for trade. In other words, this is the land where you live and where you obtain your means of living. Lastly, imagine that the project area also contains your social, cultural and spiritual being. It is where over time, you have built social capital consisting of relatives and friends: a community network that you can count on for daily survival. It is where your ancestors are buried, the religious and spiritual institutions you subscribe to are located and your cultural ties entrenched.This is no fiction. And it is not abstract. It is the everyday reality of the millions of people displaced by mega projects such as dams that are built in the name of development. There is a rich body of literature that explores the issue of development-induced displacement and its impact on communities. This thesis builds on that conversation by situating its analysis in law. Throughout the thesis, I trace the silences of law on the one hand and its aggressiveness on the other hand to determine the ways in which formal legal tools have enabled or disabled Project Affected Communities to secure their interests. I also explore how understanding dam projects from an investment perspective can further the understanding of the challenges faced by these communities when striving for inclusive laws and policies. Uganda’s Bujagali Hydroelectric Project is used as the case study for the analysis.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010-2017)
Adaptive infrastructure regulation : designing for climate change (2016)

Climate change represents a vexing challenge for infrastructure design. There is increasingly widespread acknowledgement that design practices need to change in order to ensure that structures built today can withstand changes in average climate conditions, growing climate variability, and more frequent and extreme weather events over the coming decades. Yet substantial uncertainty persists with respect to the specific future conditions that structures should be designed for, leading to regulatory paralysis: despite the need for urgent action, regulation continues to require that infrastructure design be based on the assumption that past climate will be representative of future climate. This thesis argues that, in the face of this bedevilling combination of urgency and uncertainty, government regulation will be required to generate the changes in design practices needed to ensure that structures designed today will be resilient and robust to the climate impacts they are likely to confront over their lifetimes. Using the example of the National Building Code of Canada, this thesis identifies several stress points in existing regulatory frameworks for infrastructure design. In particular, this thesis demonstrates that existing methods for dealing with uncertainty in infrastructure design regulation are likely to be overwhelmed by the deep uncertainties surrounding climate change, and that the poor adaptive capacity of existing frameworks renders them unable to keep pace with the increasingly rapid pace of change. Responding appropriately and proactively to these challenges demands a new regulatory paradigm. This regulatory paradigm should draw guidance from new governance theory in the legal scholarship, as well as a range of ‘adaptive’ approaches developed in other disciplines — adaptive management, adaptive governance, and adaptive policymaking. The core of a new, adaptive regulatory paradigm should be a structured, iterative regulatory process that is capable of responding quickly and appropriately to new knowledge and unfolding realities, and formal and informal, multi-level networks that foster learning, cooperation, collaboration, and innovation. Without such a paradigm shift, the existing regulatory paradigm will fall into crisis, rendering structures designed today vulnerable to failure in the face of tomorrow’s climate, and thereby compromising substantial infrastructure investments and increasing risks to public safety.

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