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Dr. K. (Karen) Paiva Henrique PhD

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
GPIO : Governance and Inclusive Development

Visiting address
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
  • Room number: B4.15
Postal address
  • Postbus 15629
    1001 NC Amsterdam
Contact details
  • Profile

    Karen Paiva Henrique is an urban and feminist political ecologist and critical urban scholar with a multidisciplinary training in geography, planning, and design. She is broadly interested in the linkages between spatial and environmental planning, climate change adaptation, loss and damage, and multidimensional justice.

    Karen’s research investigates how people make decisions to protect what they value in the places where they live, and how their converging priorities and disagreements can inform community deliberation and inclusive climate governance. Her work strives to give voice to historically marginalized groups and promote situated experiences and knowledges of climate change to reframe urban development paradigms and achieve climate justice.

    Karen was born, raised, and trained as an architect and urbanist in Brazil (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul). She has obtained a postgraduate degree in urban studies from the Bauhaus Foundation (Germany), a master’s in architecture from the Pennsylvania State University (United States), and a doctorate in geography from the University of Western Australia. Between 2019-21, Karen was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Western Australia. She has joined the University of Amsterdam as Assistant Professor in 2021.

    For over ten years, Karen’s research has focused on climate change adaptation in the context of asymmetrical power relations and informality. Her work has spanned continents, with particular attention to the everyday experiences of flooding and adaptation across multiple axes of social differentiation (incl. class, race, gender, and age). She has conducted extensive field-based research in Brazil and Australia; her current projects expand this geographical scope with cases in Latin America and Europe.    

    Karen’s teaching focuses on human-environment relations, uneven urban development, and the climate crisis. She has supervised several students on topics related to climate action, environmental governance, loss and damage, and datafication. Justice is the common thread that ties these projects together.

    Karen is Associate Editor for the Journal Springer Nature Climate Action. She is co-director for the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and co-convenor for the EADI Working group on Inclusive Development. She was also a contributing author for the IPCC Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 °C (SR15).

  • Research

    Main research interests:

    • Urban climate adaptation, including policy development, everyday practices, and pluralistic approaches, and their un/just implications.
    • Everyday limits to adaptation and situated losses and damages in the context of global climate change.
    • Knowledge production and reproduction across the Global South and North, and efforts to disrupt, dislocate, and decenter global knowledge flows.

    Current projects

    Planning Climate Justice in Urban Blue Spaces across the urban North and South (with Jannes Willems and Hebe Verrest). We are developing comparative field-based research to understand how climate justice materializes in relation to urban blue spaces. The goal is to locate climate justice, conceptually and empirically, in the ordinary adaptation practices of those working and living at the margins of urban waters in the Global North and South.

    FLOODSCAPES: Floods and Small-scale Common Adaptation Practices in Everyday Spaces (with Hebe Verrest). We are undertaking a literature review on everyday flood adaptation practices across the urban South to locate non-hegemonic approaches to adaptation from the majority world, build a repository of ideas, and enrich our adaptation imagination also in the Netherlands.

    Storying Geography Collective (with Sarah Wright, Joseph Palis, Natalie Osborne, Fiona Miller, Uma Kothari, Phoebe Everingham, and Maria Borovnik). We are a group of geographers and development scholars who leverage storytelling as a tool to record and weave together individual and collective accounts of place, memory, loss, and hope.

    Critical Visual Methods (with Aparna Parikh). We explore the potential of critical visual analysis, using street-level imagery and digital storytelling, to examine the broader justice implications of uneven urban development and socioenvironmental change in everyday spaces.

  • Publications

    Peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters


    Henrique, K. P. (2023). Repositioning marginal spaces in climate adaptation: Periphery, power and possibility. In M. Armiero, E. Turhan, & S. Paolo De Rosa (Eds.), Urban Movements and Climate Change: Loss, Damage and Radical Adaptation (pp. 161–181). Amsterdam University Press. doi: 10.5117/9789463726665_ch08

    Tschakert, P., Parsons, M., Atkins, E., Garcia, A., Godden, N., Gonda, N., Henrique, K. P., Sallu, S., Steen, K., & Ziervogel, G. (2023). Methodological lessons for negotiating power, political capabilities, and resilience in research on climate change responses. World Development, 167, 106247.

    Wright, S., Palis, J., Osborne, N., Miller, F., Kothari, U., Henrique, K. P., Everingham, P., & Borovnik, M. (2023). Storying Pandemia Collectively: Sharing Plural Experiences of Interruption, Dislocation, Care, and Connection. GeoHumanities, 0(0), 1–23.


    Henrique, K. P., Tschakert, P., Bourgault du Coudray, C., Horwitz, P., Krueger, K. D. C., & Wheeler, A. J. (2022). Navigating loss and value trade-offs in a changing climate. Climate Risk Management, 35, 100405.

    Henrique, K. P., & Tschakert, P. (2022). Everyday limits to adaptation. Oxford Open Climate Change, 2(1), kgab013.

    Garcia, A., Gonda, N., Atkins, E., Godden, N. J., Henrique, K. P., Parsons, M., Tschakert, P., & Ziervogel, G. (n.d.). Power in resilience and resilience’s power in climate change scholarship. WIREs Climate Change, n/a(n/a), e762.


    Henrique, K. P., & Tschakert, P. (2021). Pathways to urban transformation: From dispossession to climate justice. Progress in Human Geography, 45(5), 1169–1191.


    Henrique, K. P., & Tschakert, P. (2019). Taming São Paulo’s floods: Dominant discourses, exclusionary practices, and the complicity of the media. Global Environmental Change, 58, 1–12.

    Henrique, K. P., & Tschakert, P. (2019). Contested grounds: Adaptation to flooding and the politics of (in)visibility in São Paulo’s eastern periphery. Geoforum, 104, 181–192.


    Tschakert, P., Henrique, K. P., Bitmead, R., Dassu, F., Crowther, M., Yukhnevich, Z., Anderson, C., Roddy, A., Bye, V., Rawlinson, A., O’Hara, N., Mottershead, A., Obeng, J., & Gerard, K. (2018). Affective dimensions of teaching and doing development. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 59(2), 186–200.


    Henrique, K. P. (2015). (Re)Envisioning architecture and landscape architecture in the fluid terrains of flooding. Cloud-Cuckoo-Land, International Journal of Architectural Theory, 20(34), 139–161.


    Henrique, K. P. (2013). Modernity and continuity: Alternatives to instant tradition in contemporary Brazilian architecture. Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, 3(4), 103–112.

    Scientific and technical reports


    [Contributing Author] Roy, J., Tschakert, P., Waisman, H. (2018). Chapter 5: Sustainable development, poverty eradication and reducing inequalities. In Global warming of 1.5°C (pp. 445–538). Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


    Tschakert, P., Henrique, K. P., Pannell, D., Pandit, R., Prout-Quicke, S., Lawrence, C., Sabharwal, A., Kragt, M., Ellis, N., Godden, N., Alston, M., Pearlman, P., Elrick-Barr, C., Barnett, J., Woodward, A., Abu, M., Larbi, R. T., Sallu, S., Thew, H., … Kunamwene, I. N. (2016). White paper: Assessing non-market loss and damage in the context of climate change (p. 36). University of Western Australia (UWA) and Worldwide Universities Network (WUN).


    Tschakert, P., Smithwick, E., Bug, L., Singha, K., Amankwah, R., Ward, A., Parker, E., Oppong, J., Hausermann, H., Wu, J., Naithani, K., Ricciardi, V., Machado, M., & Henrique, K. P. (2015). reBUild a healthy environment: Research and education on Buruli Ulcer, inundations, and land disturbance. The Pennsylvania State University and the National Science Foundation (NSF).


    Turkienicz, B., Henrique, V. P., Henrique, K. P., Heller, D., Teixeira, R., & Lersh, R. (2011). Plano local de habitação de interesse social de Parobé, RS [Affordable housing Master Plan for Parobé, RS]. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul.


    Turkienicz, B., Henrique, V. P., Henrique, K. P., Heller, D., Bugs, G., Teixeira, R., & Lersh, R. (2010). Plano local de habitação de interesse social de Nova Santa Rita, RS [Affordable housing Master Plan for Nova Santa Rita, RS]. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul.

    Other publications


    Henrique, K. P., & Parikh, A. (2022). Unearthing the right to the city through digital visual methods. Urban Matters Journal, Dislocating Urban Studies.


    Henrique, K. P. (2018). Landscapes of dispossession – Examining adaptation and the persistent exclusion of the urban poor. Sydney Environment Institute Magazine, 1, 22–25.

    Henrique, K. P. (2018). Global Urban Politics: Informalization of the State. Urban Policy and Research, 36(1), 115–117.

  • Supervision

    Master’s in International Development Studies (MIDS)

    Romans i Torrent, Ariadna. 2023. Low-income women’s lived experiences of the slow water disaster in Cape Town, South Africa

    Schwaiger, Johanna. 2023. Public participation for just climate adaptation: A case study of Cape Town

    Whelan, Peter. 2023. Overcoming data justice latency with contextualisation: A case study in the ‘smart-city’ of Banjul, The Gambia

    Sousa Insua, Nicholas B. 2023. (Don’t) Run Away! There’s a Fire! An Investigation into Land-Abandonment and Fire-Management in Aveiro, Portugal

    Nasrawi, Sarah. 2023. The song of the Global South - Framing and Operationalizing a Loss and Damage fund for Climate Justice: A Multidimensional Analysis of Stakeholder Perspectives

    Apel, Sophia. 2022. Formalising informal seed systems: A study of women smallholders’ seed sovereignty in Nakuru County, Kenya

    Berculo, Nina. 2022. From Training to Practice. Contributing to the Livelihood Resilience of Women Smallholders Nakuru County, Kenya

    van den Berg, Stephan. 2022. Power relations in and between discourses on ecotourism in Costa Rica

    Neuville, Sasha. 2022. Environmental justice and urban development: The Paris Resilience Strategy

    Research Master’s in International Development Studies (RMIDS)

    Lazzati, Sveva. 2023. Negotiating the Urban Possible: The Politics of Socio-environmental Change in Nepal’s Growing Urban Centres

    Haywood, Chloe. 2023. Indigenous women-led climate change adaptation efforts in Palawan, Philipines

    Research Master’s in Urban Studies (RMUS)

    Piller, Veronica. 2023. Geographies of Solidarity: (Re)Mapping Architecture Heritage Across Scales for a Decolonial Future

  • Ancillary activities
    • Springer Nature
      Associate Editor for the journal Climate Action