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Megacities as hot spots of demographic and socio-economic dynamics have an insufficient supply both in terms of quality and quantity of technical and social infrastructure for large numbers of their populations. This project was planned and carried out to gain a new perspective on vulnerability in megacities focussing primarily on access to water and waste water disposal infrastructure aided with an integrated approach of using high resolution satellite data as well as quantitative and qualitative social data. The entire project objective was divided among the three PhD candidates and their thesis findings and linkages among them contributed towards the final project results.

Methodologically, the project was split into two parts: a) remote sensing approach aiming to improve the digital coverage and identification of urban structures and processes in high-resolution satellite images and b) the social research approach focused on the discussion of access to resources, risk-exposure and coping strategies and capacities in order to identify the degree of the vulnerability of the surveyed population. The results of the two different approaches shall be put together and modelled in a final step. The entire analysis lays the foundation for the development of more complex, stable indicators which will help to identify and understand the different forms, actors and processes of vulnerability in megacities in general. Moreover, such an interdisciplinary approach facilitates a deeper understanding of the multi-level processes within the megaurban systems

During the first phase of research, new, object-oriented methods to analyse high-resolution satellite image data was developed. By means of the acquired data “living spaces” of vulnerable population groups were detected. The results were evaluated on the basis of quantitative and qualitative information regarding deficits and potentials of water supply and sewerage disposal as well and the related health implications. Finally, indicators - derived from both approaches - were established in order to detect vulnerable people/spaces in megacities and help to understand the evolution of vulnerability in specific surroundings. It is a new approach to investigate how far visible structures in an image can picture social differences and if so whether they can build strong indicators together with the socio-economic data to identify specific types of vulnerability in an urban context in detail.

In order to integrate the results derived from social analysis with that of image processing all the surveyed households were geo-referenced on the image, and the qualitative information and other household level details as extracted from the processing of questionnaire and field experiences were further linked to them for its analysis and better understanding of the ground situation, thereby supplementing the visual details as perceived and interpreted from the remote sensing data. The quantitative calculations from the processed questionnaire results provided important inputs to supplement derivations from image processing and countercheck them (e.g. for population density, water demand etc). It is foreseen that this integrated modelling of remote sensing and social science research approaches would be able to provide quick insight into the dynamics of fast changing megacities and transferability of the developed methodology to areas of similar setting would help in understand situations of larger area  with greater precision in shorter time.

A substantial workshop was held on the 31.10.09 at the conference hall of Delhi University International Guest House for concluding the project. The main objective of this workshop was to present the methodologies approach and major findings of the research project and to discuss the final results with experts and receive their feedbacks.The workshop was organised by University of Cologne and University of Delhi under the guidance of Prof. S. K. Aggarwal and Prof. F. Kraas. The one day workshop had good participation of a variety of experts from different institutes including Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). In total 25 participants were present including experts and students from Delhi and Cologne University.

The workshop commenced with a warm welcome and a short introduction by Prof. Dr. S.K. Aggarwal of Delhi University followed by the introduction of the seminar and overview on possibilities of scholarships and future research/ project opportunities in Cologne/Germany by Prof. Dr. Frauke Kraas. Later, three PhD theses presentations were done followed by a in-depth discussions on individual paper. First presentation was on ‘Water Supply and Vulnerability in Megacity Delhi/India’. Second presentation was on ‘Wastewater problems and social vulnerability in megacity Delhi’ and the final one was entitled ‘Object based land use and land cover classification of urban areas using very high-resolution remote sensing images - A case study of Delhi’. The workshop ended with a complete summing up of the days session by the chairpersons. Valuable feedback was received on each of the presentations which would be helpful in strengthening the final project report.