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Backward waters, modern waters: Perception-Based Regional Mapping territory uses and water-related sanitary stakes in Luang Phabang area (Lao PDR)

Saqalli, Mehdi, Jourdren, Marine, Maestripieri, Nicolas, Guillerme, Sylvie, Maire, Eric, Soulileuth, Bounsamai, Latsachach, Keoudone, Sounyafong, Phabvilay, Tammahuxsa, Louy, Sengtaheuanghoung, Oloth, Ribolzi, Olivier, Becerra, Sylvia
Applied geography 2015 v.60 pp. 184-193
drinking water, geography, land use, lowlands, medical facilities, mountains, risk, stakeholders, topology, valleys, Laos, Mekong River
This paper examines the suitability of the PBRM, a mapping tool based on the perceptions of local stakeholders, for assessing the connection between land uses and health issues. The area, rural Laos around Luang Phabang city, between the Mekong River valley and mountains, seems to have overcome the formal territorial organization based on exposure risks towards an organization based on access to health and medical facilities. In addition, differential access to safe drinking water has been quite solved by the implementation of private can distribution networks. However, these rapid changes accentuate the social gap between well-connected lowlands and valleys on one hand, and mountain areas on the other hand, increasingly sidelined from this transition. Methodologically, PBRM method explores broader issues at a broader scale but does not give an easy access to non-spatial criteria. Plus, the limits of the SHUs (Spatial Homogeneous Unit) the PBRM establishes are geographically precise regarding topology but not spatiality. These results are action-oriented towards local and development-oriented issues.