Monthly Archives: December 2020

Incremental Urbanism: Resilient Urban Strategies for Ulaanbaatar

guest author: prof. Joshua Bolchover, The University of Hong Kong
For thousands of years, Mongolians have been living in gers – portable structures made of timber, felt and canvas. The ger is a resilient, engineered artefact that has evolved in direct correlation to the demands of nomadic life. It is designed for portability, can be easily disassembled and reassembled without any mechanical fixings, and all of its component parts are prefabricated and can be bought at everyday markets. A ger costs between 600USD-1000USD, making it the most economical form of housing in the city. Its ease of transportation, affordability and reproducibility in large numbers have been one of the main contributing factors to the speed and extent of the urbanization process in the city of Ulaanbaatar. As such, throughout the history of Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar, the ger has remained the predominant dwelling for new migrants, a resilient typology indifferent to technological progress or to the radical political and economic shifts that took place after the 1990 democratic revolution.
Ger districts in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

The draw of the city in terms of access to healthcare, jobs, and educational opportunities, was compounded in 2002 by Mongolia’s land law which allowed each Mongolian citizen the right to claim and own a land plot of 700m2. This accelerated the migration of rural nomads to the city. The population of the city has increased by 230% in the last 20 years resulting in the creation of sprawling districts with no basic infrastructure that nevertheless house over 70% of the city’s population.

The cold winters mean that each ger district household uses around 3.8-5 tonnes of unrefined coal as their main heating source, contributing to toxic air pollution reaching levels reported to be 133 times higher than the World Health Organization guidelines.  Water is collected from water kiosks with families making at least 8 trips per week, collecting approximately 500 litres of water; 95% have access only to pit latrines. As the population of migrants grows by 35,000 each year, the urban risks associated with this form of settlement are becoming increasingly threatening, particularly with respect to sanitation, fresh water supply and air quality.

Ger district residents collecting water at a water kiosk
Process of transformation of ger districts

Although designed for the open steppe, once sedentary in the city, the ger becomes rooted and enclosed by a fence demarcating the plot boundary. Over time, some residents have modified their simple wooden thresholds to prevent heat loss or building permanent concrete foundations to limit the cold from the ground. Over 65% of families build a simple house or baishin, yet based on our fieldwork, many retain the organization of the ger, tending towards shared spaces rather than separate room divisions. Most still lack internal toilets and showers, are ineffectively thermally insulated, and are still reliant on coal, with over 85% of ger district residents using wood or coal-burning stoves for heating. Overtime, more established districts densify through subdivision, becoming more consolidated urban grids, while the newer districts continue to expand into virgin territory. 

Despite subdivision, the predominant housing typology is a detached single-family house and so density is low, ranging between 2.1 structures/plot (plot size averaging 453m2in the older districts to 1.6 structures/ plot (plot size averaging 734m2 in the outer, newest districts. Apart from basic infrastructure, these districts also lack civic infrastructure in the form of kindergartens, medical facilities, and community spaces. For example: in Songino Khairkhan-31, there are no schools, only 2 kindergartens, and no community spaces for the 3,000 households in the district. This form of urban growth is clearly unsustainable as each new resident contributes to worsening pollution, toxic waste, and pressures on water supply.

Because the majority of residents own their land, large scale development requires huge investments towards compensation and infrastructure. Current plans are reliant on loans from the Asian Development Bank that will ultimately have to be paid back, stretching the stabilization of Mongolia’s already volatile and uncertain economy which is reported to have $2bn in external sovereign debt, The Ger Areas Development Investment Program (GADIP) promotes a more sustainable urban model of 6-story townhouses with shared greenhouses supported by infrastructural connection, however, it is reliant on landowners being compensated for their land in the form of 35m2 apartments and the involvement of private sector developers as delivery agents. Even if realised, these plans will not impact the fringe districts of the city, where new migrants settle each year.

A framework for incremental change

The strategy is to create a mechanism for residents to maintain land ownership and develop their plots themselves. It promotes incremental development in response to our observations in the context, acting as an enabling tool to kick-start a process of change that links top-down financial initiatives to local people.

The Green Climate Fund approved programs proposed by different local financial institutions in the form of bank loans in October 2018. Local banks can create mortgage products to access these better loan rates, 10-12% compared to 18%,  based on delivering housing that meets the criteria of a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions. The onus is on construction companies to create housing products that demonstrate that these criteria can be achieved. The mortgage iswith individual residents who will agree on a product, then the money will go to the contractor to build the house. However, there are currently only two products available on the market eligible for these low interest loans. Our proposal is to unlock this funding by creating a development toolkit – a series of different products serving a range of incomes and housing types that meet the criteria–thereby enabling residents to incrementally develop their own plots.

The mechanism is to set up a District Development Unit comprised of an architect (Rural Urban Framework at the University of Hong Kong), and a local partner, and will collaborate with community advisors, financial and real estate consultants, lawyers, and contractors as needed.   It will act as a delivery agent, making sure the buildings that are constructed comply with improved environmental performance. The difference in our model is that it promotes densification, diversifies the housing typologies available on the market, and provides income streams that can be used for neighborhood investment. The scenario for a one plot densification scheme is as follows. The landowner takes a loan to build infrastructure consisting of a septic tank and water tank with added capacity for two more households, together with an energy efficient house. The access to infrastructure on his plot means he can attract new residents to lease the land. 

These residents take a loan to pay for the rights of land use and to build a house, again selected from the toolbox meeting the 20% reduction criteria. Income generated from the rent is used to pay back the initial loan, however, a percentage is retained to contribute to a neighborhood improvement fund. This fund is managed by the residents and used to invest in communal benefits such as landscaping, greenhouses, car parking, or any necessary repairs to collective infrastructure. Additional income created through rentals can allow existing residents to further invest or co-invest in more housing or in profit-making ventures such as shops, car parking, or workspaces. Critically, unlike other development models, land ownership resides with the residents themselves. In a city whereby 97.8% of the land is owner-occupied by a population with an average monthly income of around $80USD, the mechanism initializes a process to increase the value of their land.

Plot densification scenario.
Impact of pilot project

The first pilot product that we have developed as part of the toolkit is an affordable housing unit entitled The Ger Plug-In. As demonstrated, the ger is responsible for the unsustainable urban patterns emerging in the city, and so it has to evolve and adapt to its new sedentary context. The Ger Plug-In fuses the traditional structure of a ger with typical timber house construction. A new truss suspends the ger from above, allowing the centrally placed columns to be removed and the stove to relocate within the thermal mass of a brick wall. This liberates the ger as a free-space providing the family with more options for how they wish to live. The project improves the environmental performance of the household by testing low-tech, off-grid systems providing a septic treatment system and WC; water tank and shower; underfloor heating; an electric boiler, and a passive solar trombe wall made of black PVC pipes filled with sand. Together these systems act to provide much needed basic infrastructure to the ger and reduce coal consumption. 

After a one year testing period, we can note that: from October to December 2017, when the external temperature was between -9.9°C and -19.8°C, the Plug-In was 2.48°C warmer than a traditional ger. The average daily temperature fluctuation in the Plug-In was 4.1°C compared to 10.2°C in a traditional ger. The thermal stability of the Plug-In, due to its additional thermal mass, meant that during a period of unoccupation when the temperatures ranged from -12.5°C to -23.4°C, it took five days for all parts of the interior to reach negative temperatures. During the winter, the residents used an estimated 93% less coal than their previous year living in a ger, an estimated 0.266 tonnes compared to an average of 3.8tonnes, a coal reduction of 3.534 tonnes.  If each of the 104,000 ger households was replaced by a Plug-In, this would result in an estimated saving of 27,664 tonnes of coal per year.

However, housing is not the only issue: the Ger districts desperately lack civic and community infrastructure. The Ger Innovation Hub is designed as a layered structure, comprised of an inner room that is wrapped in an outer layer of polycarbonate that creates a buffer space that traps radiant heat in the winter.  Rapid temperatures were recorded in this buffer zone with a range of 22.9°C during the first ten days of January 2020 compared to the 3.7°C range of the inner layer, demonstrating the effectiveness of the “greenhouse”, maximizing solar gain and trapping heat within the interior of the building.  During this period, our recorded data also reveals that when outside temperature is at -23.3 °C, the inner layer, even without heating, would be 14.1°C higher.  Therefore, the inner zone would only have to be heated by +24°C rather than +38 °C to reach comfort levels, significantly lowering energy consumption. The building will provide a space for all sections of the community supporting a crèche, youth facilities, vocational training and a place for screenings and performances. Over time, it can include small cooperative enterprises and demonstrate how an entire plot can be used to engage community needs and serve as a model to reduce carbon emissions. 

Incremental urbanism as social-ecological resilience
The two projects are examples from the tool-kit for incremental development. The Ger-Plug-In demonstrates how the resilience of the ger can be adapted and transformed, opening up the possibility for sustainable development. The aim is to “seed” a transformation process that can lead to the creation of off-grid infrastructural networks. Using the mechanism of the Green Climate Funds, if the Plug-In can be accepted as a viable product eligible for low-interest rate mortgages, it could allow thousands of households’ access to improved infrastructure with lower carbon emissions. However, the intention is not to rubber-stamp this product as a singular solution but to provide mechanisms to diversify housing typologies and increase density on each plot. The only mechanism to improve the overall sustainability of the city is to provide an alternative to sprawl and the outward expansion of the city. If the land-law remains, and people are reluctant to give up their land, the city has to be able to densify. To densify, the land has to become more valuable in order to stimulate development. Land value can be increased by providing shared access to infrastructure, incentivizing residents to leverage development for themselves. In this way, by opening up access to low-interest loans we can incrementally transform the ger districts into a viable low carbon community while still maintain land ownership with the residents themselves. The long-term objective is to build capacity for a healthier population with more money in their pocket, offering Mongolia’s young, upwardly mobile citizens a more sustainable urban future.
Acknowledgments: The research project “Incremental  Urbanism:  Ulaanbaatar’s Ger  Settlements” is  funded  by  the Research  Grants  Council  of  the  Hong  Kong  Special  Administrative  Region.  The Ger Plug-In construction was funded by the Lorinet Foundation.
Biography: Joshua Bolchover is an architect and academic based at The University of Hong Kong. His current research focuses on the complex urban-rural ecology of cities and how architecture can impact urban transformation.

T4.7: Resilience Itself

The overarching theme of this session is community resilience and the topic particularly called on responses around resilience itself. Contributions argued the inability of the resilience framework to include local knowledge and social capital generated into its strategies and oscillated between definitions around tensions of equilibrium and adaptation.
The overarching theme of this session is community resilience and the topic particularly called on responses around resilience itself. All the presentations had a diverse perspective on the subject, critically analysing the risks of proposed practises in Ecuador, the possibilities of regional and local food systems in Netherlands, the dangers of over-tourism on the ecosystem of a neighborhood in Kyoto, the microscopic local resilience frameworks developed in Jakarta and the role of design and urban planning in adaptive capacity in Colombia.
Advancing the evidence base for sustainable city-region food systems
Sigrid Wertheim-Heck, Melika Levelt, Lisa ten Brug, Jessica van Bossum

The session focused on the influence of cities in food system design and aims to investigate if localisation of food production is possible, in order to deal with the dependency of international trade, food processing and greenhouse emissions related to food flows. The interventions possibly relating to existing resilience implementations criticize the dichotomy of alternative food production and conventional large scale provision centers; without linking these two practises there can be no evidence for a resilience framework that could challenge the topic at hand. As a result, assumptions are created and the aim of this research is to challenge these assumptions in order to create methodologies. In this case resilience is not used as a metaphorical concept but aims to use qualitative and quantitative data, focusing on the city of Almere in the Netherlands. The research analyzes the process of three predominant stakeholders, producers, suppliers and consumers drawing on their interrelationships and stresses the importance of human relationships in network flows especially when it comes to mobility of goods. The key points in this session helped to analyse the complexity of stakeholder relations, and strived to create a flexible working framework, ending with the question how can the food market become regionalised?  

Guayaquil: critical analysis of its approaches towards urban resilience.
Xavier Mendez Abad, Kris Scheerlinck, Hans Leinfelder

The session provided a review and critical analysis of urban resilience planning in Guayaquil, Ecuador, by asking the question, resilience for who? In the context of a Latin American city torn by climate change, the research is questioning whether or not the practises related to resilience adaptation do not deal with the most vulnerable but actually even lead to an exacerbation of the existing inequalities. The interventions of the government’s urban regeneration plan mainly focus on the city center and in economic development, and a new study based on vulnerability index and indicators in practicality led to a disregard of the influences and real life effects of these implementations on the community level. The speaker stresses the inexistence of a capacity to absorb local knowledge and the capacity for this level is limited to risk management and not really proactive resilient design. The concluding remarks do not particularly launch new ideas but present the overarching risks and opportunities with this kind of implementation.

The Formation of the local-traditional Urban Settlement in the Globalised Environment: The case of “Garment City” Cipadu in Jakarta
Handi Chandra

This session was preoccupied with the relationship of locality placed within the modern urban phenomena of the city of Jakarta. Resilience in this case is used as a metaphorical concept to describe the microcosm of Cipadu in relation to the metropolis. The speaker started with a reference of the right to the city as a way of self-determination of a community within the urban context. The research of the local resilient framework revolves around the capacity of the community to organise, create, innovate and connect to the surrounding economic system. There was not a substantial critique to the existing resilience implementations, however the speaker analysed in depth the context of the case study in order to build a problem statement. The session concluded in the realisation of how this community has created a self-sustained city in itself connecting to a wider network of systems like this.

Managing Resilience in Neighborhood against Over-Tourism. Case Study on Kyoto
Daisuke Abe

This session focused on the challenge of over-tourism in Kyoto, Japan with a comparative research to Barcelona. Resilience in this case, is considered as the resilience of a community of local permanent residents against the threat of top down development, temporal and transient touristic flows and saturation of intangible community interconnections, therefore resilience was more connected to perseverance to a long term crisis of urban development transformations. The main issue is the lack of legislation or political will to deal with the rise of land price, displacement and change in land use. The research analyses institutional framework and regulations and draws connections for possible solutions with the case of Barcelona, however it doesn’t challenge existing resilience frameworks for this implementation and concludes with a precautionary remark of the impending challenges of over-tourism. 

Urban planning: Integrating resilience and sustainability in the regulatory framework
Francisco Garcia, Cecilia Ribalaygua

This session was the outcome of a four-year research investigation into how urban planning can influence climate change adaptation plans. The transdisciplinarity of the group narrowed the focus of the research from an urban planning, architectural perspective and aimed to develop replicable methodologies to increase adaptive capacities through quantitative evidence based strategies. The research stresses the importance of green infrastructure as a key strategy, and built on three case studies in different cities in Colombia as a testing ground for the framework. Although the aim of the research is to integrate planning and resilience, in reality, it uses pre-existing tools, indicators and methodologies without the ability to substantially reframe the paradigm itself. In addition, the speaker stressed the importance of local context and community-based knowledge but did not provide sufficient evidence on who is resilience supposed to benefit. The main strategies for adaptation that were developed, were a physical and legal identification of available regeneration areas and the ability to integrate these methodologies into the planning system.

The session addressed the topic of reframing urban resilience implementation by pointing out the gaps in the design of methodologies that can not synthesize the complexity of community knowledge production with the wider framework of national, regional legislation, development processes, and economic systems. Most of the sessions considered and challenged the question: resilience for who? It tried to do so by aiming at processes that could integrate local networks in general adaptedness or analyzed local systems striving to preserve or return to a fixed equilibrium or criticized resilience frameworks imposed by top-down institutions that could not reframe the paradigm in a way that allowed for local level transformations to the impending crisis. One of the most encouraging insights was the acknowledgment of the power of human relations in shifting the wider paradigm of network flows in a city.

T3.7: Resilience, Digitality and Handling Flows of Information

As part of this session, issues of governance in relation to information management, sharing and accessibility, and the benefits and risks of digitalization for resiliency building, governance and environmental experiences were central to the discussion.

The session included a diverse range of takes on resilience. Some presentations tackled specific aspects of resilience such a climate adaptation and mitigation (Haupt, Chelleri), emergency frameworks (Lanelis, Ruchinskaya), or environmental governance (Foo), while others included resilience as part of their approach to larger issues of environmental justice, benefits of nature exposure and smart solutions/digitalization (Barthel). 

The subsequent discussion focused on the risks of technology, such as the increasing consumption of energy of technologies, the concentration of power and influence in a small number of technology companies, and the risk of disinformation and manipulation of public sentiment. The risk of bringing standards and assumptions of the global north to global south cities through learning exchanges, resiliency networks and other global programs was also highlighted, noting the possibility of specific agendas/interests influencing the kind of solutions that are promoted through these networks.

 

Transnational City Resilience Networks as facilitators of Policy Learning and Implementation?
Wolfgang Haupt, Lorenzo Chelleri

The presentation discussed to what extend city-to-city learning exchanges contribute to implementation of resiliency policies and programs, particularly in the context of climate adaptation and mitigation. Through a review of different networks and cities, and a particular study/survey of exchanges supported by Eurocities’ Twinning Programme, the authors found that: 1) these programs increase credibility of ideas or policies within a municipal administration; 2) they are used as strategic instruments by mentor cities; 3) only lead to substantial learning results in the learning city but not so much in the mentor city; 4) only under certain conditions lead to policy adoption in a learning city. In regards to this last point, the study identified that peer cities should not be too different to each other (in terms of size, capacity, institutional, context, adaptation challenges), and that transnational learning requires understanding the different context of cities and takes time. As such, the researchers raised questions about how the learnings of pioneering cities can be effectively transferred to other smaller cities without similar resources, and suggested that exchanges involving peer-learning between similar cities can be more effective than mentoring exchanges among cities with very different capabilities.

A critical examination of urban resilience in an era of authoritarian environmental governance
Katherine Foo

This presentation started from a critical view of assumptions made around resiliency practice and research worldwide, which is often built on democratic ideals of participation, government proceedings and data-driven decision-making, whereas the reality in the governance of many cities is far from this. The empirical research identified the flow of information and voices between decision makers and citizens as critical aspects where accountability sabotage can occur, and highlighted the importance of raising the resilience of urban & regional economies, as well as the resilience of urban institutions and governance frameworks. A key challenged mentioned by the researcher is the need to disaggregate systems thinking, in order to study the actors, networks and relationships, as well as the different framings and narratives differents actors bring.

Building Urban Resilience of Public Places in Volos (Greece). Perspectives and possibilities of related contributions of digital tools.
Konstantinos Lalenis,Tatiana Ruchinskaya

The presentation looked at the function of public spaces for building urban resilience, particularly in the aspects of emergency and adaptation to risk. Through a case study of Volos (Greece), the study aims to argue that Blockchain has the capacity to facilitating the strengthening of the adaptation capacity of public spaces. It pointed out that current plans focus only on Earthquake risks, omitting climate change adaptation, flood risk and other threats, and fail to provide an adequate, equitable or flexible response. It also identified the lack of criteria for the selection of safe, diverse, accessible and multi-functional evacuation places. Following a review of the lack of resiience adaptation capacity of public spaces, the presenter jumped to the claim that Blockchain’s decentralized nature (compared to regular IT systems) can provide a resilient technological platform to build the city’s public spaces’ adaptation capacity.

On smart cities, sustainability and resilience: understanding the digital city revolution
Stephan Barthel

The presentation made a strong case for the health and social benefits provide by nature exposure and nature experiences. It then highlighted the risk that digitalization and the implementation of smart city models can have in terms of a decrease of social interactions, affecting social capital, sense-of-place and exacerbating digital divides and exclusion, as well as a decrease in human-nature connections and the health benefits associated with it. However, it also recognize the innovative use of big spatial data to identify gaps and environmental inequity, facilitating the equitable distribution of green spaces and other nature based solutions.  

T2.7: Marginality, Inclusiveness and Resilience

The session “Marginality, Inclusiveness, and Resilience”, takes a variety of approaches to address the topic of urban resilience. Focussing on the resilience of marginalised communities or landscapes, most presenters organised themselves around the frames of “community resilience” and what I would call “climate resilience”, to foster inclusiveness.

Though some speakers placed urban resilience in the context of climate change adaptation, in most instances, resilience was simplified to mean, in a vague sense, the opposite of vulnerability (Chelleri et al. 2015). Such ‘fuzziness’ (Meerow et al., 2016) made it difficult to distinguish where concrete “resilience” was being implemented, and where the word was just a form of tokenism.

Firstly, the session has proposed that community empowerment in marginalised areas develops community resilience. Secondly, that marginalised landscapes can be reclaimed through inclusive planning strategies to build resilience to climatic risks and urbanisation.  As far as “reframing” goes, I am unconvinced about how far this sessions content went on reframing “resilience”. It appears to me, that resilience too often used as an umbrella term to label planning and engagement strategies, with resilience ‘to what’ not being clearly defined. 

Resilience, capacity, empowerment, discourse on what we define as the broad term of “community resilience” often begins to feel like the term “resilience” is used as a form of tokenism to associate public participation with some sort of higher power. This is not to say that presented studies are lacking, but rather that the term “resilience” should not necessarily apply to these strategies, or requires further research to establish how we define community resilience. 

Glasgow, environmental justice and community resilience
Shivali Fifield

Fifield’s research responds to a perceived lack of intersectionality between discourses of resilience and climate policy, versus environmental justice in marginalised communities. Focusing on Rigmar, an area marred by social and economic decline following Glasgow’s de-industrialisation, Fifield argues that the lack of quality green space in low-income areas is a form of “environmental injustice”, negatively impacting on the health and wellbeing of residents. 

She divides “environmental (in)justice” into three categories: procedural, distributional, and recognition, using Schlosberg’s justice trivalent (2004) to frame the narrative. Procedural examines the operational constraints of ‘greenspace empowerment’. With the backdrop of Glasgow’s 100RC and city development plan, Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology is used to explore how policy emphasis on climate resilience indicators is negatively impacting community capacity. Distributional refers to the unequal distribution of environmental ills; and recognition acknowledges the limited individual and organisational capacity of CBOs, and the need for government bodies to help build competencies. Whilst Fifield’s research does not criticise existing resilience discourses, praising how they are at least bringing a variety of different stakeholders to the table, she raises the issue of a need to contextually shift from climate resilience to wellbeing research in low income areas to develop community resilience to socio-environmental and spatial inequalities.

The backside of the city. Marginality and waste landscapes in the Tunjuelo watershed.
Claudia Lucia Rojas Bernal

Bernal uses a ‘research by design’ approach to examine alternatives for the integration of watershed planning into Bogota’s urban system, to design resilient landscapes that tackle both social inequality and environmental justice. Rapid urbanisation along the Tunjuelo watershed has entrenched societal inequalities, with informal settlements existing alongside landfills and mining activities. Making the link between resilience, green space, and public health in response to these large-scale ecosystem disturbances, she developed cartographic plans of alternatives to contemporary water management in Bogota, providing integrated solutions for a more inclusive environment.

Reimagining Bogotas Circuito Ambiental along the watercourse, she addresses gaps in the city’s existing planning strategies. Outlining three design strategies: flood risk, low landscape value, and traditional hard-engineered approaches; she develops a holistic approach to resilience along the floodplain. Both blue and green interventions are proposed to manage flood risk and develop productive landscapes through the co-production of public space, whilst decentralised large-scale engineered projects work with the water cycle. These three principles, alongside the legalisation of informal settlements, she argues, must work together, integrating biological diversity and socio-cultural issues to achieve city resilience, particularly within marginalised communities. 

Moving into peri-urban mosaics. Building resilient relationships along the margins: the Green System Plan of Ravenna for a new liveability
Vittoria Mencarini and Laura Abbruzzese

Framing their discourse with Kipar’s (1994) definition of a “mosaic” as a space where settlement, agricultural, and environmental systems coexist, Abbruzzese and Mencarini explore how resilience to environmental risk factors such as climate change, and socio-urban discontinuity can be built along the “margins” of fractured peri-urban landscapes.  Using Ravenna’s “Green Systems Plan”they look at how model planning policies can result in a paradigm shift to place design relevance in landscape and ecological components. Proposing a hypothesis of peri-urban fringes as places to implement and experiment with resilience, they suggest that these spaces can be re-thought and re-framed to combine dynamic environmental processes. Using a multi-scalar research methodology, active resources which could work for land reclamation and water management for developing green infrastructures were identified. Alongside this, gaps were identified in government tools, proposing the integration of public-private partnerships to adapt existing design resources. 

In conclusion, Abbruzzese and Menacarini suggest that the development of a multifunctional system which restores nature and creates green infrastructure can help to address the challenges of urban resilience, as well as developing community bonds within these interventions through stakeholder participation.

Towards climate resilient and inclusive urban development in Latin America: showcasing a participatory planning project in Colombia, El Salvador, and Argentina
Ebru Gencer, Jorgelina Hardoy, Manuel Winograd 

Entitled “Participatory Planning for Climate Resilient Urban Development in Latin America”, this presentation focused joint methodologies developed by the Climate and Development Network (CDKN) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) applied to the city of Santa Ana in El Salvador to develop an urban resilience strategy for the city.  Inadequate urban planning, institutional weakness, and citizen education and communication were identified as resilience issues within the city, and as a result data collection was a crucial part of resilience building and planning. City data was found to be dispersed amongst different organisations, with no interconnectivity, nor did the municipality keep risk map data. Accessed through the Inter-American Development Bank, hazard and risk data was collected, with a contextual emphasis on flooding and landslide risks. 

Transformative resilience within communities was facilitated using participatory workshops, increased public awareness seen as key to stakeholder empowerment and resilience building. At a community level, implemented programs included awareness building about flooding through social networks, and using signage to combat garbage dumping. Policy recommendations included a long-term commitment to developing a strategic resilience plan using green-blue infrastructure to increase resilience to flooding and landslides. Knowledge exchange and capacity building were outlined as crucial to develop an urban resilience strategy. 

Community-led practices for triggering long term processes and sustainable resilience strategies. The case of the eastern Irpinia, inner periphery of southern Italy
Katia Fabbricatti, Vincenzo Tenore, Michele Citoni, Lucie Boissenin

Fabbricatti’s research asks: can heritage be the driving force for community resilience? She argues that, in recent years, Italy’s inner-peripheries have become incubators of community resilience, developing “heritage communities” which encourage an active public participation in cultural values and heritage. Rural heritage is being affected by global (climate, resource scarcity, migration) and local (depopulation, identity erosion, landscape degradation) risks. Fabbricatti’s framing of the value of cultural heritage within SDG 11, for DRR, and within the framework of the Faro Convention (2005), validates her view that tangible and intangible cultural heritages have a direct affect on the recovery and maintenance of built heritage. Her investigations indicate that despite limited capacities, positive results from such events demonstrated the validity of cultural practices in generating external interest. Analysis of a variety of case-studies, which developed community-led practices by reinterpreting local culture and traditions through craft and artistic festivals, suggest that such reactivations of lost synergies can be instrumental in pursuing sustainability and resilience agendas. 

Such actions emerged from an absence of government initiatives and involvement, and as public policy on “community resilience” rarely fits local contexts, Fabbricatti sees the potential to develop “Resilience Laboratories” to bridge this gap. Envisioned as places of learning, participation, and decision making; they will mediate between government and community to begin a process of building resilient and sustainable cultural landscapes. Whilst development at a government level may be difficult to achieve, municipal networking contributes to the system quality.  

T4.6: Resilience Observatories and Labs

In the session of resilience observatories and labs, resilience has been framed as bringing in sustainable solutions to complex social and environmental challenges. Resilience articulates inclusivity, holistic approach, multi-sectoral alliances, and connections to policy-makers and to the public, co-production and cooperation.

Building resilience has been argued as intersection of set of activities such as research, networking and communication & dissemination, mapping, co-production and training.  Nexus between socio-ecological-technical systems can be used as a new methodology to reframe resilience.  Application of innovative tools for incorporating local knowledge in resilience planning, bridging up the gap between theory and practice in urban resilience.

The role of observatories and labs in building resilience through knowledge creation, strategic research, mainstreaming climate change and environmental sustainability issues in decision making process have been discussed in this session. The authors have tried to justify their argument based on evidence based research outcomes and case studies from different part of the world. The presenters highlighted, how synergies between different cross cutting issues can be used as a new methodology to reframe resilience.  Application of innovative tools for incorporating local knowledge in resilience planning, bridging up the gap between theory and practice in urban resilience research have been emphasized in the discourses of this session. All the authors have emphasized the necessity of critical understanding of the SETS, because we have to enhance the adaptive capacity of SETS in order to build the resilience of a city. For which, community engagement, stakeholder mapping and participation are the essential tool.  

Advancing research and policy for sustainability: a framework for urban observatories
Patrick Bixler

Dr. Patrick Bixler has discussed about the Texas Metropolitan Observatories initiatives which have been started in this year and is part of Planet Texas 2050, a University of Texas-Austin grand challenges initiative. The project looks into climate change and urbanization process and its relation to water, energy and eco system services. It aims to bridge up the data gap towards the mitigation of the consequences of urbanization and climate change and working with Texas advancing computer station which is one of the super computers in the US to do the data integration model.  The project analyzes the historical dynamics of the texas metro region, current condition of the metro region, the implications of historic trends for the future and eventually shaping a sustainable and resilient future for Texas Metro Region. The key activities under this project have been planned are building blocks on big data, trans-disciplinary research, and Social-ecological-technical systems.  Adding these three building blocks, the derived principles are holistic framework, trans disciplinary approach, equity and transparency and creating an innovative platform. The project also aims to create a communication platform for dissemination and knowledge sharing purpose. It has been envisaged that Texas Metropolitan Observatories initiatives will facilitate the researchers, policymakers, public agencies, NGOs, Nonprofit and philanthropy organizations, general public in building resilience and sustainable cities.

Real-World Labs for co-producing Urban Resilience
Michael Ziehl

Mr. Michael Ziehl, in his ‘Real- World Labs for co-producing Urban Resilience’ paper has highlighted how active citizen involvement increases the resilience of various social–ecological–technical/built system (SETS) of urban systems. He has emphasized on adopting new instruments for cooperation that support citizens and municipalities to co-produce urban resilience. He has argued that application of real-world-labs can actually provide a framework to bridge theory and practice in urban resilience research. In his research, he used the Gängeviertel in Hamburg, a 13 storied building which is now developed by the City of Hamburg in cooperation with citizen organizations to create apartments, studios, workshops and a sociocultural center, as a real-world-lab. He has illustrated the applied research method and presents recommendations for action to coproduce urban resilience in his paper. He has pointed out that real world lab can be categorized into system knowledge the path of functionality in urban system, objective and orientation knowledge, transformation knowledge. To adopt the coproduction concept, researchers have to consider problem analysis, recent development, external values and ultimately learning. He has taken attempt to justify that co-producing urban resilience is possible through creating trust and appreciation, improving  collaborations, legitimizing exceptions of administrative regulations, deriving models for co-management practices, transforming planning practice towards higher adaptability.

[Eco]systems of resilience practices: a reframing from the Experience of Italian Resilience Practices Observatory
Angela Colucci, Giulia Pesaro

Ms. Angela Colucci and colleageu have illustrated the activities of the Resilience Practices Observatory (RPO) for the enhancement of territorial resilience through the strengthening of resilience practices in her ‘[Eco] systems of resilience practices: a reframing from the Experience of Italian Resilience Practices Observatory’ paper. RPO takes incremental and adaptive approach by integrating different aspects such as mapping resilience practices at national level, tools for resilience, resilience thinking or cultural path and actors of resilience or the networking path. She has presented how different cross cutting issues such as governance, knowledge co-production and economy are crucial in enhancing the feasibility and the stabilization of resilience practices and in contributing to social and territorial resilience in the long-run. She has discussed about some tools, methodologies, framework which corroborate her main argument – trajectories for the improvement of resilience practices and policies to guarantee systemic and synergic benefits in resilience capabilities enhancement of complex territorial systems. In order to create such framework, she has also illustrated the processes such as integration of economic and financial components in the projects, capacity building and awareness on governance to reach a stabilization & synergies, enhancing alliances between sectors and actors and involvement of stakeholders in governance system, public private cooperation.

Local knowledge mobilization: The potential for participatory GIS and photovoice methods as community resilience strategies
Holly Campbell, Allison Koornneef

‘Local knowledge mobilization: The potential for participatory GIS and photovoice methods as community resilience strategies’ was part of a larger research by Ms. Holly Cambel on Climate Change Adaptation in rural communities in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada, with the goal to inform more inclusive policy making and governance practices. In her research, she has argued on why understanding the needs, the contexts, the social capital and the interests at play within communities are important in resilience planning and implementation. To support her argument, she has given example of Wollaston lake fire. According to Ms. Campbel, when disaster strikes, external actors (technicians, city planners, policy makers, government officials, emergency management) can either foster or inhibit community resilience. So, how can external actors integrate local knowledge into risk assessment in order to foster community resilience? Therefore, she has come up with two participatory research methods such as PGIS and Photovoice methods and argued that these tools can be used for mobilizing community knowledge in the development of resilience capacity and also making the resilience strategy more inclusive and equitable. These participatory and qualitative research methods will be utilized for increasing community resilience through the information gained and process itself. Photovoice will facilitate to gain information on food insecurity, water and sanitation, environmental justice and public health etc., whereas PGIS on community health, indigenous self-representation, land management etc. She believes that participatory research methods for informing urban resilience strategies will bridge the gap between broader development agendas and social needs.

Creative Destruction and Social Innovation dynamics comparison: San Juan, Puerto-Rico (US) and Barcelona.
Rafael De Balanzo Joue, Nuria Rodriguez-Planas, Gustavo Garcia Lopez, Marina Moscoso

Mr. Rafael, in his paper ‘Creative Destruction and Social Innovation dynamics comparison: San Juan, Puerto-Rico (US) and Barcelona’ has tried to stress on resilience thinking approach” for urban dynamics analysis; urban crisis and reorganization back-loop; adaptive cycle & panarchy barcelona and san juan, puerto-rico comparison and bottom-up urban collective social innovation & community resilience. He has used the methodologies and tools developed by the resilient thinking concept to conduct and compare two parallel SES dynamics and their evolution using empirical case studies such as the city of San Juan, Puerto-Rico, US and Barcelona, Spain after systemic crisis. He has pointed out that cities are complex adaptive system such as Natural, Human and Technical. All have an evolutionary dynamic which arrives with a change, collapse or crisis. After a period of growth, there is always a decrease and innovation. He has used a mathematical analysis model to present the urban dynamics analysis. He has undertaken a historical data analysis from 1970 to 2010 for both Barcelona and San Juan city and justified the similar growth, real estate development as well as tourism development, later crisis such as vulnerable building, social crisis. The process and trend are pretty much similar in both the cities.  Further, he has presented the similar collective social innovation & entrepeneurship transformational initiatives in both the cities, such as citizen engagement and collective action from diverse socials network, promoting community collective action/ self-building urban furniture, promoting cooperative entrepreneurship and local economy initiatives, bottom-up mapping workshops and urban participatory process. Promoting resilience thinking approach for/by stakeholders, Mr Rafael has concluded saying that bring to light the relevance of the intra- and cross-scales between the city’s institutional networks, the local neighborhoods, and urban social movements, in achieving sustainable development planning, understand current and future local community vulnerabilities.

T3.6: BEGIN Panel on NBS and Social Innovation

This sessions focuses on many methods and projects within the BEGIN framework, a collaborative project that takes place between 10 cities and 6 research institutions in the North Sea Region. The goal of the project is to promote City to City learning and social innovation for creation of blue-green infrastructure (BGI).

BGI is the use of green infrastructure in cities to recreate a natural water cycle to reduce flooding and provide a myriad of other benefits for cities. BGI not only makes cities more climate-resilient by addressing issues of rising water levels, but also makes cities more resilient against increased pressure on urban services and declining community health.

The five presentations in this session represent different aspects and developments within the BEGIN framework which is a network designed to facilitate the sharing of knowledge in regard to BGI project implementation and encompasses 10 cities and 6 research institutions within the North Sea Region.  BGI is an important aspect of building urban resilience not simply in its ability to control flooding by incorporating a natural water cycle into an existing city, but also cultivating forms of social resilience through community revitalization and its benefits to physical and mental health.  A common thread throughout the presentations was that to ensure successful implementation of BGI, strategies need to be reframed to involve engagement of stakeholders, such as youth populations, health departments, and the private sector, that don’t fall within the traditional technical approach to BGI.  Given their relatively new nature, however, more time is needed to analyze whether an initiative like BEGIN will yield a notably more resilient collection of cities.

BEGIN- Blue Green Infrastructure through social innovation
Saira Ali

In her presentation, Saira Ali spoke about the importance of blue green infrastructure (BGI) in promoting sustainability, reducing costs and losses associated with floods, improving mental and physical health, sparking a tourism industry, creating jobs, and increasing community links with the landscape.   The presentation primarily focused on the success of transforming the €40 billion Shipley Canal Road Corridor in Bradford, UK into a BGI project. In a reaction to major damages and losses due to flooding in 2015, what was originally intended to be merely a highway expansion project was altered to include a comprehensive linear park through the center of the city.   The goal of the project was to help create a vibrant new sustainable community within the underserved Bradford Beck neighborhood , with high quality homes, new job opportunities, better green connectivity, and space to promote ecology, increased biodiversity, and recreation. The ability to co-opt an existing project into a BGI project was engagement of stakeholders at early stages and strong focus on the economic benefits of BGI for the city.  It was also important to properly convey to residents and local authorities, the role a project like this would serve in both the vision and branding of the city.   

The governance of Blue Green Infrastructure Funding: A case study comparison from the UK and the Netherlands
Anna Kenyon, Jannes Willems, Astrid Molenveld, Liz Sharp

In their presentation, Anna Kenyon and Jannes Willems provided a comparative analysis of the governance of blue-green infrastructure projects in Bradford, UK and Dordrecht, The Netherlands.  The project in Bradford seeks to develop greenspace, increase connectivity, and enhance biodiversity along a highway expansion in the underserved community of Bradford Beck.  The project involved collaboration of external stakeholders and several government agencies such as those for highways, landscaping, drainage, health, and the environment. In this example, stakeholders tended to find shared agendas and funding streams became a diver of the collaboration process.  The project in Dordrecht in seeks to reduce flooding and social issues in the underserved neighborhood of Vogelbuurt by incorporating sewer management with the redevelopment of recreational sports facilities.  This project, which was a bid for EU funding, also incorporated strong collaboration between external stakeholders and government agencies, however there was a challenge in communicating the connection of city-wide improvements with the day-to-day lives of residents.   One notable difference between these two examples was the involvement of the municipal health department.  In Vogelbuurt, the project was led primarily by the spatial planning department with only consultation to the health department.  However, in Bradford, the health department was incorporated a central stakeholder which ultimately made the project more successful.  Health issues were more central to project proposal and collaboration with the health department provided a significant increase in resources and funding allocated to the BGI project.

Design for Social Innovation in the Context of Urban Resilience
Qian Sun, John Makepeace, Nicolas Rebolledo, Nick de Leon

In this presentation, Qian Sun discussed how social-institutional barriers, and not technical ones, were the greatest challenge to successful implementation and continuation of blue-green infrastructure (BGI).  This talk focused principally on the how to get larger community involvement and ownership of BGI in the context of the Park Wellands in Enfield, UK and and the High-Street redevelopment in Kent, UK.  Four projects were conceived in order to address issues regarding a disconnect in where flooding occurs and BGI is proposed and relational issues between different groups and the local authorities: Park Frog, Little Gardens Club, Open Parks, and Compass.  Park Frog is a video game modeled after Pokemon Go to promote use of green space and address the under representation of youth in BGI decision-making.  Little Gardens Club is a project that unites stakeholders to more efficiently share resources among high school gardening clubs, therefore ensuring their longevity in their ability to foster appreciation of gardening among youth populations  Open Parks is a park and community management service.  It involved workshops ad social media marketing to address and resolve issues in the current model and level of engagement.  Compass is a project focussed on communication and addressing the lack of trust between the public and the city council, especially in addressing community concerns that BGI investment is a waste of money.  All four of these projects are exploratory in nature and there is likely little chance that they will be implemented for long term use.

Rhetoric to Practice: Getting to new government forms for urban blue-green infrastructures
Jannes Willems, Sebastiaan Herk

In his presentation, Jannes Willems discusses how blue-green infrastructure (BGI) poses a diverse array of benefits for cities including enhancing biodiversity, improving community health, and reduced strain on drainage systems.  Traditional conversation surrounding BGI, however, tend to be driven primarily by engineering and technocratic perspectives.  In recent years, dialogue has evolved to acknowledge a more holistic interpretation of the nature  and benefits of BGI.  Public policy on BGI, however, still lags on,adapting this understanding and this can be a barrier for implementation.  In order to move BGI concepts into reality, it is vital to take advantage of both internal and external integration of stakeholders and to broaden the conceptualization of BGI projects.  Internal Integration involves greater collaboration with stakeholders within the public sphere by processes such as integration of new government departments, public participation, and increasing educational services.  External integration involves greater crossover with the private sector by methods such as collaborative governance and engagement with non-public stakeholders.  To broaden the conceptualization of BGI, it is beneficial to move from “Closed BGI” projects, which focus on nature-based solution and engineering approaches, to “Open BGI” projects, which take a more holistic developmental approach to BGI which provides opportunities to also revitalize neighborhoods.   Both the greater levels of engagement and more holistic visioning of BGI can help both in public buy-in and accessing public and private funding streams.

BEGIN: Experiences, methods, and guidelines to accelerate effective city to city learning to reach transformational change
Sebastiaan Herk, Lorenzo Chelleri, Wolfgang Haupt, Max Berkelmans

In his presentation, Sebastiaan van Herk discusses how City to City (C2C) learning is a vital process in which cities can exchange best practices to facilitate transformational change in in fields such as urban resilience.  The concept of C2C learning is nothing new and many initiatives strive to provide successful platforms to foster these types of exchanges. Often time, however, the result is carried out in an unstructured manner which limits the efficacy of the approach.    Research demonstrates that in order to be effective, C2C leaning needs to be practice-focused, well-documented, and reviewed during and after projects reach completion.  Within the BEGIN framework, certain tools have been developed with help from the european innovation firm, Bax & Company.  Successful C2C engagement should be structured to match participating cities based on expertise, strengths, and needs.  Projects should be organized on how they performed according to the “10 Essentials of BGI.” These “essentials” help asses local capacities at the time of implementation and can be used in order to match corresponding cities.  In this way, successes such as the Shipley Canal Road Corridor in Bradford, UK can be shared with municipalities with similar developmental goals and administrative constraints.  Future applications of this knowledge sharing could also involve individual and non-public stakeholders.  

T2.6: Nature-Based Solutions, Frameworks & Water

Wery often the plans carried out are not enough framed or they remain just rhetoric on paper. The main challenge of these author is to provide a policy recommendation for land use control, by empowering the nature-based solutions and climate resilience on one hand, and try to extend this framework in different levels, from the neighbourhood to the regional scale.

In this session, the concept of urban resilience has been embodied by concrete frameworks, investigating different approaches to address it to climate change. So, in this case, the word “resilience” referred to something practical: all the authors try to design a framework and a methodology in order to enhance and supply the governments, since there is a huge gap in the governance models referred to resilience in climate change. 

Even though all the authors dealt with governance in climate resilience, the first one analysed the governance approach in an external point of view with a systematic literature review and a quantitative analysis of the methodologies used to assess climate resilience. In this case, a recommendation on the approach has been given, it didn’t deal with the planning in a practical way, but with the methodology. A possible gap of this case study could be the limitation of the research: the results reached depends on the literature review carried out, which could have considered also a larger patterns of case studies, obtaining different outputs. Instead, for the other case studies, the authors aim at giving a solid recommendation on planning, based on database collections, multilevel investigations such as morphological, natural-ecological, social and infrastructural. A part from the first one, all these others want to extend the climate urban resilient approach on different levels, spreading out in different scales. 

All the lectures assume that manmade interventions influenced and affected the natural water cycle and are addressed to persuade government to regulate the urban sprawl and developments. The critic and limit highlighted by all the authors is the high rigidity of the governments, so that every research is planned for a long term process in the future. 

Nature-based solutions and resilience as complementary strategies for urban governance and planning: A review of assessment methodologies
Marta Suàrez, Beatriz Fernàndez de Manuel, Leire Méndez-Fernàndez, Miren Onaindia, Erik Gòmez-Baggethun

The authors want to analyse the connections and differences within two different approaches, which address climate change. Cities are suffering the effect of climate change and governments are applying complementary strategies of mitigation and adaptation by using urban resilience (directed to reduce vulnerability and enhance community resilience) and natural-based solutions (concept related to ecosystem services, ecosystems based adaptations and Green-blues infrastructure). The main question is if these strategies have been implemented in an integrated manner and how these approaches address climate change. In order to do that, a systematic review of scientific literature has been carried out, searching methodologies to assess resilience or ecosystem services to address climate change impact in cities. The main result is that the majority of the papers analysed (90%) reports that the ecosystems services can increase climate urban resilience, so studies about resilience to ecosystem services are predominant (and not vice versa). The question not investigated yet is: does ES can take into consideration community resilience and/or include equity and justice? The authors in the end give some recommendations for the future: on one hand, the concept of Resilience and Ecosystem Services should be both integrated in the conceptual and methodological research; on the other one, the local government should take into account both of these concepts to reframe resilience strategies.

A framework for conceptualizing the resilience of urban green spaces in transition - The case of Frankfurt Rhine-Main
Pinar Bilgic

Planning for urban growth is already a problem: the regional housing demand until 2030 (taking into consideration refugee situation and domestic migration) is huge. The aim of this paper is to try to respond in a practice way to urban growth in Frankfurt Rhine-Main, by implementing green urban strategies: on one hand, by designing green around the city against urban densification (but it’s really hard because of promptness to floods and droughts), and on the other one, by designing green within cities against urban sprawl. Can be density be done right with balance? it’s a problem of sustainability: maybe we can make the inner city as green and compact as possible and then, instead of sprawling, we can build along the infrastructures. The approach used is the triangle of conflicting goals for planning (Campbell) in which economic development (embedded by social subsystems) and environmental protection (embedded by ecological subsystems) are in conflict. The limits and gap of this approach are the fact that government is too rigid and takes a lot of time to make decisions. More adaptive government can make the difference in the resilience process. On the other hand, there is the problem of complexity and uncertainty in urban processes. The main challenges of this research is try to influence the government to support resilient way of doing things, building bridges and achieve the SDG by understanding the complexity of the social ecological system within the composition of sustainability.

Water sensitive urban design: Addressing flooding resilience in Ho Chi Minh City
Mariana da Cunha Oliveira Santos

The author wants to address the research to integrate urban strategies with flood protection measures in the Ho Chi Minh City, refurbish the existing infrastructure in order to be resilient to flooding, create storage areas by improving the landscape and a network of stakeholders and public participation, in order to create and holistic assessment. In HCMC land uses are changing, the infrastructures are altering the natural water cycle with consequent risk of flooding and there is the climate change. The city is composed by a large network of rivers but the main one is reformed for economic market. Moreover, the hydrogeological network is complex and the city standard is to grow closer and closer to the river. The main issue is that the city is vulnerable to floods because the drainage system is not managed to support the growing city infrastructure and the urban increase. Structured measures to retain floods have been proposed from the government but they are resilient just for flooding and not for climate change; change in land use and lack of control to preserve permeable areas; lack of capacity in policy to regulate the housing demand and new developments; lack of knowledge and cooperation with the planning department. The method used is analysing the urban morphology and creating a BIM database with classification of architecture by land use; making flooding simulations, a urban analysis for maintenance level. The results of this research are addressed to give some recommendations and criteria for future land use, such as site of the plot and topography, innovative design solutions and technological innovations. It remains unsolved the assessment for effectiveness water sensitive urban design strategies, since it is the next step for the research.

The Healing Grid Project: unlocking the potential of Nature Based Solutions in Timisoara, Romania
Loredana Gaita

The author carried out a research for Timisoara, Romania, aiming at creating a connection of ecological corridors at municipal and regional level, trying to upscaling the project in multidisciplinary with ecological, infrastructural, social and morphological functions. The drainage channels are in great danger. The Healing Grid System is a project that uses nature-based solutions to increase the city resilience seeing the existing drainage system as an opportunity to create connections of green corridors, creating a blue-green infrastructure. The current situation is critical, since the channel system can collapse because of the urban sprawl, there is a lack of accessible green spaces in periphery and different urbanistic plans are not connected for every administration. The methodology used tries to create a dialogue between stakeholders, use new technologies to map the system preventing lack of knowledge and data, study of urban morphology and social-demographic disparities and creation of guides and awareness campaign for residents. Actually the author achieved the possibility to apply for European funds in order to start the pilot project but the main challenge is upscale it by a long term process addressing the system to different neighbourhoods, negotiating for the privatized areas and ensure a continuity of ecological corridors in regional scale.

T1.6: Social Implications of Resilience

This session focused on the factors working both in favour and against the ability of a communities to recover, adapt and transform from crises.

Resilience was broadly framed in response to natural disaster (Ryokawa, Gonçalves and Ortiz) and economic shock (Masik). The goal of Resilience was broadly identified as enabling affected communities to both withstand the initial crisis, adapt to changed situations and ideally transform to better cope with future crises. There was a range of different approaches taken to defining Resilience with some papers (Masik and Gonçalves) discussing it from a theoretical starting point, while others (Ryokawa and Ortiz) focussed more on their case study examples as starting points. The key take-away from this session was understanding the situation of communities adequately pre-crisis to better support Social Resilience post-crisis – the actions taken and understanding made before a crisis need to be given as much attention as decisions and policy made after the crisis to truly enable a community to transform. 

Ryokawa discussed the situation of the fishing communities in Ecuador, highlighting their pre-existing dependence on the sea for livelihood, yet post-crisis policy drew them away from these areas with inland construction adversely affecting their ability to withstand the shock of the disaster. Similarly, Ortiz noted the pre-existing vulnerability of communities in Mexico with limited to no government support. While the community came together in self-organised groups, these quickly disbanded following the disaster leaving the community still vulnerable to shock. Gonçalves noted the pre-crisis forested environment of Portuguese rural areas, exposing communities to high levels of risk without corresponding education, while post-crisis efforts fell short at addressing these vulnerabilities and providing transformational solutions. Conversely, Masik highlighted what were important pre-existing factors in enabling Polish communities to withstand the economic crisis, including human, social and institutional capital in place before the crises that allowed for strong Social Resilience to the economic consequences of the Global FInancial Crisis.

Ultimately this session reframed Urban Resilience Implementation in terms of understanding pre-existing social factors critical for the preparation and anticipation of future crises.

Human behavior response to disaster-caused environmental changes: A case of fishermen community, San José de Chamanga, affected by the 2016 Ecuador earthquake
Atsuki Ryokawa

Atsuki Ryokawa began the session presenting human behaviour response to the 2016 Earthquake in Chamanga, Ecuador, focusing on the situation of the fishermen in the community. His used the concept of ‘reactive force’ to frame Resilience as observed in community behaviour to the disaster. The challenge observed in this case study was the government reconstruction policy. This involved relocating much of the fishing community away from the coast, further inland to higher ground deemed safer, yet further away from their previous livelihoods. The ‘reactive force’ observed within the community was twofold. Firstly, the community that were relocated began opening up new businesses in these areas, eventually creating a whole new main street. Secondly, though relocated, some of the fishermen found ways to maintain their livelihoods on the sea through the help of friends and family still living on the coast who were able to store their fishing supplies. 

The main conclusion was that the ‘reactive force’ which led people to shape their own environment was at odds with government post-disaster policies of reconstruction. In essence government policy did not sufficiently take into account people’s livelihoods pre-disaster so the post-disaster response was lacking. Ryokawa concluded that strategies and formal methods should be implemented to better take the situation of the community into consideration.

Social resilience during and after the crisis. The case of Gdańsk-Gdynia-Sopot Metropolitan Area in Poland
Grzegorz Masik

Grzegorz Masik spoke on Social Resilience during and after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis as experienced in  Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot Metropolitan Area, Poland. His main contention was the more assets people have in responding to a crises the more resilient they are. These assets can be considered as more than simply material, but also include human, social and institutional capital. Masik began by presenting findings from an analysis of current literature, with focus on Social Resilience. He noted that much attention is paid to assets within a community as forming the basis for Social Resilience. Masik also noted the importance of considering Resilience from an agency perspective, considering the role of government, different stakeholders and key actors in imagining, anticipating and responding to change. Masik then presented findings from interviews with key stakeholder that identified key determinants that enabled the community to withstand the shocks of the crisis with reasonably limited detrimental effects. 

Three areas (assets) were identified as forming the basis for this Resilience. Firstly human capital of a society well able to adapt and be flexible within a changing environment. Secondly, social capital of a consensus among business owners of the importance of maintaining job security for members of society, allowing flexible forms of employment and short term contracts. Thirdly institutional capital of a pre-existing conservative banking policy across Poland and overlapping policies of different institutions that created favourable pre-crisis conditions.

Pro-Resilience Governance and (in)Accessibility to Services of General Interest: evidence from the Portuguese Center region after 2017 wildfires crisis
Carlos Gonçalves, João Marques, Monique Borges, Gonçalo Barros

Carlos Gonçalves spoke on governance and the accessibility of Services of General Interest (SeIG) in response to the 2017 Portuguese Wildfires, with particularly focus on how these services were delivered in rural areas and how they were reported on and perceived by the community. His main contention was that a typology of Resilience that places emphasis on transformation is key to helping vulnerable communities respond to disaster.

The problem Gonçalves addressed was the partial collapse of SeIG’s (such as civil protection, water, electricity, etc) to be adequately delivered for dispersed settlements in the affected rural area in the wake of the 2017 wildfires. Contributing factors included an already elderly and thus vulnerable population, recent and widespread change to the natural landscape (once agricultural land had now been transformed into forested areas) and a lack of education or awareness among the community of the dangers of living in such forested areas. Gonçalves then discussed a theoretical framework from a literature review for proposing a typology for Resilience. Results from this review suggested the importance of moving from recovery (where vulnerability is maintained) to transformation (where vulnerability is minimized). 

Secondly, content analysis of 150 newspaper articles on the disaster were presented. The newspapers made primary mention of the impacts of the disaster with some reference to social impacts. However there was a lack of reporting on actions taken and required for long term transformation. Gonçalves concluded that a typology of Resilience that focuses on transformation and which can be easily translated and understood by the community is needed.

Facing 19th september earthquake in Morelos, Mexico. Eventually effects and organization on the epicenter
Rafael Monroy Ortiz, Rafael Monroy Martínez, Columba Monroy Ortiz, Celia Jiménez, Rodrigo Flores, Cesar González

Rafael Ortiz presented bottom-up community initiated recovery strategies as evidenced in the 2017 Earthquake in Morelos Mexico. His main contention was that local strategies implemented by local actors involved or affected by a disaster can be an effective solution in the absence of government support, but that systemization is needed to sustain this for future disasters. Morelos state, one of the poorest in Mexico also is one of the most prone to earthquakes and hurricanes. In response to a similar earthquake in 1985 exactly 32 years earlier than the one in question, local members of the community volunteered immediately to help victims trapped under the rubble, forming self-organised recovery groups – significantly, without government support.  Thirty-two years on, and again in response to another earthquake, community members went out on their own initiative to help save trapped victims without government support or aid. Ortiz noted in the wake of the disaster many informal organisations of volunteers were formed. However few remained post disaster. 

Ortiz’s study looked particularly at the role of the University Collection Center (UCC) set up in response, noting how both members of the public, students and teachers came together to provide basic provisions for affected communities. Students of architecture even helped design basic shelters for people rebuilding on their own. This all happened without and sometimes despite government interference. Ortiz concluded that while such self-organized approaches were found to be effective, they must be systematized to anticipate of future events.

T4.5: Housing, Economy and Community-led Actions

The session topic “Housing, economy and community-led actions” has focussed mainly on the importance of existing social networks for building resilience. People and communities gained relevance not only as the primary target of resilience, but as the main actors in the agency of resilience.

The discussion on cultural differences as in the migration context, the practice of informality in the city, the tension between growth versus well-being of the city and the grassroots movement might not be well-established in existing literature about resilience yet, but this indicates a need to understand the various perceptions of community that exist among resilience discourses.

The session proposes that urban resilience needs to be more people-centered, taking into account existing social networks and connections. The presentations point to the need for more flexibility in the implementation of policies and the need to deal with uncertainty and contingency. At the same time, local realities come as a crucial factor of analysis, although there is a possibility of replicating key concepts and guidelines to different contexts. One the one hand, a series of external aspects influence the resilience of communities, such as demographics, national health policies, economic conditions, legislation for informal workers, and energy provision. However, the presentations highlight the importance of local agency, collective action, and social networks in shaping the way communities react to everyday life adversities. Therefore, the panel as a whole points out that the intrinsic relations and internal operations of communities need to be understood and analyzed for the implementation of policies or projects. In that sense, in order to move to a more “transformability” approach, urban resilience has to partner with a specific internal logic and make use of them for a positive impact in communities.

How can the concept of resilience be applied to housing market problems?
Friederike Frieler

In the first presentation, named “How can the concept of resilience be applied to housing market problem”,  Friederike Frieler pointed out the challenge of housing in Germany caused by a demographic split, due to recent social changes such as refugee migration. In the the presented case study of the city of Leipzig, an imbalance between supply and demand of housing created a Swarm Cities” phenomenon where big cities are incapable to accommodate the demand for housing. Frieler indicated the lack of exclusive application of the resilience framework to the issues of housing market and policy. Thus, she has used the “transformability” approach of resilience, which can express the ability of the housing sector in dealing with uncertainty and contingency, enhancing the flexibility and improvisation of qualities which benefit all users. Frieler observed transformability through the lens of economic, environmental, and social aspects. Resilience in an economic perspective can propose measuring models which include specific indicators, such as housing costs related to income. While the orientation of an environmental approach is centered in construction quality, for social aspects the importance of studies at the neighborhood level has been emphasized. To sum up, the presenter proposes that the development of resilient housing policy can promote flexible housing stock and a plurality of forms of ownership. In addition, it is essential for policy makers at the local level to internalize resilience into their practice. 

The structure of collective-based working and living settlement: The case of local-specific urban kampong in Jakarta
Lucia Pramanti, Handi Chandra Putra, Wahyu Astuti

In the following presentation, “The structure of collective-based working and living settlement: The case of local-specific urban kampong in Jakarta” Lucia Indah Pramanti analysed resilience in the framework of community and local economy by using the case study of the urban village of Kampung Rawa in Jakarta. The presenter has looked at urban poor’s resilience toward the pressure of modernization in a global city: facing difficulties to enter the formal market, migrants from the countryside have developed independent economic activities developed within the dwelling space, such as the production of tofu and tempeh (soybean cake). One keypoint of Pramanti’s study is that the urgency to solve problems has led to coping mechanism to survive economically in Jakarta. In addition, the community has built strong social capital, which allows residents to cope with challenges collectively. In that sense, the resilience framework is used to show that the quality of urban areas goes beyond investment in physical space, depending also on the ability of self-management of citizens.The presentation points to future challenge of how the culture of collectivity should be not only related to new resilience paradigm, but also be manifested in a spatial form.

Informal Economy in the Fragile City as a Driver of Social Resilience. Lessons for disaster risk reduction. Focus on informal workers in the public space of Bogota, Colombia.
Juan Sebastian Benitez Bustamante

Next, Juan Sebastian Benitez Bustamante presented “Informal economy in the fragile city as a driver of social resilience. Lessons for the disaster risk reduction. Focus on informal workers in the public space of Bogota, Colombia.” The social aspect is a critical point utilized by Benitez to examine the resilience of informal workers in two sites of Bogota: Candelana and Usaquen. He observed how the survival and adaptation mechanisms of these workers operate in the public space and consequentially builds social resilience. The nonexistence of the resilience concept in the literature on informal economy directed him to borrow the concept of resilience from the disaster risk management framework. By using this method, he found that there are ten out of twelve attributes of social resilience which align with disaster resilience, especially regarding people, group and community-focus concepts. He found out that some conditions have indirectly created resilience among informal workers, including exposure to economic problems, lack of social security and essential services, evictions by public authorities, and the weather. Also, the strong solidarity network among them has been enabling the force to influence change or movement, for example against eviction from public authorities. These adaptation and survival mechanism, including flexibility, is an investment to face future sudden shock, like disasters. Finally, he underlined that further studies of resilience, which take context-based dynamism like informal activities into account, will need to be undertaken.

The role of networks in insuring health shocks. The case of poor urban communities in Accra
Ana Maria Perez Arredondo

In the presentation “The role of networks in insuring health shocks. The case of poor urban communities in Accra”, Ana Maria Perez Arredondo presented a research project that is applying the concept of One Health to analyze resilience in four cities in different parts of the world. The author presented the case of Accra, a city in Gana, in which deprived health conditions affects directly the resilience capacities of vulnerable urban populations. In the research, the conventional understanding of resilience is reframed by the idea of one health, pointing out that environmental change is affecting the relationship between humans, animals and the environment. In that sense, it is crucial to consider the relationship between these three aspects to propose trans-disciplinary practical solutions from a multi-hazard and multi-risk perspective, shifting from a framework of looking at urban economic growth to one that considers the well-being of citizens. The importance of how health is financed came as a key aspect of the presentation. In the case of Accra, a series of existing social networks and risk shares through community-based insurance are presented as a reaction to the deprivation of the national health financing system. The presenter highlights that these social networks need to be taken into account and understood as an opportunity in the restructuring of new health policies in the country.

From subordination to resistance and solidarity: transformative citizen action and energy vulnerability in Barcelona
Sergio Tirado Herrero

Last, in “From subordination to resistance and solidarity: transformative citizen action and energy poverty in Barcelona” Sergio Tirado Herrero presented the role of community-based organizations in fighting for more just energy provision. He outlines the challenge that a significant part of the population of Barcelona does not have access to adequate energy cannot afford to pay or have debts regarding their electricity bills. The presenter tries to criticize the bounce back idea of resilience, and fosters a more transformative framework, even suggesting that the concept of resistance could be an alternative to the idea of resilience. In that sense, the Catalan movement Alliance Against Energy Poverty is highlighted as an essential actor for giving voice to the energy poor and re-politicizing the debate around energy consumption. The presented case shows the potential of collective action in shifting individual experiences of energy poverty into networks of mutual resistance through solidarity. Such networks, aligned with the favorable political conditions in Barcelona, have been provided more just access to energy by vulnerable citizens.

T3.5: Panel on City-University & Resilience

The Panel on “City-University & Resilience” and its approach to diverse government-university partnerships in diverse projects is providing a new understanding of urban resilience implementations.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines reframe as the action to change the way something is expressed or considered. On the other hand, according to Meerow et al (2015) urban resilience refers to the ability of an urban system and – all its constituent socio-ecological and socio-technical networks across temporal and spatial scales – to maintain or rapidly return to desired functions in the face of a disturbance, to adapt to change, and to quickly transform systems that limit current or future adaptive capacity. The Resilience Alliance (2007) claims that the urban system is composed of four major subsystems which are “governance networks”, “metabolic flows,” the “built environment,” and “social dynamics”. Governance networks refer to the diverse range of actors and institutions whose decisions shape urban systems. This includes the levels of government (denoted by “states”), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and businesses (Meerow et al, 2015). 

The research presented during this argued the need to reformulate the role of universities in city-decision processes. Moreover, Fletcher Beaudoin and Beth Ferguson began their presentations by citing Buckminster Fuller: “You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete”. Beaudoin, Ferguson, and all the six panelists claimed the importance to promote a new model of participation among the different levels of government and the universities, where the latter will become real cities’ actors while working in project-based transdisciplinary researches. This action can contribute to build sustainable capacities and to promote a more resilient approach to cities’ interventions.

Finally, even though, rethinking this partnership is momentous, it is also important to acknowledge that the “governance networks” expressed in the Resilience Alliance  (2007) will not be complete if nongovernmental organizations, public and private partners, and the community itself start to get involved in urban resilience transdisciplinary implementations.

City-university Partnerships and Capacity Building: Integrated resilience planning in Portland, Oregon
Fletcher Beaudoin, Liliana Caughman

Fletcher Beaudoin, assistant director at the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland University, invites us to rethink the role of universities in decisions that shape urban systems. He claims that promoting transdisciplinary social infrastructures can help universities to become cities’ actors. To exemplify his argument, he presented “CapaCity”, an initiative supported by the Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes (GCSO) that encourages the active participation of universities in cities decision making. Nowadays, there are six universities from Germany, Mexico and the USA involved in “CapaCity”: Arizona State University (ASU), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Portland State University (PSU), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and Leuphana University of Lueneburg. The “CapaCity” initiative promotes key factors that can facilitate city-university partnerships, which are: mutual understanding of the context, motivation and engagement, commitment from both sides, interest in working together, and having resources and structures that enable this type of actions. The ultimate goal of this city-university partnership is to promote transdisciplinary projects that generate social infrastructure that endures.

Panel: Building effective city-university partnerships for accelerating resilience implementation
Liliana Caughman, Fletcher Beaudoin, Lauren Keeler, Beatrice John, Philip Bernert

Liliana Caughman is a graduate research assistant at the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland University, who is behind the Resilience Infrastructure Planning Exercise (RIPE), where researchers, project managers and members of four city council bureaus (parks & recreation, water, environmental services, transportation) work together in cross bureau discussions and actions. Convening, context and capacity are the three main axes of this initiative. In this case, the university helped to put together the capacities and knowledge of the different actors of the city council bureaus in order to have a better understanding of the city and its challenges. Nowadays, this project is moving from a big action plan to a specific project under the umbrella of the Disaster Resilience and Recovery Action Group (DRRAG).

Urban resilience as learning: Building transformative capacity through game-based approaches in Tempe, Arizona
Lauren Keeler

Lauren Keeler is assistant research professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University which is part of the “CapaCity” initiative. Keeler uses collaborative games as a tool of building capacities. Future shocks & city resilience and AudaCity were two of the games implemented in the partnership between the city of Tempe, Arizona and the Arizona State University. The university is developing diverse projects in collaboration with different bureaus of the city council. However, while implementing them, a question about the means to align diverse assets towards a common goal based on the city government’s aspirations has remained unanswered.

City-wide sustainability visioning and real-world laboratories, City of Lueneburg, Germany
Beatrice John, Philip Bernert

Philip Bernert is research fellow at the Faculty of Sustainability at the Leuphana University of Lueneburg. The CapaCity initiative that is being held by this university is the Lueneburg 2030+, which is a transdisciplinary research held by local actors, managers of the city’s sustainability department, and faculty and students of different fields. They worked together in partnership based on respect, appreciation and trust. The 2030+ project has been implemented in three phases: “Develop” with 25 visions proposed, “Planning” that created 17 measures, and finally “Real world implementation” with 8 interventions in the city. This project is rethinking the research process from a target knowledge perspective to a transdisciplinary knowledge action.

Resilient Planning Implementation: the Case of the Politecnico di Torino University Campus
Caterina Barioglio, Daniele Campobenedetto, Giulia Sonetti

Caterina Barioglio, Daniele Campobenedetto and Giulia Sonetti were part of the transdisciplinary team of the Politecnico di Torino that developed the 2016 Master Plan for Torino. The Master Plan was a sharing tool that promoted multi-stakeholders interactions, which was based on a circular process method incorporating diverse requirement frameworks (needs, technical issues, strategies) and project scenarios (teaching, timing and procedures, business plan). The Master Plan Method designed shared-need frameworks and built shared urban visions. While developing the 2016 City Master Plan, the team faced some challenges like understanding the city’s built heritage, the necessity to incorporate new and different needs to the urban context and the lack of space for new developments. Some of the tools used to address these challenges were: decision making through problem mapping, dialogue with technicians while using different types of drawings, design actions considering spaces and systems and low budget interventions. 

Creative partnerships for emergency solar charging stations
Beth Ferguson

Beth Ferguson is Assistant Professor of Design at The University of California Davis and director of Sol Design Lab, a design/build studio that specializes in solar charging stations and public art, and promotes the implementation of technology as a tool to develop and promote new mobility strategies. The electric drive solar kiosk, is one of the projects promoted by this studio. It is an innovative combination of solar technology, energy storage, public art and civic place making.  This kiosk provides energy to charge electric bikes, wheel chairs, scooters and mobile electronics. It was developed by the University of Texas, but now it has been implemented in the city of Austin under a partnership of Sol Design Lab with the city council. This project seeks to “disrupt” the use of car while promoting solar micro-mobility and resilient place-making. Ferguson argues the need to change our perception about transportation, understanding it as a service and not as a product. The author acknowledges that technology-based projects similar to the electric drive solar kiosk follow a discriminatory platform and that it is a gap that should be addressed in future researches.