T1.2: Community & Organizational Resilience

Topics such as community, social, housing, and urban resilience, lead the conference and opened discussions about how cities are practicing the concept, and what are the main challenges these cities have to overcome to start reframing resilience.

The main goal of this session was to explain and present different ways in which the concept of resilience was analyzed and applied in different backgrounds. In order to tackle issues like population growth, climate change, and natural/man-made disasters, there is a need for cities to come up with better bottom – up strategies and policies. Although the session covered different aspects of how to define and practice resilience, all of them tried to analyze the actual context of the diverse case studies, and if the methods and solutions that are applied while thriving for resilience are indeed the accurate ones. The idea is to understand, what are the main problems in the strategies used to achieve solutions applied today and in what way we can reframe these. In addition, not only is the role of the governance important, but us as citizens should think about the consequences our actions are having in the cities we are living in and how we can contribute to change. 

Redefining Resilience in the Developed Cities: Opportunities and challenges of the urban built environment as housing for a post-disaster population, Athens and London
Christina Kavoura

Christina Kavoura in Redefining resilience in the Developed Cities: opportunities and challenges to the urban built environment as housing for a post-disaster population, gives a framework and compares how both Athens and London work around the concept of resilience in the housing accommodations for the displaced population. By analyzing both cases, she puts into perspective and questions how cities and their policies respond to crisis. Are these cities’ strategies working towards a social resilience at national, municipal and global levels? Are they working on a better solution to both, the refugee crisis in Greece and the infrastructural failure in London? In the case of Greece, she explains how the term of resilience is more focused on sustainability, green cities and common stresses, rather than actual climate change disaster risks. For this, the main problem is the unpreparedness in acting towards today’s challenge with the refugee situation. London, on the other hand, focuses on acting towards surviving and prospering. With this, she determines that the context of the built environment of the social background plays and important role for applying resilience.

The paper presents housing as the social, political and infrastructural capacity of the city to provide shelter to the victims of the disasters and which are the ways of resilience responding to this. The main discussion revolves around the how are these housing crisis affecting every citizen, and why are there still no solutions to accommodate all the displaced population, while having empty buildings in the cities. How all this knowledge and frameworks about resilience are engaging in the implementation of real solutions through practice?

The community resilience challenge - a case study from Sweden
Tove Bodland, Mikael Granberg

How community resilience can be reached through increased public involvement, is the intention of the research paper presented by Tove Bodland. By focusing on a first analysis of the literature on resilience as well as the technological and physical solutions at the moment, dominated by the top-down perspective, the conference explains how this knowledge and the need for the combination of top–down and bottom–up solutions are implemented in disaster mitigation strategies.

She highlights the challenges and opportunities that this approach to resilience presents. The mail challenges come mainly from knowledge gaps, the lack of interest from the public, a deficiency in cultural communication between stakeholders and communities, and difficulties to address vulnerability and poorly designed tools for solution-making. Then again, thriving for community resilience, improves the use of existing networks in order to ask different questions, it allows training for both the communities and volunteers and leaves room to the exchange of knowledge. By using resilience, we ask new questions and understand complexities.

Disturbances – Early detection as a prerequisite for resilience
Markus Stenger

Markus Stenger, by explaining the context and the actual scenario of the city of Munich during his conference on Disturbances – Early Detection as Prerequisite for Resilience, he approaches resilience, not as an opposition, but rather understanding the effect of resilience as a time event. A necessary opportunity for a “beautiful” new urban planning. Not only in developed countries, but also in urban systems of cities with high economies. The main problem is that cities like Munich, which lack of sustainable views and solutions for the future, with the increase in population growth, have no capacity for urban expansion and tend to push infrastructure to its limits. This will lead cities to a crisis that will affect urban systems. The main challenge of this scenario is to scan the city in ways that no one has ever done. To find specific spaces and situations and think of them as new opportunities for resilience. So the final question is: “Is this really the answer? This can’t be the future.”

Dutch resiliency in the coastal Delta by alert people
Frederik Sanders

“How do people feel about how we build our cities? How will people react?” Fred Sanders, in Dutch Resiliency in the Coastal Delta, by Alert People, analyzes the concept of resilience as adaptedness and self-organization in the context of coastal Delta in the Netherlands. What are the communities perceptions of a disaster, and how, by their own means, they respond to these stresses. Through interviews and direct interaction with the community, he concludes that people are aware of the dangers they face by being exposed to this hazards and how there are no specific means to prepare them for future situations.

On one hand, citizens, think in a small scale. They focus on small areas and by doing so, they understand the context in which they are working on. On the other hand, government policies focus on bigger scale areas. The approach presented is a standpoint of resilience, seen as a possible solution when there is a connection between citizens and professionals. To land the idea that if governments continue addressing bigger and more general needs, the connection between citizens and professionals will break, getting further from the solution to these socio-economic problems.

Standardization process for urban resilience
Rene Lindner, Jose Maria Sarriegi, Josune Hernantes

Standardization, a state–of–art, as a way of implementing resilience in urban scales is what Rene Lindner tries to approach in this session, Standardization Process for Urban Resilience. This controversial line to resilience puts in perspective the application of the systematization of methodologies that can apply in many given scenarios. During this conference, the main point that all cases shared, was the fact that resilience cannot be applied in the same way in different contexts. This framework opens a dialog to understand and address the difference in standardizing methodologies, rather than solutions for resilience.