During the session, and in-between the presentations of different case-studies around the world, the main themes evoked were innovation for smart cities, theoretical framework principles for ecology, a transformation towards resilient urban governance, open-data gathering, and urban energy transition.
In this session of Urban Design and management of Infrastructures and Services, the sub-topic specifically focussed on Planning and critical Infrastructures. The goal was to tackle different ways of regarding planning and critical infrastructures by going beyond conventional urban governance. The speakers delivered examples of guidelines addressing design components for urban planning and management to minimize urban vulnerability. The session referred to Urban Resilience by looking at very specific cases of alternative planning and critical infrastructure that differs from conventional urban governance towards a resilient thinking referring to guiding principles from the existing literature. Therefore, the speakers tried to fill the gaps in terms of frameworks and integrated guidelines assessing resilient planning and critical infrastructure strategies. Hence, the topics were heavily backed up by resilience literature although the need of restructuring the existing frameworks was pointed out during the final debate. Indeed, it was mentioned that resilience thinking does not necessarily need to be changed but more transformed as the urban society itself evolves as new technologies appear.
The first speaker, Bin Ge, as representer of the Archiland International Cooperation, presented a conceptual framework for Futur Science City planning. Giving the example of a Chinese city, Tianjin, the idea is to profit from innovation in order to expand planning towards smart development as opposed to intensive urban expansion development which is a main issue in today’s Chinese cities. Hence, resilience is seen as a way to respond to the uncertain future of development that has been regarded as one main challenge in modern planning. Bin Ge is responding to the Chinese critical urban planning agenda of the last 30 years with a conceptual smart city framework which takes into consideration public transportation systems, infrastructure networks, ecological corridors, open spaces and public services. The design scheme is a modulated grid of 1km by 1km with a strict planning guideline which embraces uncertainty thanks to variable development contents located inside the grid. To conclude, one of the main challenges stated by the author is to look into the integration of this kind of framework inside of the larger scale of planning administration in order to keep a coherence in the resilience assessment for the feasibility of his elastic design planning.
Speakers Ulbrich and Coaffee from the University of Warwick, tackled various resilience framework literature in order to present a reframing proposition that deal with resilient urban governance. According to them, the concept of resilience is often oversimplified when it is in fact an inherently complex process. The supposedly flexible and adaptable model is not a predicted science and therefore, scholars and practitioners have to move towards mixed methods. Their analyses focus on complementarity frames of the SDG11 and CRI monitoring at local and urban scale. The goal is to link urban governance to a reframed Resilience Multiple that influence the spatial intersecting between horizontal, vertical and spatial scheme in order to reduce inequalities. Both speakers want to point out the benefits of local context and knowledge and how the participation of new stakeholders brings more resilient solutions. The aim is to emphasize on the process of resilience rather than on the final product. In their opinion, a new framework would take more time and resources than the existing one but it is necessary for better outcomes. Finally, their proposal is a framework that analyses the adaptative transformations of governance processes through changes in network, in discourses and in evaluation practices.
Mahsa Moghadas, is a PHD student from Iran who is focussing on a case study dealing with Disaster Risk Reduction in Tehran, Iran. She is more precisely interested in adapting critical infrastructures and services facing threats from climate change and natural hazards. Her studies brought her to improve preparedness through the use of Open Data as a ressource for planning. The speaker is stating the weak preparedness of Tehran, existing data from the government with a lack of accessibility, poor DRR management, bad critical infrastructure and basic services and WASH responses. Moghadas is persuaded that a resilient system would benefit from the Sendai Framework focused on Data Readiness Review. Moghadas is stating the need of linking local policies with critical infrastructures with a resilient framework that not only prevent from disaster risk but also brings social inclusion and avoid social trust gaps. She presents a proactive model that values critical infrastructures as being essentials to DRR. During her study, she analyzed the different levels of resilience between various urban district of the city of Tehran to show its strengths and weaknesses. She separated critical types of infrastructure into the physical infrastructure, the social infrastructure and the institutional infrastructure.
Susan Mühlemeier has presented urban energy transition as a socio-technical transition for urban energy system resilience. More precisely, she focus on very local solutions in Germany and Switzerland such as Urban Utility Companies which are owned by the city, therefore, they are public firms. Here, energy systems play a crucial role in the critical infrastructures which needs to follow the trend of change, such as the transition to renewable energies. By proposing a new reframing system, Susan state that different stakeholders are bringing new ideas that are directly affecting the system and changing the traditional regime. This critical infrastructure has the particularity of responding to resilience by remaining functional and providing public services by taking into account social and technical innovations and opportunities. Urban Utility Companies needs to be stable and flexible in transition in order to answer the public demand and hence the model focus on two core principles of resilience: diversity and connectivity. The goal is to implement technological diversity locally, bring local knowledge and solutions, connect politics and the energy industry with all citizens and infrastructures thanks to a direct democratic control and a local long-term infrastructure management that supports the societal change.