The major framework of the presentations in this session was mainly based on the 100 Resilient Cities approach by the Rockefeller Foundation. The 100 RC framework has also introduced a City Resilience Index, which included a set of 12 goals and 52 indicators when it was developed together with ARUP in 2013.
Three of the presentations shared more about urban governance (Melbourne and Thessaloniki and Central America). Two presentations shared more about implementation process (flooding and insurance). In an integrative manner towards the discussion in city resilience, further research shall be emphasis on the following topics:
- In what way, the pre-existing governance and planning experience or new experiment can be either be translated into the framework of urban resilience, or be put into longitudinal studies for observation and studies in Global North cities;
- Adaptation pathway approach in climate resilience can be better quantified into a meaningful sets of numbers and figures, or even infographics and put to evaluation;
- How governance planning and institutional co-operations can be improved;
- How the small grants program is then eventually connected to international funding bodies and global investors and insurers in Global South cities.
This paper examined the topic of Melbourne’s experiment in urban resilience governance and planning in 2016. The author also highlighted the process of Melbourne in setting up 100 RC strategies initially involving a bottom-up collaborative approach with voluntary participants of 32 local governments and other organizations. Framing and purposes were set forth together by the governments and organizations. The author presented the strong enabling conditions in Melbourne include: strong democratic governance and institutional setting, the cities were framing urban resilience beyond short-term risk reduction initiatives. The author addressed the prospects for mobilizing urban resilience in governance and planning, including addressing and reframing pre-existing condition, recognizing vulnerable populations, bottom-up local government collaborations, and partnerships…etc, which many of them already happening for long, there is a need to translate it into a resilience framework.
The author first identified challenges in government and planning, as transformation is constrained by custom and practice. The authors asked how do institutional inheritance shapes future possibilities, how innovative ideas can be incorporate, and also take an active role to transform the mainstream practice in planning and governance.
The authors discussed the key goals of Thessaloniki to achieve climate resilience. The goals were: shaping a thriving and sustainable city, co-create an inclusive city, build a dynamic urban economy, re-discover the city’s relationship with the sea. As simple as a slogan, the reality is that resilience is about a process, not outcomes. The pathway to resilience practice in Thessaloniki also took a lesson that they had to get the right people around the same table and building effective partnerships. Coaffee, suggested that it shall involve a mutual and accountable network of civic institutions, agencies, and individual citizens working in partnership. A common goal and common strategies is needed. In the case of Thessaloniki, the author pointed out the city had a need to seek more longitudinal studies to better understand how resilience practice can become mainstream.
The author framed Bilbao’s city’s challenges in its adaptation pathway approach to flooding. The author pointed out the adaptation pathway approach had already shown insights in dealing with other climate issues such as urban heat. The key discussion was, in a quantifying manner, how to reduce flood impacts on transport, by reducing flooded areas and increasing the soil permeability.
The classical approach, usually, focuses on “what if climate changes in a scenario of flooding”. However, the adaptation approach, focuses on ‘how much’ flooding the city can cope with. Focusing on the transport system, the author discussed the case of Bilbao, with numerical figures with rainfall alert minimum amount, soil infiltration capacity, and traffic road pavement covering. The results are a selection of the best alternative options for climate flooding risk management presented, including reducing soil pavement and lowering the minimum amount for rainfall alert.
The authors discussed different approaches to promote urban resilience and its implications for planning governance at the multinational, national, and metropolitan levels. The study of Central American planning cases permits to identify four tensions which are relevant for the discussion of the linkages between resilience implementation, planning, and governance.
The first tensions is, despite official discourses, numerous contradictions persist with ongoing strategic economic ventures and large infrastructure projects. There is incomplete coordination between environmental and economic ministries. Second, new issues incorporated into national and metropolitan development plans, such as gender equality, human rights, and civil society participation pose diverse implementation challenges for traditional planning organizations and professionals. Third, the conservative legal frameworks had become a limit for achievement, as legal disputes around private property and plan implementation continue. Finally, numerous stakeholders such as multilateral organizations, local governments, private investors, and grassroots organizations have not been fully involved in planning processes preventing multiple interests to be considered in the decision-making process.
The author finally put forth an unanswered question as to how effective planning on governance and institution co-operations can be improved in Central America.
The authors addressed the challenges of climate change and gave a project examples on water scarcity, drainage and solid waste management in Himalayan. The project is based in three cities in the Indian Himalayan region (Shimla, Kurseong, Gangtok) and their resilience strategy formulation using ICLEI ACCCRN Process (IAP) toolkit.
Shimla and Kurseong brought forth water supply systems as one of the most fragile urban systems. Whereas, Gangtok recognized the essential need to adopt a proper Solid Waste Management system, especially to avoid clogging of open drains and natural streams in order to reduce the threat of landslide incidences that result in infrastructural, financial and human loss. The key process of laying the path is critical in getting an active stakeholder engagement.
This case demonstrated an innovative financing mechanism by linking the projects with the Small Grants Fund to create success stories which can further be upscale through convergence with existing federal government schemes. The further unasked questions that underlined this topic, were made on how the small grants are then eventually connected to international funding bodies and global investors, as global investors also tend to seek low-risk projects to insure and execute.