T4.3: Networks for Resilience

“Networks for Resilience” session had diverse and yet somehow similar discussions and findings. They all examined the community’s behavioral patterns in the face of their adversities, whether it being a sudden shock or more of long term stress.

Overall, they all defined resilience in the metaphorical sense through deeper understanding of the societal and cultural components. The first examined the transnational networks and how it supported communities overcome their challenges. The second presentation, provided toolkits that prepared communities to analyse disaster risks. The next one, studied how socio-spatial urban planning strategies can strengthen social cohesion as a long term approach for building community resilience. The following presentation, conducted a comparative study to understand the role of identity in building resilient neighborhoods. The later presentation investigated the grassroots initiatives produced by social movement to create resilient rivers against floods and to generally improve their public spaces. In the final presentation, it showcased how building capacity through collaborative workshops and community participations can improve neighborhoods.

The session provided deep and rich insights of the various types of community networks and their strategies in coping with crisis and everydays risks. In terms of solid urban resilience framework, Mateus presentation examined how grassroot communities initiatives used green infrastructure for enhancing the riverside as a mitigation strategy against flooding. He combined the metaphorical component of resilience with the ecosystem service strategies. Therefore, I found it to be the most successful in responding to the conference message of how to reframe resilience implementation. All the other presentations, examined the more social aspect of resilience and tries to understand the complex systems embedded within its vulnerable communities and their collective capacity to cope, adapt and sometimes maintain or transform their situation when experiencing disturbing challenges and threats of their livelihoods.

Translocal networking as a cornerstone for community resilience: Activities by the Asian Coalition for Housing Right
Ley Asrid

For the first presentation, Astrid shared her perspective on the role of trans-local networking of communities and what role does it play for the understanding of community resilience through studying the activities of the Asian Coalition for housing rights. 

She began the presentation by defining community resilience reciting other authors and references. Her understanding of community resilience is mainly derived from the social resilience definition which is “coping, adapting and transformative capacities for facing multiple shocks and stresses (Keck and Sakdapolrak 2013, McIan et al 2014, Saja et al 2018)”. In addition, she mentions how community resilience stresses the capacities and resources of collective actors from the social resilience framework by Saja et al 2018. Then she provides a couple of limitations which are overlooking the framing of community and overlooking the threats of maladaptation. Then she moves forward to the translocality defining it as globally organized communities that are better prepared to face events, stresses and shocks. It is more relevant to migrant communities, and social practice is usually from below and above. She also mentions one limitation of translocality where the urban poor communities might have limited capacities to organize transnationally. 

After providing her conceptual frameworks of her studies, Astrid expands further through her research in Thailand. She discussed mainly three research projects. The first is the housing for the poor for the local action to global networks and how the community created peer to peer exchange networks of mutual support and leaning. Her research aimed to understand how far transnational networks has an impact on those communities undergoing negotiations with their local governments. The second example she provides is the Banbua Canal Community where the community organised themselves to upgrade the canals and make way for future flooding using the ACHR participatory process. The third example looking into how ACHR network operate during the shock of Indian Ocean Tsunami 2004. 

Finally she reflects on community resilience by concluding that translocal networks focuses on networking beyond rebuilding, organising prior crisis, avoiding overburdening local communities, and acting as a complementary strategy. 

Measuring Informal Urban Settlements’ Pathway to Resilience Building
Nadia Cruz

In the second presentation, Cruz introduces GOAL and its toolkit ARC-D that basically guides communities within informal urban settlements build resilience. She begins with defining resilience as how GOAL understands resilience as the capacity of communities to anticipate, absorb, then adapt, and finally transform the shocks and stresses. She also mentions that GOAL resilience outcomes (positive and negative)  are produced through asking of what? to what? through what (capacities)?

Moving forward, she reveals the “Analysis of the Resilience of Communities to Disaster” toolkit. The ARC-D toolkit or guidelines was generated from the “Good practices research report” by John Twigg which incorporates 167 main characteristics of resilience to disasters. The toolkit has been applied around 11 countries facing disasters. According to Cruz, the toolkit is comprised of Questionnaire , an online platform to collect information (CommCare), and a methodological Guide. Then she explains that the toolkit measures 30 components of four thematic topics: a) understanding disaster risk b) strengthening governance to manage disaster risk c) reducing vulnerability d) enhancing disaster preparedness to “Build Back Better” recovery. 

The case study chosen to explain the implementation of the toolkit is located in an informal urban settlement in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. They applied the toolkit in three neighborhood with high risk. After measuring the situation, the results used to inform 4 key socio-economic systems: neighborhood landslides early warning system, system provision and maintenance of neighborhood drainage, market system for the provision of basic food supply through neighborhood stores, social housing maret system. As for the conclusion, GOAL reflects on community resilience by highlighting the importance of connecting people to socioeconomic systems to reduce vulnerability. Lastly, community resilience building efforts can be connected to the informal urban settlement through context specific analysis.

Social Cohesion in a multi-ethnic urban neighborhood - Strengthening community resilience through urban planning
Tim Lukas, Bo Tackenberg

Lukas and Tackenberg presented their research Resilience through Social Cohesion (ResOrt). The objective of their research is to develop an integrated set of recommendations for organisations on how aspects of social cohesion (as essential resilience factors) can be included in their strategy development and how can social cohesion be strengthened. Their research questioned “what role does social cohesion play in the work of civil protection organisations and local authorities in coping with crisis, disasters and social upheavals?” Furthermore, their research examined which socio spatial conditions and cooperative organization can strengthen social cohesions.  Moving on, they explained their methodology where they investigated through written-proposal population survey, lost-letter-experiments, social area analysis, expert interviews and workshops, and finally guided interviews with residents. Through their methodology, they established a theoretical model of community resilience that describes social cohesion in everyday life. The components of social cohesion are reciprocity, participation, canon of values and norms, social trust and social networks. Then they narrowed it down into social cohesion in multi ethnic societies, and mentioned some of the negative outcomes of ethnic diversity in communities. They highlighted how public space promotes social cohesion because its a shared space that enables exchange daily, however, these encounters can also reinforce prejudices resulting from ethnic diversity. Therefore, they emphasis the important role of urban planning for multi ethnic societies (festivals, markets, social activities).

They concluded by restating the importance of public space and urban planning in promoting social cohesion as community resilience is a long-term approach to be considered before the emergence of disasters. They also mention that community resilience can be strengthened through knowledge exchange between different organisation. 

Making Neighborhoods Resilient: The Social Construction of Identity
Leandro Madrazo, Ángel Martín Cojo, Mario Hernández

Leandro presented their research project known as “PROHABIT”. The research studied the bonds that exist between people and the places they inhabit, as well as their resistance against new plans produced by the administration. The research objective was to analyse the impact of urban transformation on three neighborhoods, and to understand the process of creating a collective identity linked to place with the participation of professionals and citizens. Basically, conducting a multidimensional analysis investigating both the built environment and lived environment. He further explains their methodology of the process of collecting information through both inductive and deductive investigations. The process conducted were interviews, observations, documentation, and participation. Then they structured the information into the following categories: Themes, Questions, Facts, Evidences, Places, Concepts. He then expanded  to describe one key product they created that allowed great information sharing and mapping. This product is an online platform called “Prohabit Mapper”. This online platform is free and open to the public, and allows their participation and exchange of information. 

Moving on, he reflected on the social construction of an identity and how it relates to Resilience. He recites the definition as Resilience related to how a system changes but still retain its core functions, structures, feedback and identity. He also reflects on the social cultural perspective where the identity of the urban system is applied through permanence. Then he explains the dilemma of identity, torn between permanence and change, where identity is preserved but continuously reinterpreted and updated. The conducted a comparative case study in three neighborhoods in Barcelona (Plus Ultra, Vallcarca, Trinitat Nova), studying the social construction of the neighborhoods’ identities. In Trinitat and Plus Ultra, they resisted new plans to preserve their identity. Where Vallcarca, the new generations re-appropriated and re-interpreted the memories to strengthen the resilience of the place. In conclusion, All three neighborhoods constructed the identity of the place to resist future delineation plans, therefore identity became instrumental for their resilience.

Possibilities for Resilient Grassroots Urban Planning: strategies used by a neighborhood movement in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Mateus Lira da Matta Machado

Mateus started his presentation by providing some reflections on resilience and in particular trying to understand resilient communities as the byproduct of inequalities challenges. He describes how environmental and spatial injustice are causing uneven distribution of resources and therefore, a pathway to exposure to more risks. Therefore, he examines the rise of (resilient) grassroots urban planning through urban social movements since the state is not neutral in its position. 

The methodology used to study the grassroots social movements is through conducting interviews with the local leaders and communities activist. His case study is located in Belo Horizonte, his hometown in Brazil, in particular, analysing the rivers and its environmental and spatial injustices. The rivers are surrounded by low income neighborhoods who face negligence, sewage and waste dumping, and occasional flooding affect house. He mentions that the state is only involved when in emergency solutions but not long term solutions. Then he studied the grassroot initiatives in Ribeiro de Abreu neighborhoods, in the periphery of the city. The community pushed for a partnership with the state demanding a better neighborhood through basic improvements and more sustainable solutions of its rivers waterfronts. The partnership with the state created three positive outcomes: sense of citizenship, integration of different sectors, and affecting how municipality operates. The social movement claimed for creation of public spaces and parks around the river. After the relocation of some of the families from the risk areas of flooding, the state stopped the project, and communities continued collectively through constructing self built public spaces in the emptied area in the events in the weekends. He highlights how this social movement improved the self esteem of the local and enhanced thee sense of ownership. He mentions both challenges, the internal (community difference) and external (dependency on government) the community endured. 

In his conclusion, he stated that building grassroots resilience is from three aspects , first expanding beyond the limits of the neighborhoods and understanding the water basin as a system, combining self-led initiatives with partnership with the state, and claiming for spatial and environmental justice. He explains how social movements are integral stakeholders for building resilience in cities, the present new imaginaries and more sustainable solutions for the cities, and they also propose new political arrangements such as institutionalizing participation. Therefore, they have to be  supported, mapped, registered and analysed. 

Resignification of degraded public spaces in Guanajuato and in Bordeaux: citizen re-appropriation in the frame of intensive workshops developed by the University of Guanajuato (UG) and the superior national school of architecture and landscape of Bordeaux (ensapBx)
Carlos Gotlieb

In the final presentation of this session, Gotlieb presented the collaborative work made in Guanajuato and Bordeuax as part of the Academic Cooperation Agreement. The workshops objectives is first to establish close collaboration with local and regional authorities, which led to signing decentralized cooperation contracts where university partners act as a mediators. Second, to offer students the opportunity to participate in a real project scenarios and hands on experience. The urban projects of the workshops aims to mainly change the local community perceptions of their public space and to support their re-appropriation of their publics space as ways to enforce identity and community ties. He also mentions that resilience is seen through the capacity of an obsolete territory to generate strong social bonds during spatial conceptions with university, institutional actors and inhabitants. He presented two workshops, the first workshop was help in Santuario in 2015-2016 with the title of Metropolitan identity and citizen ownership. The workshop included an analysis and recognition of the site with the participation of the residents. Also, it incorporated meetings with technicians and key local actors. The main aim of the project was to analyse elements that produced local neighborhood identity. The workshop resulted with proposals for public spaces appropriation of H Galeana Street, and the proposals and jury reviews were held in the same street. The main finding of the workshop is that workshops can act as detonator of neighborhood activities. 

In the second workshop titled Between City and Nature was  located in Martignas 2016-2017. The workshop consisted of field visit with technicians from the city and meeting with the municipal team to exam site problems. The aim of the workshop was to push the student to develop actions and presentations to the authorities and residents. Also, for the students to debate their proposals with the local community for their feedbacks. He ended the presentation by showcasing a video documenting their experience.