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.