In the session ‘Commons & Values Beyond Urban’ the attention shifted at community resilience as a component of urban resilience. The main points that were discussed were how communities can be more self-relied and build assets that they help them being less vulnerable. Resilience in most of the cases of this session was discussed more as a metaphor and as an entry point to start thinking for more equitable societies rather than as a strategy to be implemented.
In the presentations of this session has been discussed how urban policies that are supposed to help communities being more resilient often superficially adopt the term and end doing business as usual that often create new exclusions and inequalities. It is important to ask if resilience interventions benefit the most vulnerable segments of societies. Thus, there’s a need of reframing resilience through a more substantial engagement with a term and though making it the status quo in the formal planning system. Moreover, it is important to get values into urban planning that go beyond merely growth, expansion, and money discussions and rethink the relationship to civic infrastructures and pursue for more participatory societies.
The first presentation of this session had the title ‘The value of collective and individual assets in building urban community resilience’ and was focusing on marginalized communities in Bangkok, Thailand. The presentation focuses on the main risks that three marginalized communities face in Bangkok, i.e. floods, droughts, and economic crisis as a result of them. Official response mechanisms are not localized, so they might fail to help these vulnerable communities. Thus, it is examined the development of collective-self help adaptation strategies. The main challenges to overcome are the lack of long term planning and the dependence on external help. In order to overcome these challenges, the presentation proposes the use of a toolkit for the creation of collective assets such as public spaces and saving mechanisms that will help communities being more resilient.
The second presentation had the title ‘Rethinking urban commons in the age of transductive territorial production: a study on relational networks in rapidly growing Asian and Australasian cities’ and focuses on the changing public space in Auckland New Zealand. Resilience in this presentation was related to repetition and redundancy and therefore it was used as a metaphor and not something that could be implemented as a strategy. The main point of the presentation was that the public space change has been transforming through new technologies, social media, and hegemonic regimes into tele-, quasi-, and/or pseudo-public space. These spatial concepts refer to spatial typologies such as malls, privatized public space, and digital public space. These new paradigms of public space are based on consumption and can be highly exclusive leading to inequalities within the society.
The third presentation was titled ‘Influence of grassroots initiatives on forming urban resilience within communities’ and was a comparative study of grassroots movements in Thessaloniki, Greece, and Hanover, Germany. Both cities have similarities in terms of size of the population and the importance of social movements for the production of urban space. However, the motivations and the partnerships of these grassroots initiatives have been different for each case. In Thessaloniki, the examined grassroots initiatives have been created after the 2011 Greek financial crisis as coping mechanisms, i.e. out of necessity. Moreover, these initiatives have been quasi-informal and developed in a legal grey zone. In the case of Hanover, social movements are usually in partnership with the municipality and occurred to deal with environmental issues and to pursue more affordable housing. The main challenge for both cases is that grassroots movements were too focused on the district level and the question was how to scale them up.
The fourth presentation of this session was titled ‘Assessing community resilience of rural villages supported by the Korean authoritarian regime’ and examines the South Korean New Village Movement (KNVM) as a form of demographic resilience. In the context of South Korea, rapid urbanization has been seen as a threat that should be controlled and thus they started implementing the KNVM, a rural development program, as a reaction to the rapid urbanization. But KNVM could also be considered as a way to urbanize rural land. The main themes of this program were: built environment transformation, population changes, and resource management changes. There have been different plans associated with this program such as the Korean family plan of 1972-1981 and the Korean deforestation plan of 1973-1978. The final socio-ecological assessment of the program revealed that KNVM was a large-scale, top-down implementation that decreased diversity, increased complexity in urban and rural management, and was inconsistent on its temporal and spatial dimensions.
The final presentation of this session had title ‘In pursuit of urban resilience’ and was referring to resilience and inclusion in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The research objective was to examine how marginalized communities mobilize their own resources in order to be resilient by themselves. The research was focused on an informal settlement in the peri-urban zone of the Phnom Penh. For the inhabitants of this settlement education of their children in urban schools has been a big priority. Since their area has a very limited road network, they created a road with collected trash, the ‘trash road’, in order to improve their connectivity with the city area. This can be seen as a tactic of the inhabitants of the informal settlement to be included in the city.