Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience
Internationally-recognised leaders in developing resilient, research-informed approaches to hazard and risk
We are a world-leading research institute in hazard, risk and resilience based at Durham University. We support innovative research and training for use in policy and practice, collaborating directly with communities, Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and governments.
Our commitment is to work with and learn from the widest possible range of stakeholders living with hazard and risk – empowering people, fostering resilience, and improving lives, both now and in the future. Our success stems from our capacity to approach complex problems holistically, drawing together a transdisciplinary team of experts from across the physical sciences, the social sciences and the humanities.
IRLG sponsored event: Research and learning on urban resilience
(18 April 2016)
IRLG sponsored event: Research and learning on urban resilience
10:30 – 10:45
Introductions and welcome to the event
10:45 – 11:30
Aditya Bahadur and Tom Tanner, ODI
Review of resilience literature, what does it say about Urban resilience challenge and opportunities?
11:30 – 12:15
Hanna Ruszczyk, Durham University PhD research
“Understanding community resilience in rapidly urbanising contexts”.
12:15 – 12:45
Heather Fehr, BRC experience
Overview of urban resilience to disasters and learning from Nepal earthquake experience in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
12:45 - 13:15
Mark Pelling, Kings College London
Discussant reflections on the above
13:15 – 14:15
14:15 – 15:15
Other organisations’ experience of resilience in urban areas
15:15 – 15:30
15:30 – 16:45
Plenary Q&A and discussion based on four key questions:
16:45 – 17:00
Wrap up and next steps
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this event.
Seven actions for enhancing urban climate change resilience:
- Applying knowledge, information and data
o There is a lack of data in cities, so look data sources that could provide insight such as banking transactions, cellphone usage and social media
o Always consider what is needed vs what can be produced in using data o Challenges: cost implications – expensive to get all this data
- Urban planning (including land use planning)
o Plan for the city as a whole rather than individual assets
o Marry short term political wins with longer term planning
o Challenges: informality, weak governance, poor information, long planning cycles that should be flexible enough to accommodate emerging risks
- Engaging the private sector
o Private sector suffers most from disaster and urbanisation
o There is case to be made for private sector to lead on investment in resilience
o Engaging private sector on resilience: business continuity >> business opportunity >> business as stakeholder
o Challenges: poor regulatory environment, low knowledge and awareness, lack of business case
- Resilient systems and sectors (including basic infrastructure)
o Better service access = greater disaster resilience
o Structural changes: building in redundancy for future conditions; appropriate technologies
o Institutional changes: changing incentive structures to integrate resilience
o Challenges: political will, inequality, affordability, decentralisation
o Cities do not have the capacity to make big, long term changes
- Strengthening institutional capacity
o Train civil servants in understanding, vulnerability, risk and resilience
o Challenges: incentivising officials, churn, language (translating concepts into local languages)
- Driving resilient community development
o Complexity and uncertainty will always leave ’residual risk’ that must be accepted, so people and communities need to be empowered to deal with these risks
o Challenges: complexity, trade-offs (one person’s resilience is another person’s vulnerability), contextually tailored
- Catalysing finance
o Four levels where finance for resilience must be mobilised:
- Local – microfinance and local development funds
- City – private sector and city level funds
- Provincial and national – earmarked and non-earmarked
- International – multilateral, bilateral and philanthropic
o Challenges: CBAs, absorptive capacity, scaling microfinance, additionality
o Urban: urban residents have carved out islands of territorial governance as a localised area, a neighbourhood level, enabling them to be resilient
o Resilience: signifies getting by and recuperating one’s self, community or resources in the face of dominant social force
o Reworking: is enacted at the scale in which a problem is encountered and the effects may be more far reaching in time, space and consciousness building than resilience
o Research conducted in Bharatpur, Nepal – representative of “ordinary cities of the world”: out of 4bn living in cities, 1.7bn live in cities with under 300k population.
- Perception of everyday risk in an “ordinary city”: employment, education, health. Poorer people see economic as highest risk. For middle-class/well-off, they can consider future (such as education for children). For those who have worked abroad/relatives abroad, they have a different perception of what is a ‘city.’
- Factors for the everyday: migration and remittances as livelihood security; property status critical to urban security (renters who do not have access to services from government); learning comes from INGOS, global connections (family abroad), participation in women’s and neighbourhood groups; government allows different form of governance to take place.
- Islands of territorial governance: hierarchical way of governance, no collaboration between groups. Parallel governance mechanism: public sector provides very little for the people; Tole Level Organisations and women’s groups are essential to the urban and provide services that the government does not. Government provides services to a large degree to the higher caste groups first but it ‘trickles down’ to ethnic and minority groups too.
Lessons from the Nepal Earthquake Preparedness (EPS) Programme:
• 9 ‘characteristics of resilient communities’ from NRRC, principally used for rural context – are they relevant and appropriate for Nepal, which is mix of urban and rural?
• Creating new community structures (‘committees’) isn’t very useful – lots of other committees already exist, no clout, same people involved anyway in these different committees, lots of duplications
• Urban residents are hard to engage, but knew specific preparedness information (e.g., government mandated open spaces and how to get there)
• Community based plans are not very adaptable to urban contexts because of different systems working within the cities. For example: in urban area, everyone wanted to come to the streets and wanted to help but did not have training.
• Funds are hard to use if its provided into local communities because it’s such a small amount.
• Reflect on the meaning of community and connectedness. What is a ‘community’ in an urban context?
Reflections from earlier discussions:
• Urban is about understanding governance.
• Tension in the connection between DRR, resilience and development
• How should we approach resilience if our main goal is well being and liberating the poor?
• Are logframes and M&E frameworks the best way to organise and evaluate programmes? Or should we be thinking more long term/alternative futures?
• Thinking of urban context, is there a sweet spot that NGOs should look into if they are to move into development and governance?
• Relationships between networked community actors and governance: should NGOs consider working at this level, working with community actors in a more participatory way rather than superstructural approach that is beyond the reach of NGOs? How should we consider moving from community-based to network-based/building networks?
• The poorest are differentiated more on social capital than economic capital; so consider working with social networks and social capital.
• Messiness of institutions in urban context: like a ‘bricolage’ of formal and informal institutions.
• Moving from stakeholders to stakeholdings – we need to critically reflect who we think of as important in the cities.
• Fragile cities (fragile communities, tensed places; do we work through proxies and local actors?), emergent cities (being formed by big private sector investments), entrenched cities and missing cities (invisibility because of administrative structures)
- Achievements so far vs best practice
o CA + partners working in one of the most violent communities in the world in San Pedro Sula in Honduras.
o Used PPA funding to widen resilience work through conducting first PVCAs in gang communities in SPS.
o Engagement with gang members which allowed access into otherwise inaccessible communities.
o Dialogue facilitated between some of the community and parts of government – outcomes tbc.
- Challenges and lessons learned
o Limitations of traditional tools, which often focus on lowest common denominator within established ‘communities.’
o Difficulties in getting to the root of what undermines or constrains resilience in these communities.
o Consider difference between participation vs representation.
o Floods and waste management – what next for violence and conflict?
- Future plans/questions to explore
o Wider engagement in gang communities and PVCAs in non-pilot communities in San Pedro Sula
o How are other organisations trying to understand risks in violent urban contexts?
o Should we challenge existing negative power dynamics, or operate alongside them to gain access? How does this work with Do No Harm principl?
• Can markets be used to help rehabilitation as well as in pre-crisis?
• Methodologies: analysis of informal markets; Participatory Market Mapping Workshop - at the core of market-based approach; Pre-Crisis Market Analysts tool; price analysis in context of a disaster/emergency (e.g., El Nino).
• Lessons from Piura: land in Piura was most vulnerable in the city; informal housing market could be a good entry point; Corruption and mafia embedded witihin these markets.
• Market intervention difficult as long as the structural issues are rooted. Efficient market interventions are about targeting what can be changed.
• In terms of post-crisis, should you rely on local production and maintain international supply chain?
• Focus for the future:
o How to act on the enabling environment to be able to use the market forces to increase resilience? [Dialogue between government and communities]
o Centralised and shared knowledge about risk and vulnerability in the area? [Vulnerability and awareness raising]
o Improve the design of housing and access to more resistant construction materials [capacity building and market facilitation