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  • Open access
  • 22 Reads
MOVING INTO PERI-URBAN MOSAICS. Building resilient relationships along the margins: the Green System Plan of Ravenna for a new liveability

The ongoing process of urbanization and its expression in intensive land exploitation, fragmentation of natural areas and cycles gave shape to our cities. A renewed centrality of the soil guaranteeing essential functions and services for the local communities’ welfare is necessary, particularly in zones of friction and marginality such as urban voids and peri-urban fringes. Bearing in mind the definition of a mosaic where the settlement, the agricultural and the environmental systems interact and coexist together (Kipar, 1994), a formal and functional reconstruction of peri-urban fringes is crucial: they could give back a sense and the identity to the undefined spaces produced by a controversial planning tradition, due to their potential of conversion and transformation. The paper deals with a clarified reciprocity between built environment and open territory, outlining project actions measured to the current challenge – such as climate changes –, setting infrastructural intervention and new energy sources. Focusing on the case study of the Green System Plan of Ravenna (Italy), the attention is given to model planning policies towards design actions able to create physical and ecological connections between the city and the territory. Therefore, the peri-urban fringes become places of experimentation, guaranteeing the interaction between different functional layers and improving the urban resilience: the result is coexistence of the anthropic development with the preservation and implementation of environmental ecosystems, in a systemic and programmatic vision, throughout landscape ecology design approach for a resilient and ecological city. Within this system, the infrastructures would have a renewed role in building miscellaneous geographies between urban and rural areas and on landscapes vulnerability: the defined resilient factors and spaces could be innervated along the main corridors, grafting onto the obsolete and dismissed urban spaces, in an osmotic process and a wider vision of urban metabolism recovering the elements of the city.

  • Open access
  • 19 Reads
Rusty dinosaurs or phoenix from the ashes? Investigating the role of urban utility companies for the resilience of socio-technical energy systems in transition.

In Europe, socio-technical energy systems in urban areas undergo fundamental changes. First, liberalization changed the pre-existing, stabilized governance structure; second, decarbonization goals and the increasing share of renewables in energy production changed the technological structure and led to decentralization; third, digitalization, recently opens up entirely new technical and managerial opportunities to design decentralized, renewable and diversified urban energy systems. While these fundamental transition processes are providing phaszinating social and technical innovations and new opportunities, the energy system still is a critical infrastructure which needs to remain functional and resilient to provide crucial public services - while undergoing change.

For the social and technical resilience of urban energy systems in federalist states, the so called urban utility companies play a crucial role. These public firms, which are owned by the city, provide the urban system with all public services (energy, water, mobility, waste management) and manage all the critical infrastructures (grids, production sites).

In our contribution, we first present a theoretical concept, to operationalize and analyze resilience of socio-technical systems in transitions. The concept builds on two core attributes of resilience: diversity and connectivity, for which we propose an indicator set encompassing three fundamental diversity properties—variety, balance and disparity—and three basic connectivity properties —average path length, degree centrality and modularity. Subsequently, we apply this concept to the case of urban energy systems and question, which role the urban utility companies play for its social and technical resilience. Thereby, we build not only on our theoretical considerations but also on empirical evidence from large cities in Switzerland and Germany (Geneva, Zürich, Basel, Munich, Cologne and Hannover). In so doing we provide rich insights on urban energy system resilience and self-governance in urban infrastructure management, which can be applied to planning practices and policy making.

  • Open access
  • 65 Reads
Nature-based solutions and resilience as complementary strategies for urban governance and planning: A review of assessment methodologies

Climate change is threatening cities all around the world and local governments are challenged to address climate extreme events that have a severe impact in human safety and well-being. Urban resilience and nature-based solutions are approaches based in ecological principles that are being introduced in urban climate governance and planning. The first one focuses on the ability of urban systems to recover, change, adapt and transform in response to stresses and strains, while the second one tries to increase the capacity of the urban system to provide ecosystem services related with climate change mitigation and adaptation. How do these two approaches address climate change? What connections and differences can be found? The aim of this paper is to answer these questions through a systematic review and meta-analysis of the scientific literature about methodologies to assess resilience to climate change and ecosystem services that contribute to mitigation and adaptation in urban areas. Our preliminary findings are: i) climate resilience mainly focuses on the capacity of the system to recover from climate related disasters while nature-based solutions include a broader spectrum of climate change impacts; ii) resilience assessments usually include infrastructure and social indicators but only a few introduce ecological aspects and; iii) mitigation and adaptation ecosystem services assessments rarely take into account social variables. We conclude that urban resilience and nature-based solutions offer complementary approaches to urban governance and planning and that governments can learn from both of them to reframe climate urban resilience strategies that better integrate the technological, ecological and social components of climate adaptation and mitigation.

  • Open access
  • 48 Reads
A theoretical framework for building the risk-resilience of basic infrastructures and services using Open Data

In recent years, cities have been confronted with increasing risks induced by climate change and natural hazards impacts. The experience gained highlights how cascading failures of critical infrastructures and basic services can affect both inherent and adaptive capacities of cities in time of an adverse event and create post disaster conflicts. At the same time, international policy circles have acknowledged the need to have sufficiently consistent and comparable disaster-related data to allow meaningful measurement of progress and impact. Therefore, to serve this need, understanding the link between resilience qualities of critical infrastructures and Open Data can lead to increase the level of disaster resilience, preparedness and response. It can also influence future-oriented urban and infrastructural planning at the local level. This paper offers a theoretical framework for building resilience in basic infrastructures and services across disaster preparedness and response concerning the contribution of Open Data for climate and natural hazard risk management in Tehran, Iran.

  • Open access
  • 29 Reads
Applying the adaptation pathway approach to increase resilience to flooding: experiences and outlook from the city of Bilbao

Flooding is a well-known impact, which cause nowadays several problems ranging from economic loses to productivity reduction and deaths. Moreover, IPCC´s (2014) projections foresee coastal flooding as one of the main global impacts. Having this context, specific governance models are required to adapt and enhance resilience of the affected territory.

In this regard, adaptation pathway emerges as an innovative and flexible approach which foster an iterative and adaptive governance and address the climate uncertainty challenge. This approach has been addressed in different case studies previously, which represent different contexts: heat, flood and water supply pathways in London; heat adaptation pathway in Antwerp; or flood adaptation pathways in Thames Estuary, Rhine-Meuse delta, Lake IJssel and New York. Looking to these studies it can be concluded that the adaptation pathway is a good approach to be applied at city or sector level and for analyzing different impacts. But, the same studies also detected the needs for further research: in the assumptions made for the acceptable threshold detection (which served for the adaptation objectives definition); or the estimation of the effectiveness and co-benefits as well as implementation conditions and timeline of the measures which enhance the resilience.

The present work investigates the adaptation pathway potential within 3 main objectives: i) explore how the methodology can be simplified (balancing qualitative versus quantitative information); ii) explore the way of sequencing of the adaptation measures into the pathway (additional criteria like life-time, implementation time, costs, etc.); iii) explore the visualization on the pathway. To go through the identified objectives the pathway approach is applied in the city of Bilbao for the flood effect on transport system. As results a selection of the best alternative options for climate flooding risk management are presented and the lessons learned and challenges of this approach for further development are described.

  • Open access
  • 36 Reads

Social vulnerability and coastal hazards: Acknowledging floating population needs in Barcelona, Spain

Increasing occurrences of flash flooding poses significant social and economic threats to Barcelona. Approximately 65% of the population reside along the coast. Many rely on beach assets to attract 35 million annual visitors that buttress the city’s 7.1 billion EUR tourist sector. Both residents and tourists are vulnerable to late-summer and early-autumnal flash floods of intense rainfall events that that exceed the capacity of urban drainage systems designed for 55% less loading. Government efforts do not account for non-resident population needs by focusing primarily on residents’ safety following floods. Regular flash floods in Barcelona indicates an urgent need to develop a water sensitive strategy that comprehensively accounts for point source pollution in this vulnerable coastal region, as well as for its socioeconomic profile. While Social Vulnerability Indices have been developed for climate change-related disasters over the past fifteen years, these indices are designed for use at a national scale and overlook the needs of seasonal residents (e.g. short-term residents and tourists) in social profiling. This research broadens the scope of social vulnerability indices to factor in temporary resident needs in disaster planning at a regional scale. The social vulnerability index can help government planners include floating population groups in post-disaster management efforts.

  • Open access
  • 25 Reads
Human behavior response to disaster-caused environmental changes: A case of fishermen community, San José de Chamanga, affected by the 2016 Ecuador earthquake

The resilience is the ability to respond against damages. It can be attributed to the individual or collective ‘substance’, to the ‘process’ that the ability is displayed or to the reactive ‘force’ as its expression. This paper focuses on the third aspect, the resilience as a ‘force’. When the man-made urban fabric of the settlement is experienced drastic environmental changes or damaged by a fatal disaster, the affected community responds with its force of resilience. It is the moment that “the ability of people to shape their own environment” [1] is highly exercised.

The target area is a fishermen community, San José de Chamanga, in Ecuador affected by the 2016 Ecuador earthquake. The purpose of this paper is to reveal the force of resilience displayed --- how people have been reshaping their own environment after the disaster and the people’s behavior responding the process of government-led reconstruction. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to 74 people for two months in total. The major findings are:

1) People’s access to waterfront land where they had used before the earthquake was endangered because of the damages by the earthquake and consecutively the relocation policy has kept people off.

2) People have maintained their access to waterfront and fishing habit using their former houses or survived friend’s houses as a workplace and a storage even if they had moved to relocated houses in inland districts.

It is concluded that the natural reactive behavior of people and the direction of post-disaster reconstruction policy were incoherent. On the basis of these findings, an alternative reconstruction strategy that takes into consideration the force of resilience displayed by affected people is proposed.

[1] Illich, Ivan(1973, 2009) Tools for Conviviality. Marion Boyars. London.

  • Open access
  • 17 Reads
Analyzing transit-based heat exposure and behaviors to enhance urban climate adaptation and mitigation strategies in the southwest USA

Public transportation systems represent an intersecting point between urban climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. Increasing the use of public transit systems can help cities meet a wide range of sustainability and health goals including reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Simultaneously, public transit use typically necessitates exposure to outdoor weather. In extreme climates, uncomfortable or dangerous weather conditions may suppress public transportation system without sufficient infrastructure to moderate exposure.

This paper will present results from a suite of ongoing research projects in the hot desert city of Phoenix, Arizona, that aim to understand and improve public transit riders’ experiences and resilience to heat. Researchers have been using a wide range of methodologies to assess environments, conditions, and the behaviors and perceptions of public transit riders, including observations, surveys, ridership data, in situ and transect-based micro meteorological measurements, and handheld and satellite-based thermal imagery. Results support the importance of shade provision for public transportation use in the summer, including the availability of nearby shade at bus stops from surrounding trees and buildings. Survey and observational data revealed key behaviors and perceptions that should influence transit stop design strategies: stops with more design and natural features are perceived as more thermally comfortable by public transit users; riders identified infrastructure elements and coping behaviors that make them feel cooler. Findings also showed that current infrastructure standards and material choices for bus stops can increase the air temperature at the stop, and, thus, contribute to heat stress accumulation.

As the City of Phoenix intends to make large investments in public transportation infrastructure in the coming decades, continued attention to the experiences and preferences of transit riders—especially during the summer months—will improve the likelihood that the region can meet or exceed its public transportation and sustainability goals.

  • Open access
  • 20 Reads
Community-led practices for triggering long term processes and sustainable resilience strategies. The case of the eastern Irpinia, inner periphery of southern Italy.

The Council of Europe's Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society, originating from war and anthropogenic violations of cultural heritage, marks a milestone in the transition process towards a social approach to cultural heritage. With the notion of "heritage community", attention shifts from the cultural heritage in itself, towards people, their relationship with the surrounding environment and their active participation in the process of recognizing the values held in it and their transmission to future generations. The value of the cultural heritage and its transmission for "making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable" and for Disaster Risk Reduction is an integral part of Agenda 2030 of the United Nations.

In the European inner peripheries, cultural heritage has peculiarities that distinguish it from core areas. It is affected by extreme global (climate crisis, scarcity of resources, migration, weakening of social capital, etc.) and local risks (depopulation, uncontrolled exploitation of the territory, erosion of cultural capital and identity of places, degradation of the landscape, etc.). This contribution describes a case study in an inner periphery of southern Italy. Here, in the course of few years many community-led practices have been developed, based on the reinterpretation and renewal of the local material culture (workshop related to local craft traditions, international artistic festival based on the reinterpretation of rituals and traditions, tourist events of rediscovering ancient routes, etc.). These actions have reinforced the networking of local actors, triggering some long term processes. In this scenario, a group of researchers, designers, scholars proposes to carry out Resilience Laboratories as places of learning, participation and decision. They must start the process of building a resilient and sustainable landscape and, in the medium to long term, act as permanent support to the traditional tools of planning and management of the territory.

  • Open access
  • 36 Reads
Advancing the evidence base for sustainable city-region food systems

The growing appetite of cities is one of the greatest future challenges. There is no set menu for meeting this appetite, but a trend is observed in which city authorities focus on region-based food provision. Regionalism is motivated by the importance of increased self-reliance. Besides, regional food systems, are associated with more sustainable production and reduced carbon footprints, the reconnection of consumers with production, and the increased uptake of whole foods in urban diets. However, the question remains to what extend region based food systems may become self-reliant? How may they contribute to improved sustainability and healthy lifestyles? With the Dutch city of Almere as a case in point this paper provides a food flow data-based analysis of the opportunities and limitations of regional based food system approaches. The paper sets-off with defining the concepts of sustainable self-reliance and regionalism. Next, it describes the methodology of measuring and mapping the actual food flows. We combined secondary, publicly available, with primary quantitative and qualitative datasets, involving regional businesses, urban policymakers, and residents. Our study uncovers the coinciding disconnect and interconnectedness of local, regional and global food systems. The regional scale offers opportunities for tackling many food related challenges, however, sustainable urban food security demands connections beyond the regional sphere and beyond the food domain.

Our research provides an evidence base for policymakers striving to shape a sustainable city-region food system. Although food production and food retail are not in the hands of local and regional policy-makers, their decisions on issues such as logistics, business licensing, and subsidies directly impact urban food provision. To assess the effects of the policy options available at the local and regional level, a solid evidence base is essential. This paper advances the development of evidence-based methodologies to monitor and inform food system policies.