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  • Open access
  • 57 Reads
Don’t Blame it on the Sunshine! An Exploration of the Spatial Distribution of Heat Injustice Across Two Antwerp City Districts

Many global cities experience temperature differences on a micro-scale across urban areas due to Urban Heat Islands, revealing deeper climate injustice as many socially and economically marginalized communities are more likely to live in warmer neighborhoods. These areas often have less access to cooling features, like green spaces, which improve climatic conditions. Many local governments lag behind in recognizing the unequal vulnerability of certain populations or taking steps to mitigate injustices related to green space planning. We created and tested a Heat Injustice Scale model to explore how different areas of the city face spatial disparities in heat vulnerability and heat resilience as a result of green space planning. Drawing on critical urban theory and environmental justice, we seek to uncover the processes of neoliberalism and social exclusion that drive spatial heat injustices, and explore how resident perceptions of right to the city and climate resilience align with the reality of climate change. The Scale incorporates GIS data, ground-truthing surveys, and stakeholder perception-based mapping, a novel approach to measure climate resilience and mechanisms of heat injustice. Findings from a preliminary study within two districts of Antwerp, Belgium indicate an unequal distribution of cooling features according to size, proximity, and quality; but moreover, revealed the reality that local residents in all districts – particularly those with lower social capital -- are systematically disadvantaged by and dissatisfied with municipal green space planning. Through future research, we hope to provide an interactive, participatory platform for residents and city planners that will illustrate areas of heat vulnerability and resilience in the city utilizing the Heat Injustice Scale, and incorporate resident narratives on accessibility to cooling features to highlight heat-related planning issues. This research contributes to both the “Climate Resilient Governance and Planning” and “Urban Design and Management: Infrastructures and Services.”

  • Open access
  • 22 Reads
Dutch resiliency in the coastal Delta, by alert people (post PhD questionnaire research among Zaandam citizens)

The Wester coastal Delta zone of the Netherlands is the relatively more crowded area of the country where ten of the seventeen million people live. The governmental prognosis is that this number of people will increase to thirteen million three-times more. This is the picture in more Delta zones globally. In the light of climate-change this asks for a growing alertness on the topic of resiliency for this and comparable areas. Approaches of resiliency are often dominated by governmental rescue planning and believe in technology solutions. By comparing the float disasters of the 20015 Katrina and 2012 Sandy thunderstorms that hit respectively New Orleans and New York we can learn that the behaviour of people can make the difference in overcoming climate change impact disasters. Post-PhD research with focus on the Dutch Zaanstreek-Waterland area near the city of Amsterdam where in 1916 a severe flood happened proved such. The outcome from focus group sessions was that the alertness and availability to act of the people makes the positive difference, if the memory of the area inhabitants is kept alert. The result is that the definition of resiliency could be improved into: the interplay in a triangular relationship of civil servants, technicians and residents. This Zaanstreek-Waterland research showed that the disaster from 100 year before still kept the inhabitants alert into resiliency. Therewith the question arose: ‘how alert are the people of other Dutch Delta areas without such stored memory’. To prevent difference between theory and practice advanced questionnaire research among Zaandam citizens will be done, special for the IFoU 2018 conference. The results will be presented in Barcelona. An Old Dutch saying is ‘God created the world, but the Dutch created the Netherlands’. The question is can the Dutch people continue this message in the future too.

  • Open access
  • 27 Reads
Facing 19th september earthquake in Morelos, Mexico. Eventually effects and organization on the epicenter

Urban expansion of cities has created a pressure on the territory, particularly in underdeveloped regions; agglomerating more population characterized by unequal and polarized social consolidation. Therefore, the social vulnerability of cities increases their degree of exposure to an event of natural origin, so they have to adjust in order to withstand or confront the negative impacts. In this sense, Mexico registers a seismic activity in three quarters of its territory; for example, on September 19, 7.1 degrees were presented on the Richter scale, where Morelos, Mexico, was one of the most affected States. This paper proposes to study the conditions of vulnerability of its population, prior to the earthquake, which allow to describe the affectation patterns and the self-management capacity that were used; Through the systematization of the process of organization and distribution of the University Collection Center (UCC). The information shows a social and economic vulnerability in the sites most affected by the earthquake, as well as a disarticulation of local forms of social reproduction. The resilience for cases like the one presented in Morelos, Mexico, implies the revision of the multidimensional vulnerability of the localities, but also the generation of a pre-and post-earthquake care strategy.

  • Open access
  • 8 Reads
Considering Inter-organizational breaks when implementing resilience

In most recent cases of cross-border disasters, inter-organizational coordination and cooperation emerged as a burning stake. According to Pendall et al. (2012), the resilience of a region depends on the governance of responsibilities of communities and networks. Empirical evidence reveals that mutual and coordinated actions within and between communities can make a difference in the outcome of a disaster. However, coordination between various organizations, anchored in multiple professional, culture and political settings can generate crisis within disaster response. While research has emphasized uncertainty and complexity as inherent features of coordination, the variables that account for collective action collapse remain largely unknown. Our contribution aims at proposing the concept of inter-organizational break as a relevant lens to address this lack. Inter-organizational breaks (IoB) correspond to social disruptions that result in conflicts amplifications (Ansell, Boin, Keller,2010) and an erosion of social links between organizational responders (Moynihan, 2009).

In cross-border disasters, tensions that generate IoB stem from three potential sources: i) professional diversity among responders, ii) diverging expertise and iii) cultural diversity.

Cultural diversity, especially, represents a burning issue in that it can catalyze collective action collapse. Cultural diversity embodies into diverging legal frames, divergent crisis policies and contradictory agendas between the two sides of a frontier (Ansell, Boin, Keller;2010). In addition, cultural diversity can account for frequent misunderstandings (Dayton et al,2004).

Highlighting IoB allows tackling major practical issues that have remained unaddressed so far, such as:

  • Governance fragmentation (lack of organizational and collective empowerment or on the contrary emergence of several local leaderships to handle the disaster)
  • Communication breakdown (rumors, information retention, delay, overloaded information, information unreliability)

We propose i) to detail the insights from reliance on this concept, ii) the practical implications of IoB on the future of crisis response in borderland, iii) a research agenda on IoB and resilience in cross-border regions.

  • Open access
  • 6 Reads
Impact of culture on urban resilience: Exercising inter-organizational collaboration through scenarios

The objective of the paper is to characterize the cultural dimension of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) efforts in a context of building urban resilience, and to identify a set of key objectives, activities and competencies in the planning phases involving many organizations.

Resilience, defined as the capacity to recover from severe adversity, benefits from pre-existing system-based resources and their mobilization. This mobilization requires inter-organizational coordination and collaboration across activities and timeline. Learning to exercise such mobilization of resources involves identifying sectors, actors, roles, expertise, assets, vulnerabilities, and timeline of actions. What types of communication and of competencies can optimize efficacy? First, a framework providing a heuristics for planning and actions allows to set the key principles. Then, a scenario-based study enables enactment of the communication and decision-making at various stages. Observations of the simulation provide both empirical evidence on the processes at play, as well as training opportunities to improve efficacy.

To examine the dimension of the culture of DRR planning, a polycentric network-based model of the disasters is firstly defined. Polycentric networks are composed of a multiplicity of independent decision-making centers sharing at times common goals and resources but also having individual distinctive goals and proper resources with an overarching system of institutional and of cultural rules. The network is dynamic with nodes entering and leaving the network following rules and circumstances.

The dimension of the culture of the network and critical decision-centers will be described by considering shared (or not) meanings, beliefs, assumptions, understandings, norms, values, and knowledge. Learning from the data gathered across team pods and tasks, a set of objectives, activities and competencies will be identified considering the different tasks associated with urban resilience and different dimension of culture; and a reflection of how to integrate such lessons in urban resilience implementation will conclude the article.

  • Open access
  • 60 Reads
Measuring the physical profile and use of Park Connector Network in Singapore using deep learning and big data analytics.

Park Connector Network (PCN) is a system of greenways strategically planned to link parks and open spaces across the entire Singapore (Tan 2006). It functions both as nature corridors that effectively strengthen biodiversity and ecological resilience, and open spaces for people’s everyday life that help to enhance community resilience and social sustainability. However, literature on Park Connector Network largely centred on its ecological performance. Little is known about people’s daily use of the greenways, and how their activities are related to the physical environment.

This research aims to bridge this knowledge gap using cutting-edge deep learning technologies and big data analytics. First, a three-stage location-tagged video survey with GoPro Hero 5 and Canon 5D was conducted to capture people’ use of the PCN throughout the entire network. Their presence was plotted and geo-registered using object detection with a Mask R-CNN model (He et al. 2018). And the specific physical, social and recreational activities were identified and inferred using spatio-temporal action localization with models trained on AVA datasets (Gu et al 2018). Second, the physical environment of PCN was assessed at a fine-grained scale using semantic segmentation with a PSPNet model (Zhao et al 2017), which can detect and quantify up to 150 different objects such as sky, trees, buildings, chairs, lampposts, etc., based on a large number of panoramic images of the greenways captured with NCTech iSTAR Camera. A huge database was then constructed that enables in-depth examination of the correlations between environmental qualities and human activities, and identification of the most salient environment features on PCN usage.

These innovative methods for measuring, analysing and evaluating environment-behaviour relations potentially can help to inform decision making in the planning and design of future PCN and other green spaces in Singapore to further enhance its ecological and social resilience.

  • Open access
  • 63 Reads
The role of networks in insuring health shocks. The case of poor urban communities in Accra

Health risks are increasingly threatening the welfare of households in urban areas and the economic effects of sickness carry consequences on the resilience capacities. The empirical evidence in household ability to smooth consumption is mixed, while the general policy trend has been towards promoting publically funded health insurance to provide financial protection. However, the demand for health insurance is surprisingly low, and the scholarship has not been able to solve the puzzle of scant demand despite the benefits offered.

A promising strategy for understanding the factors that influence the uptake of health insurance is accounting for network effects, given that the social connections have a powerful impact over decisions and they usually offer the only means of protection over shocks.

The understanding of the way in which customary risk pooling arrangements contribute to the formalization of insurance can only be addressed by using a holistic approach, since insurability of consumption may be driven by different responses to different shocks. The aim of this work is to detect the influence of social networks in individual choices regarding risk preferences. The study site is the Accra Metropolitan Area, and as many other urban areas in the global south, is experiencing a rapid urbanization dynamic, increasing health risks, increasing urban poverty, and changing food systems occurring along with demographic and epidemiological transitions.

Data obtained from the Socioeconomic Panel Survey and household level interviews will be used to recover the parameters of a general network formation model. To identify boundaries and efficiency levels of the risk reduction strategies in place, a Pareto risk efficient allocation model at community and household level will be used. Moreover, to estimate how the probability of adopting certain risk reduction strategies is affected by the social networks, a series of probit models for each strategy will be employed.

  • Open access
  • 11 Reads
Resilient Affordable Housing Strategies: A methodological approach to analyzing the impacts of Barcelona’s inclusionary housing policy on affordability in gentrifying neighborhoods

Housing unaffordability, gentrification and related residential displacement and exclusion are well-documented stresses that limit the resilience of a given urban place. The Barcelona City Council is dedicated to alleviating these stresses through a comprehensive strategy comprised of a variety of policy initiatives addressing housing affordability. As part of this broader strategy, the City Council has proposed a citywide inclusionary housing measure requiring 30 percent of all newly developed or significantly rehabilitated housing units to be dedicated as protected public housing. This paper fits within a larger research effort seeking to better understand the proposed initiative’s impacts related to its purported goal of public housing production as well as broader implications on the housing market. To do so, this paper provides a methodological framework for assessing these policy implications using neighborhood-specific economic feasibility modeling. Through the examination of inclusionary policies in comparable cities in the U.S. and Western Europe, this paper will form a basis from which to critique the proposed policy due to its inflexibility and lack of neighborhood-specific adaptability while maintaining that a well-designed inclusionary policy can generate significant public benefits to the City of Barcelona.

  • Open access
  • 34 Reads
The governance of Blue Green Infrastructure Funding: A case study comparison from the UK and the Netherlands

It is well understood that BGI can deliver benefit beyond water management to wider societal matters such as social, aesthetic, health and biodiversity. Funding such boundary spanning projects is complex and pathways vary between projects. Little is known about the governance of such siloed funding processes and connections between potential stakeholders are not always made. In particular, involvement of health agencies is lacking despite strong evidence of health benefits of blue and green space.

This paper describes work in progress comparing two case studies from the UK (Bradford) and the Netherlands (Dordrecht). The research will consider funding governance in three key areas:

  1. The type of funding, whether co-financed, own funds, an ad hoc subsidy or a structured programme and key players and drivers of financing
  2. How cross sectoral collaborations are facilitated, how they operate, who is involved and how conflicting agency interests are managed
  3. Whether there are any health agencies involved and how greater involvement of health agencies could be incorporated

The Bradford Projects involved developing a currently under used area of open space alongside expansion of an existing highway which runs beside Bradford Beck. The project intends to develop the adjacent greenspace, de-culverting the beck and enhancing biodiversity. In Dordrecht the case study is in Vogelbuurt. This deprived neighbourhood faces both flood risks and social problems. The municipality of Dordrecht aims to combine sewage management with redeveloping the sport facilities.

The evidence generated from this study will help to develop the theory and practice of BGI funding governance. By deepening understanding of governance of funding siloes and investigating the potential role of health agencies in BGI, this study will enable practitioners and policy makers to gain insight into the funding process, thereby helping to bridge the gap between theory and implementation of BGI.

  • Open access
  • 20 Reads
Urban form Resilience Urban Design Practice: Masterplanning for Change

The idea of cities as complex systems in constant adaptive change is finally engaging urban thinking. However, we are still far from having this idea guide practice. UN-Habitat recognised this challenge in the “New Urban Agenda”, establishing the link between configuration of places and their performance in terms of prosperity, inclusiveness and equality, and environmental sustainability. However, we lag behind in understanding how urban places work from a resilience perspective, and urban planning and design are not ready to give directions for successful place-making, and design beautiful places that work for people, the environment and the economy.

The need for ideas to repair the hiatus generated in the past generation of planning ideology is growing: something practical and yet advanced enough to embrace this unique challenge. In this work we propose that designing urban places that work for all should be pursued under the new framework of spatial resilience, interpreted as a preliminary condition to sustainability, where urban form is understood as a complex adaptive system per se.

On these basis, we re-frame place-making under the new light of resilience and introduce an innovative approach to place-making here defined as “masterplanning for change” which, learning from the very same rules that drove the development of adaptive and successful places in history to date, calls for an urban design practice that designs places much less and much better, with implications for policy-making. Far from an ideological manifesto, our approach is: 1) evidenced based: having learned to identify the recurrent successes of resilience from the observation of cities in history up to our days, it uses them to design the city of the future. 2) practical: it advocates a reformed process of place-making, and provides the tools to deliver it, making it an essential reference for designers and policy-makers.