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  • Open access
  • 7 Reads
Measuring Informal Urban Settlements´ Pathway to Resilience Building

More than half of the world´s population (54%) lives in urban areas, due to internal migrations and climate change among other factors. This figure will continue to rise and worsen urban resilience conditions, taking into account that most people migrate into informal urban settlements that increase their vulnerability. Resilience must be based on a profound analysis of who resilience is being built for, resilience to what and through what. Programming for resilience building, decision making or advocacy must be context-specific and evidence based to produce real sustainability through time. The Analysis of the Resilience of Communities to Disasters (ARC-D) Toolkit is a user-friendly tool used in more than 11 countries to measure resilience through in-depth interviews and participative focal group discussions with key community members. The discussion is carried out around 30 key components of resilient communities, grouped in 8 system sectors: economic, environment, political/governance, health, infrastructure, social/cultural, disaster risk management and education. Each component is appraised and assigned a score between five levels of resilience, one being the lowest and depicting minimum resilience and 5, the highest describing maximum resilience. The summative score of all 30 components provides an overall figure of a community´s resilience to a specific risk scenario. GOAL Honduras has been applying the ARC-D toolkit in informal urban settlements in Tegucigalpa since 2015. This research has shown that the smallest administrative levels facilitate the most consensus in terms of resilience measurement and that resilience strategies must be specific for each community. It has also proven that to achieve the maximum level of resilience in informal urban settlements, a systems thinking and social behavior change approach is necessary to guarantee that community members and key systems actors understand root causes, potential barriers and build strong linkages with local authorities to contribute to build resilient cities.

  • Open access
  • 18 Reads
Disaster Resilient Residential Planning through the Integration of Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response to the Economic and Socialized Housing Project Standards in the Philippines

The rapid rate of urbanization is concentrated in megacities worldwide. The increase of urban population consequently requires an increasing demand in basic human needs, such as food security, adequate shelter, and the attainment of good quality of life. In addition, megacities face the challenge to provide infrastructure development, including socialized housing that integrates the concepts of sustainability and resilience into the built environment.

The resilience concept in the built environment in relation to the disaster risk management cycle highlights the importance of adaptability and resilience as integral components of planning and design of buildings. By examining the fundamental components of the International Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response vis-a-vis the fundamental components of the Socialized and Economic Housing Project Standards in the Philippines, and by looking at components of the two standards, this paper aims to synthesize essential components that are complementary to the disaster risk management cycle. Furthermore, this paper aims to integrate components of urban resilience as recommendation in creating sustainable and disaster resilient housing standards for the future.

To make future housing projects adaptive to future needs in times of disasters, incorporation of necessary standards in humanitarian charter and disaster response would lead to a better development of communities worldwide. Making future socialized housing projects that incorporates adaptability and social inclusivity will not only address urban development problems but will also contribute to the transformation of sustainable and resilient communities. Designing spaces that are flexible and adaptive, while integrating a socially-inclusive design process will enable physical development professionals achieve social sustainability and strengthen disaster resiliency. Putting resilience components and the core principles of recovery, rapidity, robustness, and resourcefulness into future built infrastructure would enable a better integration of resilience theories into practice and real-life application.

  • Open access
  • 19 Reads
Creative partnerships for emergency solar charging stations

Creative partnerships that meld solar energy with place making and design thinking are yielding adaptive solutions for resilient cities. How can we train and empower youth to become active participants in a broad network of climate change innovators? Learn how design and engineering students have worked together on collaborative campus solar charging station projects with environmental sensors at the University of California Davis, Stanford University, and the University of Texas at Austin. The presenter will share lessons from her work using renewable energy education in university and community settings over the last ten years. Her collaborative campus solar charging station projects offered students and community members the opportunity to gather in the shade while recharging their laptops, phones and electric bicycles via standard electrical outlets. The stations have 2-4 solar panels (500-1000 watts) and a 1000-watt inverter, they provided a WiFi workstation for four people and solar laboratory for students during the day. Batteries extend the charging capacity on cloudy days and into the night with vibrant LED lighting, and data loggers track station use. Student researchers have assessed the impacts of multiple solar charging stations, including intensity of station and shared vehicle use, travel patterns, and modes and trip types being replaced with two-wheeled electric mobility. This integrative project represents innovations in mobility, charging station design, and solar energy. Learn how you can incorporate solar design curriculum and skills to foster public awareness of renewable energy through hands on learning for a variety of audiences and outcomes. We will examine how the design process enacts a community mindset – a combination of problem solving and creative thinking that engages participants from different disciplines.

  • Open access
  • 8 Reads
Proposed scenarios for the use of Social Resilience Digital Tools in the assessment of refugees’ integration process in the Greek cities

Since 2015, the influx of refugees in the Greek cities has resulted in social instability, exacerbating an already tenuous situation accrued by the economic crisis, as denoted by Sakellis et al (2016). In the light of the Smart City narrative and the use of digital tools in everyday urban practices, Greek cities have done very little to incorporate digital technologies and fortify their social resilience.

This study explores the potential use of co-creation digital platforms in the social-led regeneration process of urban open spaces in Greek cities under refugee shocks. The literature review includes the terms of Resilience and its typologies, Urban Informatics, Urban Big Data and Digital Tools. Furthermore, the research hypothesis refers to the extent of the use of new digital technologies contributes to the capacity building related to timely self-organization, sustainability and social resilience. In this context, the use of emerging technologies could enable Communities of Practice, as denoted by Afzalan et al. (2017), to become the administrators of digital platforms, to identify Communities of Concern, as defined by UNHCR (2018), to bring them together and advance their capacity. Therefore, in the current proposed scenarios, local communities could incorporate digital tools to facilitate Focus Group Discussions, identify problems and propose solutions, as well as implement ideas that promote the productive use of urban open spaces in economic and social aspects, such as pop-up stores for refugees’ products, open markets, collective kitchens and cultural events.

In the end, the described scenarios include both locals and refugees as stakeholders in decision-making processes and open a dialogue on how the use of digital tools could sustain the cultural co-habitation in urban open spaces, feeding the discussion about the empowerment of an increasingly diverse social capital in the “arrival” cities of Greece.

  • Open access
  • 39 Reads
Building bridges between theory and practice: A normative analysis of resilience

There is an increasing number of academic work produced on the salient term ‘resilience’ that seems to be replacing the term ‘sustainability’. The complexity of the term’s further conceptualisation goes along with that of its actual realisation. It is essential that tools, which are being developed for the quick and efficient responsiveness of cities towards for example crises, disasters and terrorism, come under scrutiny.

Therefore, the paper will focus on the following: Firstly, in the legal and social context, resilience needs to be considered as part of policies that will consider justice and fairness in the decision-making processes and the equal distribution of benefits and problems. Secondly, translating theory into practice, resilience needs to be discussed and translated into policies, considering the huge underlying socio-economic disparities and the landscape of uneven development in the big cities. Reproducing unevenness while carrying out projects of urban resilience, jeopardises the future of cities’ smooth development and functionability. Looking at the other side of the coin, only when strategies towards resilient cities include the less privileged groups, would make more sense because in times of crisis (floods etc) those are most affected. Thirdly, it is of utmost importance while actualising resilience to bring together scholars and practitioners from diverse disciplines, as only then an action plan will be an all-encompassing set of expectations.

The paper aspires to contribute to the literature on addressing legal and socio-political matters and to normatively analyse resilience to help build bridges to policy practices. In doing so, it responds to a current challenge scholars face in developing a theoretical framework covering a variety of dimensions. It looks into the subject in a multi-disciplinary way – addressing legal, socio-political and engineering aspects – also reflecting the profile of the research team.

  • Open access
  • 14 Reads
Making Neighbourhoods Resilient: The Social Construction of an Identity

In the last three years, in the PROHABIT project ( we have carried out a study about the roles of communities in the urban transformations in three neighbourhoods of Barcelona: Plus Ultra, Trinitat Nova and Vallcarca. In all three districts, and after persisting in their claims during a long time, neighbours have gotten the city council to change their plans. Community resilience has overcome the contingencies associated to the economic and political changes over more than two decades. Neighbours’ associations, civic organizations and activist groups have defended what they considered to be the essential features of their neighbourhoods against the plans and regulations approved by the successive municipal governments. In this confrontation, neighbours had first to build an image of what they thought the neighbourhood really is and then defended against political and economic powers. This image is a social construction unique in each neighbourhood built with personal memories of their residents. In Plus Ultra and Trinitat Nova, the holders of these memories were the eldest residents who settled when the first houses were built. In Vallcarca, the leaders have been young activists who have made the memory of their neighbourhoods their own.

The research we have conducted to examine the process of social construction of an identity has been based on interviews with key actors, non-participant observations of public spaces, literature analysis and participatory actions. The analysis of the collected information has been carried out using an open quality data analysis tool specifically created for this research project ( With this system, the analysis carried out by researchers is available to the citizens. Navigating through this information system becomes enables experts and laypeople to understand the links between social and physical structures in the three studied neighbourhoods in a comparative manner.

  • Open access
  • 15 Reads
From system ecology to urban morphology: towards a theory of urban form resilience

As cities grow in scale and complexity, the extent to which their urban forms will be able resist, adapt to or co-evolve under unpredictable circumstances and fulfil needs different from those they were originally designed for, may be crucial for the very survival of cities. In this context, the concept of resilience, originated in ecology as a way to deal with change and uncertainty in ecological systems, particularly in its ‘evolutionary’ interpretation, has gained salience in relation to urban systems where, not unlike in other kinds of complex adaptive systems, change can both be triggered by external idiosyncratic shocks and emerge gradually from internal processes of self-organisation, and is now considered as pivotal for the design and management of the built environment.

Whilst several authors have tried to build a bridge between resilience thinking and urban design, the role of the morphological structure of cities in enabling or constraining resilient responses has never been addressed systematically and, indeed, evidence that the framework of evolutionary resilience can be extended to the urban form is hardly systematic. To overcome this gap, this article seeks to evidence the link between urban form and resilience theory. This is done by building a parallel between concepts, models and organisational principles developed in system ecology to explain dynamics of change in ecosystems (i.e. Adaptive Cycles, Panarchy), to analogous models developed independently in the discipline of urban morphology to describe dynamics of change in urban form (i.e. Burgage Cycle, Territorial Development Cycle, Urban Form Compositional Hierarchy). On this basis, a new theoretical model of urban form change grounded on an understanding of urban form as complex system, is formalised, substantiating the application of evolutionary resilience urban form.

  • Open access
  • 6 Reads
Redefining Resilience in the Developed Cities: Opportunities and challenges of the urban built environment as housing for a post-disaster population, Athens and London

The multiregional humanitarian crises that have their origins either in natural hazards or manmade disasters are affecting millions of people around the world leading often to their displacement. How cities respond to these crises and to the arising needs of their people is my main problematic. Thus, my research is focused on redefining the concept of resilience through the ability of the developed cities to absorb the displaced population in terms of housing and accommodation within the existing built stock and under any disaster situation. Athens and London, seen from their resilient strategies will be compared and contrasted within frameworks of neighborhood, local, municipal, national and inter-global scale and through the spectrum of an infrastructural failure as Grenfell in London and the severe refugee influx in Athens. What is their response regarding the vulnerable groups’ accommodation in these chronic stresses and/or shocks? Have they used their existing capacity? Drawing on the relevant cases where the immediate shelter was an imperative need, the different scales of the two approaches will be also considered. This means the comparison between the regional level ambitious mechanism of London and the smaller neighborhood one in Athens and how these included or not the existing housing in their shelter strategy. As the last point to be broached, would be the correlation of the established and institutionalized or not policies with more specific events occurred in the two metropolises, how the theoretical principles were implemented and, finally, if and how the housing needs were covered.

  • Open access
  • 17 Reads
Possibilities for Resilient Grassroots Urban Planning: strategies used by a neighborhood movement in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

The paper tries to answer the following question: In response to environmental injustice, what are the strategies used by peripheral neighborhoods to propose and implement resilient grassroots urban planning? A case study in Belo Horizonte, Brazil will present what can be learnt from bottom up initiatives that react to everyday life shocks caused by environmental degradation. Ribeiro de Abreu is a low income peripheral neighborhood in Belo Horizonte, located on the banks of the Onça River, one of the most important water courses in the city. Although still maintained in its natural course, the river is highly polluted an degraded, in contrast with the environmental quality of high income parts of the city. In response to the neglecting of the river and its surroundings by the municipal government, a strong neighborhood movement has been organizing a series of socio-environmental activities and advocating for the implementation of a linear park on the riverbank, followed by the cleaning of the water. The analysis of this case study is an on-going research based on semi-structured interviews with activists, local residents and municipality staff. So far, it has been noticed that urban social movements propose and implement grassroots resilient planning through a two-folded strategy: putting the government under pressure and organizing self-built improvements in the surrounding environment. Also, resilience is achieved through partnerships with the municipality, professionals and universities, connecting local and technical knowledge and allowing the access to resources. Finally, activists and local residents have a holistic and systemic perception of the causes and possible solutions for the environmental degradation of the river and its surroundings.

  • Open access
  • 11 Reads
Translocal networking as a cornerstone for community resilience: Activities by the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR)

Research on community resilience has focused strongly on the local features of communities backing resilient behaviour. However, the argument of the paper is that the relationship building of communities beyond the locality represents a significant aspect of community resilience. The aim of this paper is to extend the notion of community resilience by highlighting that in today’s world locality is characterised by connectivity. Communities organized on various levels are considered better equipped to deal e.g. with natural disasters and therefore more resilient. Translocal social resilience approaches mostly focus on migration. Translocal social networks and capacities can be found in migrant communities, but also in those communities that have mobilized into networks beyond their locality around livelihood issues. This translocal community resilience as an emerging concept can learn from earlier studies on transnational urbanism by including aspects of horizontal learning, peer-to-peer support and mobilization to collectively address issues of injustice. The paper refers to findings about the networking of urban poor communities (Herrle, Ley and Fokdal, 2015) and an expert group workshop organized at University of Stuttgart "Collective action and resilience in emerging city regions" (April 2017). Case studies on translocal and transnational community networks in Asia related to the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR) will serve as illustrations.