2012 Vol. 3, No. 1

Display Method:
Disaster and Urbanism
Yan Guo, Paola Viganò, Bernardo Secchi, Peijun Shi
2012, 3(1): 1-2. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0001-7
Extreme Cities and Bad Places
Paola Viganò
2012, 3(1): 3-10. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0002-6
This article considers places where climate change-induced hazards will be particularly important, focusing on two examples, the lagoon location of Venice and the Garonne riverbank location of Bordeaux. The Venice lagoon territory is close to the coast and has a dispersed form of urban development. Our project experiments resulted in the formulation of a series of adaptation strategies to increased disaster risks, including returning current agricultural land and residential areas to their original state as wetlands and marshes before their reclamation during the early decades of the twentieth century. The scenarios introduce space as a relevant variable into the debate about the impact of climate change and adaptation. This article also deals with the recovery of “bad places,” such as the urban blight on the Garonne riverbanks of Bordeaux, and their relationship with sustainability and disaster risks. Increasingly, the emphasis on minimizing energy consumption and promoting recycling forces cities to reuse places of elevated risk. Only very recently in modern urban planning are polluted and risky areas frequently selected for new development projects to reclaim the vast areas of existing brownfields in the name of sustainability. Integrating disaster risk reduction into a new economic and social context has thus become an extremely important part of contemporary urban design and planning for these reclaimed (bad) areas. The research concludes that urban and territorial design should and can integrate the inevitability of risk. This is necessary for developing approaches and strategies that offer some rethinking about “wicked” problems, long-term time horizons, radical imagination, dynamic representations, and minute territorial readings in contemporary urban planning.
Extreme Cities and Isotropic Territories: Scenarios and Projects Arising from the Environmental Emergency of the Central Veneto Città Diffusa
Lorenzo Fabian
2012, 3(1): 11-22. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0003-5
In Italy extreme cities and territories occur at the extremities of lagoons, coastlines, and river deltas, in hydraulically reclaimed and hydrogeologically instable areas, and those where the water supply network has been placed underground, channeled into piping, or removed altogether. These areas are now increasingly subject to natural calamities and extreme weather conditions, and the consequences of climate change and the fragility of the more and more impermeable and urbanized land surface are clearly evident. Isotropic territories are characterized by weak hierarchization of infrastructure and settlement. The metropolitan area of Venice, aptly described as a diffuse city (città diffusa), and other diffusely organized territories characterized by settlement dispersion are good examples of this phenomenon. This article reviews recent research at the University IUAV of Venice in a study on climate change and water forms, a project in which the profound relations between water networks, the geological nature of the terrain, forms of urbanization, and energy saving are tested out. The study of the territories of the Venetian metropolitan area provides a series of initial working hypotheses as to how the ongoing environmental emergency can become an opportunity for a development project of the city and the territory, capable of structuring its various parts differently.
Before the War, War, After the War: Urban Imageries for Urban Resilience
Armina Pilav
2012, 3(1): 23-37. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0004-4
This article discusses urban conditions in cities that in their recent history experienced war. It puts the social component of the city into relationship with the destroyed and dangerous urban environment. In the period between 1992 and 1996 in Sarajevo and in other Bosnian cities, survival became the most important activity for citizens. In the period directly preceding the war, urban conditions—mobility, infrastructure, and services—started to malfunction. As a result, ordinary city life became an object of new urban imageries influenced by new urban conditions and rules of behavior. The first bombing of the city on 6 April 1992 was a sign that the war had started. It brought with it war urban conditions: lack of public transport, electricity, water, and food. The inability of the city and the people living in it to function normally demanded new patterns of urban resilience, which were partly a product of the city’s prewar conditions. Using Sarajevo as a case study, this article examines whether the city had predisaster coping strategies and, if so, the extent to which these plans were used during the war. Finally, the article observes how citizens, with their own imageries about cities, can participate in the creation of patterns of urban resilience and future predisaster strategies.
Transactions and Friction as Concepts to Guide Disaster Recovery Policy
William J. Siembieda
2012, 3(1): 38-44. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0005-3
Large-scale disaster events in Japan (2011), New Zealand (2011), Chile (2010), and China (2008) generate a need for understanding the dynamics of multilocation disaster recovery. This article uses analogs from contemporary economic theory to model recovery interactions over time and over large geographic areas. The model consists of the external and internal sectors and how they engage in transactions during the recovery period. The concept of transaction is developed and its use as a policy tool explored. The concepts of friction and uncertainty are introduced as barriers to efficient and effective completion of the transactions needed for recovery. Friction adds time and resource costs, while uncertainty slows the completion of transactions entered into by recovery stakeholders.
Urban Resilience in Post-Disaster Reconstruction: Towards a Resilient Development in Sichuan, China
Yan Guo
2012, 3(1): 45-55. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0006-2
This article discusses the post-disaster urban resilience design framework in the case of post-disaster urban reconstruction in Sichuan after the Great Sichuan Earthquake (also known as the Wenchuan Earthquake) in May 2008 in China. The focus is on three main aspects of post-disaster urban reconstruction: sociospatial coherence, temporal continuity, and multistakeholder integration and communication. Critical interpretation of the government-guided reconstruction reveals that reconstruction was limited to the generic production and implementation of top-down planning. From the perspective of urban resilience, and through an alternative design scenario developed in this research, this article highlights an urban resilience design framework based on postdisaster development in the Sichuan city of Dujiangyan. By identifying the deficiencies of the governmental reconstruction where in many aspects resilience has not been considered, and by proposing the alternative where resilience has been considered to develop a better living, this research seeks to integrate urban resilience as a key aspect in the Sichuan reconstruction and as essential for developing the postdisaster city towards a more coherent, sustainable, and integral urban future.
Towards a Policy that Supports People-Centered Housing Recovery—Learning from Housing Reconstruction after the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in Kobe, Japan
Elizabeth Maly, Yoshimitsu Shiozaki
2012, 3(1): 56-65. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0007-1
The goal of disaster recovery is for survivors to regain stability in their lives, livelihoods, and housing. A people-centered housing recovery requires that residents are empowered to make decisions about their housing reconstruction, and that policies create housing options that support the ability of all residents to reconstruct their homes and lives. The 1995 Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake caused the largest amount of damage in Japan since World War II, and the subsequent recovery is a starting point for understanding contemporary post-disaster housing reconstruction policies in Japan. Beyond an overview of housing reconstruction programs, we can understand the impact these policies had on Kobe residents’ housing and community recovery. In many cases, housing policies implemented after the Kobe earthquake fragmented communities and caused further damage and disruption in the lives of the survivors. A single-track approach failed to support the entire population of the disaster-stricken area. In subsequent years, Japanese disaster reconstruction laws and policies have seen modifications and improvements. Some of these changes can be seen in cases of recovery after more recent disasters, notably after the 2004 Chuetsu Earthquake in Niigata Prefecture. In the context of these past examples, we can consider what is needed for a people-centered recovery in the Tohoku area after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.
The 2nd Environmental Innovator’s PACC (Programs and Actions on Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change) Symposium in Tokyo, 16–17 December 2011
From Post-Disaster Reconstruction to the Creation of Resilient Societies
2012, 3(1): 66-68.