Urban Ecology and Environment

March 24, 2017

This discussion is now closed. Thank you for your participation.

Moderators:

  • Marcus Mayr Urban Planner, Climate Change Planning Unit, UN-Habitat
  • Kulwant Singh Regional Advisor - UN-Habitat

Urban Ecology and Environment

This discussion is now closed. Thank you for your participation.

Question 1.   What measures do you think are required for cities, businesses, academia, and civil society to encourage broader participation of all urban stakeholders in environmental planning, climate action and disaster risk reduction?

Question 2.   How do you think improved understanding and progress in urban environmental planning, climate action and disaster management are influencing urbanization patterns in developing and developed countries?

Welcome to the urban dialogue on Urban Ecology and Environment. The online discussions for this dialogue took place from July 6-31, 2015. Although the discussions are now closed, you can still share your comments, perspectives, and feedback on the discussion summary for a one-week commentary period ending on August 24, 2015.

In each thematic discussion, individuals and organizations had the chance to discuss major ideas and outcomes of the Habitat III Issue Papers, elaborated by the United Nations Task Team on HIII. These dialogues provide a platform for all voices to be heard. Your valued contribution and participation in these dialogues will enrich the ongoing Habitat III participatory process on emerging thinking related to sustainable urban development. In addition, final contributions to the discussion summaries will help identify key knowledge and policy options, while evaluating how these options might be deployed in the context of the New Urban Agenda.

Click here to review the summary outcome and comment
Recent Activity
Climate Change Centre Reading
Wed, August 12, 2015 at 09.48 pm
Marcus Urban Planner
Mon, August 3, 2015 at 05.33 am

Dear Participants,

The moderation team would like to thank you all for the interesting contributions and structured discussion. As the urban dialogues draw to a close, we will make sure the excellent points you raised will be properly taken into account and inform the dialogue on the new urban agenda. 

Kind regards,

Your moderation team

Climate Change Centre Reading
Sun, August 2, 2015 at 10.51 pm
All, this might catch some interest, 31 July 2015 a magic date! #Climate21 +++
#FutureofPlaces #COP21 #Habitat3 #NewUrbanAgenda #PublicSpace #WUC #TheFutureWeWant #TheCityWeNeed #UrbanSDG #UrbanAction #UrbanThinkers #Youngplacemakers #ClimateAction
Planet We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations;
Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts* 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning 13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning 13.a Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible 13.b Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities * Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.
Vision 7. In these Goals and targets, we are setting out a supremely ambitious and transformational vision. We envisage a world free of poverty, hunger, disease and want, where all life can thrive. We envisage a world free of fear and violence. A world with universal literacy. A world with equitable and universal access to quality education at all levels, to health care and social protection, where physical, mental and social well-being are assured. A world where human rights relating to safe drinking water and sanitation are promoted and realised, with improved hygiene; and where food is sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious. A world where human habitats are safe, resilient and sustainable and where there is universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.
Cheers
/Carl
CCCRdg
Saripalli Suryanarayana from
Sat, August 1, 2015 at 10.23 am

First is making a City in to number of zones.[2]Constituting a open city development board to plan for future,and tell to citizens what they propose .Hear from them and formulate a paper for zonal development,and have wide discussions in each and very corner,and in each of the societies representing the citizens.

B.Measure the heat and rain ,zone wise,each day ad find what modifications new addition of cement,steel,wood are bringing to climate.

c.Measure rain fall,find the contours,and critical necking areas.This citizens will be well aware to tell.

D.Install small bio-degrading machnes,and waste processing plants,zone wise

E.Make it a point to see weather the city can with stand some more pressure on its water supply,electric lines,etc,when allowing a changes in mass occupation houses are proposed.And deny permission.Discourage new business,and new migrations for some time or else the city may become a model of destruction, on its own.

Smarter Than Car
Sat, August 1, 2015 at 08.23 am

Submission to UN Habitat III:
Urban Ecology and the Environment: Comments on Issue Paper 15 – URBAN RESILIENCE

Page1:

The Definition of (urban) resilience misses out to include the concept of “adaptive capacity”. The concept of “adaptive capacity” can provide a productive method to foster resilience thinking and build real capacity in the built environment and our social system to raise urban resilience.

Urban environments are social-ecological systems and therefore refer to social as well as ecological aspects of adaptive capacity. In ecological systems adaptive capacity – understood as the degree of resilience to perturbations – is tied to genetic and biological diversity as well as the heterogeneity of the landscape mosaic. In social systems the existence of institutions and networks which are producing and storing knowledge (of various kinds), creating flexibility in encountering challenges and which manage to balance power and interest among interest groups.

on urban adaptive capacity can provide a vital concept for the key drivers for action to integrate the goals of resilience planning in a more understandable way.

Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes from
Sat, August 1, 2015 at 01.39 am

Dear Colleagues ,

To facilitate access , I am attaching the two main files mentioned in my previous suggestion :

1- What development do we want?

2- Lecture Values, Systemic Planning, and Management and Public Ministry,

I hope that the documents, which are public domain, can contribute in some way.

Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes,

Public Prosecutor,

Manager Strategic Projects of the Public Prosecutors Office/Public Ministry. 

E-mail: rsmoraes@mp.rs.gov.br

rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br

Phones:         

                + 55 51 9628-4254      

                + 55 51 3295-1050    

knut speaker/coordinator from Germany
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 11.36 pm

We have serious concern that climate adaption could become a pretext for anti-social legislations and urban transformations in favor of profitable business.

German NGO statement:

http://www.forumue.de/statement-of-the-german-forum-on-environment-development-on-habitat-iii-2/

World Vision International
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 09.04 pm

Upon hearing this opportunity to contribute to the urban dialogues, World Vision International’s Centre for Expertise in Urban Programming invited some of the organisation’s thematic leaders to respond to the issue papers and dialogue questions. This response represents the amalgamation of multiple individuals’ feedback.

Firstly, we affirm and support the ideas presented below. Of particular note are the following:

1) The central role of schools as critical public institutions. They both play a central role in provide safe places in the public arena. (i) There is a growing momentum and evidence for the “safe schools” agenda. This incorporates aspects of disaster risk reduction and resilience as outlined by Kehkashan Basu (Sun July 19th, 4:23pm).  However, the role of schools in the urban ecology and environment dialogue should also be much broader to incorporate urban ecosystem and environmental protection into school curriculum, the use of schools as key locations for behaviour change around waste, hygiene and environmental actions, and the use of public open space for urban agriculture and permaculture.

2) The use of blue green infrastructure to promote eco-system services and reduce the urban heat island effect (as suggested by Anna Sjodin, Flood Risk manager, City of Karlstad, Jul 8th 1:35pm) – these are the concepts and principles underlying water sensitive urban design (also known as sustainable urban drainage systems in Europe or low impact development in America).

However, the use of blue-green infrastructure will need to be carefully translated into the contexts of rapidly developing urban areas in regions like Africa, Asia and Latin America where World Vision International is working. There are many critical questions which remain unanswered: how do these systems perform in the humid tropics with an annual rainfall far in excess of the temperate conditions that biofilters, wetlands and infiltration systems have been designed in. Additionally, rapidly growing urban areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America are often characterised by a greater density, with less public open space and therefore fewer opportunities for green infrastructure. However, even if the density of mega-cities precludes them from implementing blue-green infrastructure, maybe opportunities exist to adapt and translate these technologies into the secondary cities and regional towns of the developing world.

World Vision would suggest that one of the greatest challenges regarding the urban ecology and environment is the adequate management of urban sanitation and faecal sludge management. Currently it poses one of the greatest challenges to the sustainable development of cities which were not constructed with well-planned sewer systems. However, if managed well and if suitable processes for its collection, treatment, and reuse are developed then faecal sludge management may provide a great source of organic nutrients for urban or near-urban agricultural activities.

I think it would be remiss of a conversation on urban ecology and urban environments to neglect serious engagement with the increasing issue of solid waste management. Throughout much of south and south east Asia solid waste management is having serious impacts on the liveability of urban centres. Due to inadequate solid waste systems – drains are being blocked leading to urban inundation and disease risks, septic systems are being made ineffective due to the disposal of plastics and other inorganics into them. Water bodies such as rivers, creeks and lakes are being choked with waste leading to eutrophication and the loss of ecosystem services.

In all of these areas global research and development into modern technological solutions are being developed. There is increasing innovation in the technology development of toilets (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), stormwater treatment and management systems and novel solid waste management systems.

However, what continues to be lacking – is the investments in research and replication into the governance innovation – the modern and flexible approaches of management – that are required to enable the implementation, ownership and long term viability of these emerging technologies. We know that top down governance is ineffective, we know that bottom up governance is helpful at the community/village scale but ineffective in leading to city wide change – but there is no investigation into the governance structures that are flexible and adaptive and that can enable long term city wide change.

Finally, it would be beneficial for ongoing efforts to be invested into the development of the creative small business models that can be used to increase urban environmental management while increasing the livelihood of those who are the poorest and most vulnerable in the city.

In summary – World Vision believe that providing a safe, healthy and clean urban environment is critical for the improvement of the well-being of children and families throughout the world. While these issues of urban environmental management might seem too big to address – WV firmly believes that if each organisation/individual is effective in their sphere of influence then there is great potential for lasting and meaningful environmental improvement in urban centres around the world.  

Huairou Commission
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 08.30 pm

Dear Colleagues,

Here the Huairou Commission’s consolidated responses on Urban Ecology and Environment.

Vandana Singh associate professor of physics from United States
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 08.01 pm

With regard to these two questions —  from my perspective as a physics educator at the college level working on climate change communication — academia can serve as a focal point for local community conversations that involve, for example, renewable energy businesses, town planners, urban ecologists, and most crucially, students.  This is a model that we are working on at my institution, a four-year public state university on the US East coast.  Another model of academic involvement is something I’ve seen in Alaska, where researchers on climate change help communities prepare for future shocks, both through Native-Scientific partnerships (http://ankn.uaf.edu/Curriculum/Articles/BarnhardtKawagley/Indigenous_Knowledge.html) and through scenarios planning https://www.snap.uaf.edu/.    

However I would like to respond to your two questions more deeply by framing them against the backdrop of an escalating climate crisis. 

We cannot begin to have a conversation about sustainable future cities without acknowledging the very frightening implications of climate change, and the political gridlock that is preventing meaningful action.  As the average global surface temperature continues to rise, as carbon emissions go up every year, we are facing killer heat waves and wildfires, the drowning of coastal cities, mass human migration, the poleward movement of tropical diseases, food insecurity and mass extinctions.  These impacts, which disproportionately affect the Global South, people who are least responsible for the problem —  are already under way, as reported in the IPCC Fifth Assessment report.  The entrenched global  socio-economic system has failed us and is betraying us by increasing CO2 emissions and looking for new sources of fossil fuels.

It is against this backdrop that we must imagine alternatives, including alternative urban settlements.  The change we need must be at the level of paradigm, rather than superficial band-aid fix-its that treat the symptoms of the problem while leaving the old structures and models – physical and mental —  in place.  These measures are bound to fail.  Speaking as a physicist involved in climate education at the university level  (undergraduate), I suggest these paradigm-level shifts:

1)      A city as an ecosystem – Currently cities consume a huge amount of resources and generate tremendous waste.  In a healthy ecosystem, however, the ‘waste’ of one species is always used by another.  Completely rethinking the urban paradigm on the basis of an ecosystem rather than a parasite or cancerous growth would mean cutting back on (or eliminating) some plastics, looking to alternative social arrangements and technologies, a creative  and exciting challenge.  The ecosystem paradigm also implies a city based on sustainability, not endless ‘growth.’  From a physics perspective, it is not possible to have endless material growth on a finite planet.  This is not something most economists understand.  It’s time to retire that concept.

2)      A shift to localness for the sake of the globe

a)      Local geographies should inform and inspire building styles, city layout and architecture, rather than the generic McTowers of current urban fashion.  Buildings that take advantage of localness for building materials and to conserve energy – for example adobe buildings with courtyards in hot, arid areas, passive solar where possible;

b)      Every place has different alternative energy resources, so the energy source should be a mix of local alternatives to fossil fuels – perhaps solar and wind in one place, geothermal in another.  European experiments in community ownership of the power grid are at least partly responsible for the increasing use of renewables in countries like Germany. 

c)       – empower local communities to collectively and democratically make decisions.  This flies in the face of ‘trade agreements’ like NAFTA and austerity measures imposed from outside, but if we want a true democracy, local people must have control over their resources

3)      A city for people and nature

a)      A city designed for people as opposed to cars would have sidewalks, public parks, gathering places at corners.  Most shops and workplaces would be walkable.  There would be public transport, and car-at-need services, so that people could get by without cars if they chose. 

b)      Urban settlements should not be in the path of animal migration routes but planned around them.  Green corridors throughout the city would allow for urban wildlife, with proper precautions maintained for the mutual safety of humans and animals.  These would moderate temperatures, relieve stress, and encourage biodiversity.  Lawns would be absent due to their high ecological footprint, and instead native shrubs and trees would provide beauty, habitat, and coolness in summers. 

4)      A city that makes its own food (for the most part)

Futurists and science fiction writers have imagined farm towers in the city itself; community farms and gardens are already taking off.  Others are talking about replacing commercial agribusiness monocultures with agroecology, which takes both traditional knowledge (again, localness) and science into account to multiply yields.  In such scenarios a city would need only a small hinterland to maintain its food source, cutting down on transportation costs, refrigeration etc.  Old agricultural land could be allowed to revert to its natural state, helping reverse the massive, human-caused sixth extinction currently underway.

These ideas might sound impractical to some.  They may sound too futuristic, too idealistic.  But I’d like to point out two things.  One, any system that results in climate change, threatening our survival as a species, has to be the most impractical and extreme thing ever.  Two, any system that attempts to go in another direction where we can sustain the biosphere and therefore ourselves, is therefore eminently practical. 

Lastly, I would like to emphasize the importance of the imagination.  One of the things that deeply entrenched systems of exploitation do is to stifle our creativity and hope, so we can’t even envision what a different and better future might look like.  As the Indian poet Sahir Ludhianvi said, “Aao ki koi khwaab bune, kal ke vaste.”  Come, let us weave dreams for tomorrow’s sake.  No major social change, whether it be freedom from apartheid or independence from a colonial power, has ever taken place without people being able to dream it in the first place.  So I suggest that this upcoming meeting have a place for some imaginative brainstorming – invite artists, scientists, science fiction writers, students, activists to come up with fantastic visions of future cities against the backdrop of climate change and socio-economic injustice.  Even if not all of these visions are realizable, they might shift the way we think, which is the biggest barrier to change.  

Nicole Bohrer Program Associate from United States
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 06.06 pm

Dear all, please find attached responses to issue papers 15,16,17 – with a particular focus on gender – from members of the Huairou Commission Network.

Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes from Brazil
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 05.24 pm

Esteemed Colleagues:

I am a public prosecutor and manager of strategic projects of the Public Ministry/Public Prosecutor’s Office in the state of Rio Grande do Sul – Brazil.

               In Brazil, the Public Ministry/Public Prosecutor’s Office has very broad constitutional powers, prioritizing, and often fostering, cooperation networks, in order to serve, not only the consequences of society’s problems, but also the causes.

In the search for effectiveness, sustainability, equity and peace, internal and external, and taking into account the causes of the growing disregard for nature and dignity (own and others) are systemic, ie, arising from interdependent relationships between various components of Environment, believed to be important for the development of the methodology/action of Systemic Planning and Management (PGS). 

This is because this methodology/action allows, from the focus priority chosen and emphasizing the family context, vision and resource integration, multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary. Focus priority can be established, for example, in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in the thematic topics for the New Urban Agenda (social cohesion and equity, urban frameworks, spatial development, urban economy and urban ecology and environment), and, more specifically, in a flooding, in the construction of a hydroelectric plant, in the health of vulnerable populations, (native Brazilians, homeless people, people affected by ecological catastrophes), in the improvement in the quality of life of the population of certain slum and etc. Thus, one can establish what to do, and who, where and when / why and how to map and integrate all these components. Therefore, it is important to be perceived a common mission, to be implemented with the assistance of the physiological, psychological (safety, belonging and self-esteem) and self-fulfillment, generating commensurate impacts on the three pillars of sustainability (economic, social – health, education, citizenship and security – and the environment) and through cooperation networks. Thus, public effects are produced by adding value to sustainable activities.


            This common mission, envisioned as public purpose, requires and favors the formation of cooperation networks for systemic action, allowing the integration of the three sectors (public, private and civil society) and the whole community. This context favors democracy, participatory and representative, providing Harmonic and Sustainable Development (DHS), the consciousness of unity and survival of all living beings.

Increasingly, it requires the cooperation of every part. However, sometimes, when making planning and management of public policy, we do not see the importance of integration, too, with the Justice System. In case of ineffectiveness of public policy (often due to a linear actuation – not realizing the interconnections), the Justice System undoubtedly will intervene, directly affecting the course of development that we want (something that can be evidenced by example, the “judicialization of health”).

The Systemic Planning and Management action has achieved many positive results. Therefore, we are building, with the National Confederation of Municipalities, the document: Systemic Planning and Management action focusing on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and HABITAT III. HOW implement the ODS in the local community and in the context of the HABITAT III.

We believe that this document can contribute to implementation of ODS and for the preparation of New Urban Agenda. The document will be available at the following address: rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br, in early September (including an English version).

            Further information can be obtained in the following materials – at the same address and:

1- What development do we want? – (an English version can be found on the link)

quedesenvolvimentoqueremos.webnode.com/news/que-desenvolvimento-queremos-/

2- A Map On The Way  (an English version can be found on the link)

rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br/2012/01/um-mapa-no-caminho-map-on-way-english.html

3-  Lecture Values, Systemic Planning, and Management and Public Ministry

rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br/2010/10/pgs-lecture-values-systemic-planning.html

4- Lecture at the World Conference about Development of Cities

rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br/2010/10/pgs-lecture-at-world-conference-about_26.html

5-  La Gestion and PGS

rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br/2010/10/pgs-la-gestion-e-pgs_26.html

6-  Primer on PGS action focusing on Health, 2015 version.

pgsistemicos.blogspot.com.br/2013/01/otimizacao-da-rede-de-fornecimento-de.html

I hope that the documents, which are public domain, can contribute in some way.

Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes,

Public Prosecutor,

Manager Strategic Projects of the Public Prosecutors Office/Public Ministry. 

E-mail: rsmoraes@mp.rs.gov.br

rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br

Phones:         

                + 55 51 9628-4254      

                + 55 51 3295-1050    

Khalil Ali Program Associate from United States
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 04.42 pm

Please see attached comments on Issue Papers 15 and 17 conducted by an expert from the American Bar Association/UNDP International Legal Resource Center (ILRC). Since 1999, the ILRC has provided pro bono technical legal assistance to UNDP on their rule of law, governance, and human rights programs in developing countries. Please contact Khalil.Ali@americanbar.org should you need futher assistance.

Khalil Ali Program Associate from United States
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 04.40 pm

Please see attached comments on Issue Papers 15 and 17 conducted by an expert from the American Bar Association/UNDP International Legal Resource Center (ILRC). Since 1999, the ILRC has provided pro bono technical legal assistance to UNDP on their rule of law, governance, and human rights programs in developing countries. Please contact Khalil.Ali@americanbar.org should you need futher assistance.

Climate Change Centre Reading
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 03.45 pm

Comments, OVERVIEW Issue Paper 1, 6, 11 and 17
Youth conclusions and inclusion and resilience in the New Urban Agenda based on three years project with placemaking and climate change coverage. Why?  The youth is our future and their need for protective shelter in a changing climate, first and foremost. This requires multidisciplinary climate action across multilevel jurisdictional boundaries…

Dear the Habitat III Secretariat, 
Sponsor, Support and Share this International call for a Monthly Car-Free Work-Day Planet proposal.
Let´s make this a global #AirQuality reality!

Thank you for organising Habitat III and UrbanDialouges

Cheeers
/Carl
CCCRdg 

Fasiha Farrukh contributor at UN Women Asia & The Pacific from Pakistan
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 03.04 pm

1- all of these urban stakeholders are required to be a part of enviornmental planning by initiating new projects and ideas in this regard. They can participate in the activities and spread the words about them so that the involvement of more people could be ensured. They can take care of the enviornment in their surroundings. They can do measures about reducing pollutions by educating themselves and others about it.

The corporations can focus on an effective CSR that will help in securing the enviornment and they can create awareness about the urban climate action and disaster risk planning. They can run collaborative projects with the government to run the projects about disaster risk planning and include the enviornmental experts in it for the authentic ideas.

Academias can create awareness in theri pupils and tell them that how much important a healthy enviornment is for their well being and upcoming generations. They can conduct activities on monthly or weekly basis as well.

Civil Society must have the sense that they are not increasing pollution in their surroundings. They must have greenery in their homes and surroundings so that they could generate a healthy enviornment themselves. Also, they must highlight the envirnmental issues with the regualted authorities so that they could take action if the climate is getting affect anywhere.

This is a collective effort in which everyone has to play their part because already this earth is facing hard time due to Global warming and planting more and more trees is the only solution to have balanced climate here.

Planting trees  is an activity that will not harm anyone and it must be conducted by the governments too. Educate the younger generation that how much important these plants are for us.

Recycled by-products and waste from the factories must be monitor. The waste of the population must be treated before thrown away in sea or anywhere else. The exclusion of harmful gases must be treated and monitored by the authorities.

2- The urban environmental planning, climate action and disaster management are influencing urbanization patterns in developing and developed countries in a way that they are now focusing on having more enviornmental prone initiatives. They are caring about securing clean water, processing their waste, having more trees, reducing the pollution, etc. This will help their upcoming generations in having the safe and healthy environment and they will be able to maintain it too. The main thing is awareness that we need to  provide to the common people so that they could take care of nature in their daily routine.

Climate Change Centre Reading
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 03.03 pm

Comments, OVERVIEW Issue Papers 8, 11, 17 and 21
Connecting communities
Facilitating connectivity and net carbon mobility through the improvement of transportation networks and communication between urban and rural areas to allow universal benefit and access to quality public spaces / places, which tend to be concentrated in urban areas due to population density and economies of scale.…

Dear the Habitat III Secretariat, 
Sponsor, Support and Share this International call for a Monthly Car-Free Work-Day Planet proposal.
Let´s make this a global #AirQuality reality!

Thank you for organising Habitat III and UrbanDialouges

Cheeers
/Carl
CCCRdg 

Misereor
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 02.17 pm

MISEREOR is the German Catholic development agency supporting local partners world-wide since 1958. As one of the active participants at the Habitat I conference in Vancouver in 1976, and at the Habitat II conference in Istanbul in 1996, MISEREOR has been constantly engaged in the promotion of the right to housing and of sustainable settlement development. This includes advocacy against evictions, reminding states of their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights to housing, water, sanitation, etc., and supporting urban grass-root networks and local initiatives demanding access to land, security of tenure, housing and access to services.

Based on this, please find our comments on urban resilience and infrastructrues.

Resilient Cities

Can a city be resilient if planning and implementation of disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) and adaptation strategies do not include the rights and needs of the persons living in danger zones? Can cities be resilient if people are forced to live in danger zones as they do not find affordable housing alternatives elsewhere? Can resilience considered being a strategic resource for a city and its inhabitants if high risk areas are either not served by local governments or eradicated without taking care of the people living in these settlements? Can cities be resilient if the administration prepares DRRM measures which exclude settlements in high risk areas, just because these settlements are not acknowledged?

As much as resilience is a technical issue, it is a governance issue. MISEREOR suggests that no eviction must take place to make cities resilient. Persons who do not use many resources and who do not considerably emit greenhouse gases should not suffer from climate protection measures. Very often, measures to ensure resilience and upgrading of settlements can be implemented together; this is also a matter of adequate technical choice and design. However, this needs political will and the acknowledgement of existing settlements. Participatory In-situ development of these settlements and resilience can reinforce each other mutually. This is also true with regard to preventive measures concerning negative effects of natural disasters like early warning systems or specific technical adaptations.

The reference to the informal status of residents and settlements often leads to the non-recognition, hence violation of entitlements and rights. To overcome this, people living in informal settlements have developed tools which assist them to document their presence and the existence of their settlements. “Enumerations” as well as mapping serve as important instruments to document realities and to claim and bargain pro-poor solutions.

If in situ solutions are impossible, local authorities should be responsible to identify land, very close to the respective settlement to enable short distance relocations. Human rights standards oblige governments to do so. In practice this means that identifying land would be the responsibility of local authorities in such processes. This would reverse the practice of many cities that push this burden to the affected people who face extreme difficulties to access land.

Infrastructural Justice

Implementing of climate protection strategies is one of the main challenges of municipal administrations. Consumption of energy and greenhouse gas emissions per capita do vary within one city as well as globally. Persons who do not use many resources and who do not emit a lot greenhouse gases – as those in informal settlements – should not suffer from climate protection measures in favor of adaptation and mitigation.

Smart technology is not necessarily pro-poor but smart and/or cero carbon infrastructures need to be accessible und useful for all inhabitants. Therefore, it is key that poor people’s interests and rights are explicitly included into strategic planning and implementation regarding these important infrastructures. Any demand forecast cannot be reliable if informal people and informal settlements are not taken into account. Rapid urbanization processes need anticipatory planning including the provision of basic infrastructures, access to safe and clean energy and sustainable mobility. Aspects of democratic land distribution, access to public spaces and infrastructures go hand in hand and from the complementary part of financing of pro-poor infrastructures.

The main part of energy of a city is consumed by the use of non-sustainable mobility and the main part of climate damaging greenhouse gas emissions is produced here. Individual cars require most of the public space though the majority of urban inhabitants in the global south use public transport, non-motorized transport or are pedestrians. Public transport must be within (easy) reach, rapid and comfortable as well as affordable; also for people with (very) low income. However, very often informal settlements are left out of the public transport ways. Moreover, informal settlements are often evicted for (smart) infrastructures; in some cities these developments affect hundred thousands of people at the same time.

Three aspects are key: Smart technologies and infrastructures need to be perceived as an urban common, accessible for all. Urban space is considered as a common, infrastructures should be considered as a common as well. Secondly, the implementation of cero carbon infrastructures must not lead to a tradeoff of entitlements and legal certainty leading to a destruction of informal settlements for infrastructure. The recent encyclical Laudato Si of Pope Francis rightly points out that ecological transformation is necessary, but that social aspects should be equally taken into consideration. Thirdly, public spending should be verified to follow-up which areas are served, which infrastructures are being constructed and who actually benefits from them.

Lene W. Conradi Mayor of Asker Municipality from Norway
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 10.22 am

Dear all,

It’s been a very educational experience to follow the contributions being posted in this dialogue over the past weeks. My name is Lene Conradi and I serve as the Mayor of the Municipality of Asker in the Oslo region of Norway. In addition to my work as mayor, I’m a member of the UN Advisory Committee of Local Authorities. In the following I would like to take the opportunity to share with you some of Asker’s challenges and strategies regarding climate change, natural and cultural heritage and disaster management, as local authorities have a crucial role in the planning and execution of urban development projects. Maybe some of you work with similar challenges and can contribute with further knowledge and suggestions?

With a primary reference to the original first question in the dialogue, let me first reflect a bit on how to boost the climate work: There must be a reminder on the need to have clearly defined goals, goals that are as concrete and measurable as possible, and that of course are accompanied by coherent and transparent measures. One example from Norway is the parliament’s decision from some years ago to implement different kinds of schemes in order to achieve the goal of having 50.000 electric cars in Norway. The target was reached this spring. One of our other national goals which also require local effort and collaboration is the decision to phase out the use of fossil fuel for stationary heating in public sector, households and industry from 2018/2020 respectively. Other countries have other examples, related to solar cells, wind turbines, LED-lights, facilitating for bicycling etc.

Increased population, globalization, transportation and consumption put pressure on the natural resources in Asker. Our climate challenges are especially connected to our biological diversity, air and water quality, carbon emissions and noise pollution. 

In Asker’s municipality plan – the framework document guiding the development and policy-making in Asker – our visions, goals and priorities for climate, energy and the environment are set out.

 –          A coordinated and integrated strategy for area and transport planning: Asker is rather sparsely populated, and the majority of the CO2 emissions in the municipality (75 per cent), can be traced to car traffic. In addition, road traffic and railway cause challenges with noise pollution in the more densely populated areas. The goal for the coordinated strategy for area and transport planning is twofold. In the short term we want the growth in transportation to take place through the use of public transportation and walking/cycling. In the long term we want to reduce the level of private car traffic. To achieve this, Asker Municipality will:

  • facilitate the location of housing, jobs, public and private services, and culture and sports activities close to public transportation hubs
  • make sure that pedestrians, cyclists and bus travelers are prioritized
  • improve the access to public transportation hubs
  • develop our parking policy to facilitate an increased number of pedestrians, cyclists and bus travelers

 –          Our goal is to reach climate neutrality by 2050. By 2030 our CO2 emissions shall be half our 1991-level. Some of our measures to reach this goal is:

  • Facilitating the use of local renewable energy
  • Reducing the need for transportation and promote the use of climate-friendly transportation
  • Cooperating with property owners and developers in order to optimize energy solutions in our urban development projects

–          Our forests, fjords, agriculture, waterfalls, trails and green spaces make up our “blue-green structure”, and are of great importance for the municipality’s identity, quality and cultural heritage. To make sure our growth does not take place at the detriment of nature, we will:

  • Work to conserve and establish continuous and robust blue-green structures in the entire municipality, and ensure that all housing areas, schools and kindergartens have access to recreational areas within walking distance.

 –          Disaster management: The expected consequences of climate change will likely cause larger and more intense rainfall, increased danger of avalanches and floods, and in the longer term a higher sea level. For Asker, handling rain- and stormwater is becoming an increasing challenge, especially in inhabited areas. To cope with this we are:

  • Making sure that all municipal planning is performed on the basis of a risk and vulnerability analysis
  • Ensuring emergency preparedness
  • Developing and securing our blue-green structure by re-opening streams and watercourses and using

On a final note, let us cheer on and stimulate the developers/entrepreneurs, but not least the early adopters (individuals, companies or cities) of climate friendly technology and solutions. Both are crucial in the needed innovation process for better and more economic viable solutions in order to achieve climate goals.  Two examples:

 –          The low-carbon development of Masdar City in Abu Dhabi which serves as a test bed for renewable energy and technology companies. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masdar_City).

–          The Futurebuilt programme in Norway. This ten-year programme (2010-2020), which is supported by some municipalities and others, has a vision of developing carbon neutral urban areas and high-quality architecture. The aim is to complete 50 pilot projects – urban areas as well as individual buildings – with the lowest possible greenhouse gas emissions. These prototypes will also contribute to a good city environment with regard to ecological cycles, health and the general impression of the city. More info:  http://www.futurebuilt.no/english1

Fortunately, there are of course many other positive examples around the world demonstrating what is possible, both technologically end economically.  In order to scale up and benefit from these successes there is indeed a need to promote and secure a “transfer of skills and expertise from country to country and city to city”, as Professor KK Pandey mentioned in his comment in this dialogue.

Kulwant Singh from
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 12.31 pm
Dear Lene Conradi,

Thanks for sharing in detail Asker’s Municipality Plan and also  other national goals which also require local effort and collaboration to phase out the use of fossil fuel for stationary heating in public sector, households and industry from 2018/2020 respectively.  You have also referred to other countries examples, related to solar cells, wind turbines, LED-lights, facilitating for bicycling etc. In this regard I would also like to share India’s example. India has a National Mission on Sustainable Habitat that emphasises on the need for sustainability of habitats through improvements in energy efficiency in buildings, urban planning, improved management of solid and liquid waste including recycling and power generation, modal shift towards public transport and conservation; adapting to climate change by improving resilience of infrastructure, community based disaster management and advance warning systems in urban areas; optimisation of use of  land and development of sustainable habitat standards including increasing energy efficiency, public transport, water balancing, compact city development and recycling of waste. These standards would subsequently get integrated with the building bye-laws, development controls and ICT provisions.It is hoped that these recent attempts to increase to 4-FAR along with mixed use in mega-cities should lead to a more compact  form. City Development Plans are also being formulated incorporating principle of sustainable habitat and development and  adoption of Sustainable Habitat Standards into a legal framework. Several Supplementary Measures that inter alia include  capacity building and outreach as well as Research and Development.  India also has an ambitious target to scale its renewable energy capacity from 30 gigawatts presently to 175 gigawatts by 2022. All our economies  need to be bolstered and our shared climate urgently needs these advancements. 

Warm regards

Dr. Kulwant Singh
Advisor, Urban Basic Services 
United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)
128, National Media Centre, NH-8
Gurgaon 122002, India
Tel: +91-124-2565622
Mobile: +91-9871953232
Email: Kulwant.Singh@unhabitat.org
Alternate Email: kulwantsingh2002@gmail.com
Website: www.unhabitat.org
Skype: kulwant.singh128



—–notification@unteamworks.org wrote: —–

To: kulwant.singh@unhabitat.org
From: notification@unteamworks.org
Date: 07/31/2015 04:52PM
Subject: [Habitat III] Lene W. Conradi Mayor of Asker Municipality from Norway commented on the Discussion “Dialogue on Urban Ecology and Environment”
GIZ Sector Project Sustainable Development of Metropolitan Regions Advisor, GIZ Sector Project Sustainable Development of Metropolitan Regions from Germany
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 02.41 pm

Thank you for the valuable discussion on the link of urban planning and ecology. I highly agree on the importance of mainstreaming climate action and disaster reduction into urban planning. However, in my view it´s essential to integrate ecosystem-based approaches for urban planning not only for climate change adaptation but also for increased quality of environmental goods in urban areas such as air or water and of course also for recreational value in densely populated areas. Urban ecosystems include green spaces like parks, urban forests but also cultivated land, wetlands, lakes and streams. Even very small measures like planting trees along streets create new urban ecosystems (understood as ecosystems within city limits) and reduce the ecological footprint of cities while enhancing quality of life and resilience to shocks. 

When we look at urban ecology issues we too often neglect the fact that ecosystem services for cities are provided along the continuum of urban, peri-urban and rural areas. Urban societies depend on the ecosystems beyond the administrative boundaries of cities, e.g. for food and timber, water and air filtration, carbon sequestration and micro climate regulation, flood control and much more. Human activities within city limits can be harmful for the ecosystems beyond including their services we need for our own survival.

But the complexity of resource streams makes it difficult for urban planners and municipal administration to have the full picture and to make good, harmless decisions. That´s what makes the application of tools like material flow analysis so important – for data-based decision making, for benchmarking and for communication purposes.

In addition, economic values of ecosystem services – within and beyond city limits – should be taken into account for urban planning and decision making. The irreversible loss of ecosystems or their malfunction due to damages always results in long-term costs for human societies. We can not only avoid these future costs by integrating ecosystem-based approaches in urban planning today, we can also save financial and natural resources, because after all ecosystem services are more resource efficient and the implementation of ecosystem-based solutions is relatively cheap compared to their human-made alternatives.

Rajiv Sharma Engineer, Urban Planner with M.Sc. in Urban Environmental Management from India
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 12.28 pm

How do you think improved understanding and progress in urban environmental planning, climate action and disaster management are influencing urbanization patterns in developing and developed countries?

Certainly, improved understanding has been able to make a difference in human behaviour. New technologies are being integrated with urban planning to make lives more sustainable and harmonious. Principles of carrying capacity based planning, resource mapping, regional level socio-economic planning, ecological foot-prints etc, are some efforts in this direction. 

The garden city concept, which was promoted in last century by British planners is becoming relevant now. Planners now feel that while cities are inevitable, hinterlands are also important and should be retained as part of the planning process. A city becomes unsustainable since the resources it consumes grows exponentially to it growth in size. It is for this reason that planners are now looking back to bring the concept of rural living in urban areas. The concept of suburb, earlier popularised in USA is becoming a reality in many developing countries. These suburbs provides win-win situation to employees and employers.

Another concept, which has been propagated by Europe is the compact city model. This talks of low-rise high density planning. Such a concept bring all the essential commodity into walking distance, thus retaining the serenity of rural areas. In Delhi, Shahjahanabad is also classic example of low-rise high density planning. Such a city consumes less resources (sharing is the principle of living), it is safe and consumes less energy on transportation. 

UN-HABITAT
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 12.34 am

Thanks Katrin for arguing for integrating ecosystem-based approaches in urban planning not only for climate change adaptation but also for increased quality of environmental goods in urban areas such as air and water. The whole approach has to equally focus on developing open spaces for better eco-system of our cities to enable 8-80 years old to enjoy the living in their environment. We fully agree with your arguement of saving future costs by integrating eco-system approaches in urban planning.

Professor K K Pandey reseachr from India
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 03.17 pm

Roof top farming and terrace gardens are also important initiatives in the context of high rise growth .At the same time solar energy can also be secured .we have to generate larger awareness and incentives to use these concepts for verticle growth in south.

UN-HABITAT
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 02.28 pm

Thanks Rajiv for your comments. You have argued for an urban strategy that focuses on compactness and connectedness. Do you think that this will improve disaster risk management and shall contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as unlock opportunities for sustainable development.

Rajiv Sharma Engineer, Urban Planner with M.Sc. in Urban Environmental Management from India
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 06.27 pm

Yes, it will. If we look at compact cities, they can also be categorised as connected cities. If one wants to understand this concept as it existed, we must look into the organically grown cities. Shahjahanabad in India and on similar lines old parts of cities around the world demonstrates compact city models. In these cities, society share many resources- like common spaces, low-rise development, regulated entry or exit, etc. Such characteristics of cities make them safe, liveable, socially acceptable and energy efficient. Cities consume more of half of total energy on transportation. In these cities employment and residence is available in the same neighbourhood, thus curtailing the need to use motorised vehicles. So, work related trips are carried out by walking or by NMT or using public transport. Similarly, multiple functions are performed in one trip because all facilities and amenities like school, shopping area, post-office, grocery shops, etc. are located within the walking distance of residents. The total per capita energy is aso reduced because of  sharing of many common resources, open spaces, etc. Hence it can be summed-up that compact or connected cities use less energy and therefore can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

However, In the event of disasters, compact cities face more challenge than low density cities. New cities are being planned on the lines of low rise and low density zoning based residential areas and can be said to have better resilience, compared to compact cities. This can be for two reasons- high density and time taken to reach the area due to narrow lanes which can be due to encroachements and structural aleterations and second, due to non-availability of tools and mechanisms for rescue operation in narrow lanes and byelanes. It is a proven facts that it is buildings and not natural phenomenon that kills people. so, regular inspection, adhering to safety norms and proper retrofitting of buildings can make compact cities disaster resilient.  

Rajiv Sharma Engineer, Urban Planner with M.Sc. in Urban Environmental Management from India
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 12.08 pm

What measures do you think are required for cities, businesses, academia, and civil society to encourage broader participation of all urban stakeholders in environmental planning, climate action and disaster risk reduction? 

The role of all the stakeholders is improtant. Since environmental planning, climate action and disaster risk reduction cuts across many sectors and cannot be confined in a jurisdictional boundary, so  its a multi-stakeholder participation which is going to play an important role in its preservation and control.

Now coming to the point that what each of them could contribute is a very difficult question. I say difficult because each of them know their role and responsibilities towards society and planet earth. Cities know that pro-people policy, transparency and strict enforcement is all required to make a difference. Business know how to control pollution, use environmental friendly process, reduce waste and bring efficiency in processing is what is required to bring significant change. Academi know all that needs to be done but they are kept outside the process and civil society feels honoured to implement projects on demonstration basis. They do not have capacity to integrate and scale-up, without which their effort is not significant.

Having said this, the real challenge  is to bring all on a common platform. A platform which has no leader, no vested interest, no hidden rules and no money involved of any kind. The mission should be to improve a city or region and the modus operandi should be lets be the first to do it… All the stakeholders should be confident that whatever they are doing will not be turned down by any authority and would get due recognition. The confidence and clarity is must to engage stakeholders. 

To summarise, its not the quantity but quality time which is important and should be recognised. To engage stakeholders in any project, the following needs to be ensured as a pre-requisite:

– how to engage stakeholders in a productive way

– the modus operandi of their engagement-  for how long, in what way, how many hours a week 

– cities should step aside and be ready to learn, put the stakholders on driving and cities should be facilitators

– put a time frame for each small exercise, with clear planning, implementation and monitoring schedule

– give responsibilities to all and with responsibility come delegation, trust and honesty

– do not make any rules, make systems which facilitate people to come out with innovation. as soon as rules get framed, people come with complaints about its adherence and non-adherence

– bring transparency and publicity using medai, IT and documentation

Rajiv Sharma Engineer, Urban Planner with M.Sc. in Urban Environmental Management from India
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 12.08 pm

What measures do you think are required for cities, businesses, academia, and civil society to encourage broader participation of all urban stakeholders in environmental planning, climate action and disaster risk reduction? 

The role of all the stakeholders is improtant. Since environmental planning, climate action and disaster risk reduction cuts across many sectors and cannot be confined in a jurisdictional boundary, so  its a multi-stakeholder participation which is going to play an important role in its preservation and control.

Now coming to the point that what each of them could contribute is a very difficult question. I say difficult because each of them know their role and responsibilities towards society and planet earth. Cities know that pro-people policy, transparency and strict enforcement is all required to make a difference. Business know how to control pollution, use environmental friendly process, reduce waste and bring efficiency in processing is what is required to bring significant change. Academi know all that needs to be done but they are kept outside the process and civil society feels honoured to implement projects on demonstration basis. They do not have capacity to integrate and scale-up, without which their effort is not significant.

Having said this, the real challenge  is to bring all on a common platform. A platform which has no leader, no vested interest, no hidden rules and no money involved of any kind. The mission should be to improve a city or region and the modus operandi should be lets be the first to do it… All the stakeholders should be confident that whatever they are doing will not be turned down by any authority and would get due recognition. The confidence and clarity is must to engage stakeholders. 

To summarise, its not the quantity but quality time which is important and should be recognised. To engage stakeholders in any project, the following needs to be ensured as a pre-requisite:

– how to engage stakeholders in a productive way

– the modus operandi of their engagement-  for how long, in what way, how many hours a week 

– cities should step aside and be ready to learn, put the stakholders on driving and cities should be facilitators

– put a time frame for each small exercise, with clear planning, implementation and monitoring schedule

– give responsibilities to all and with responsibility come delegation, trust and honesty

– do not make any rules, make systems which facilitate people to come out with innovation. as soon as rules get framed, people come with complaints about its adherence and non-adherence

– bring transparency and publicity using medai, IT and documentation

Marcus Urban Planner from Kenya
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 05.27 am

Dear Rajiv,

Thank you for your contribution, very interesting ‘though’ experiment’ about the ideal platform. How do you think established city authorities could improve their planning and come near to that ‘ideal’ ? Any experience to share from India, in particular in the field of urban environmental planning?

Best, Marcus

Rajiv Sharma Engineer, Urban Planner with M.Sc. in Urban Environmental Management from India
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 12.42 pm

Hello Marcus,

Thanks for your comments. I have to make two points here. The first one being that people want to improve their own living, they like to improve image, their surrounding, their neighbourhood and their society. Often they feel that government comes in way of getting things done, the way they want. In other words they are not consulted not drawn in the planning and monitoring process and not even engaged as informed citizens in feedback. So, although these is law on community participation, thanks to some of the recently lauched programmes, but in reality such laws are not executed in totality. There have been some small interventions where people have come together to improve their own living. The slum networking in Gujarat happened in partnership of government, industry and people. Recently a bridge fully funded by people was got constructed in Punjab. A water supply system in Anathpur, Andhra Pradesh; Swajal dhara programme of government of Uttarakhand and revival of rivers and lakes in different parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat are some of the examples reinforcing the fact that development through partnership is more sustainable, robust and satisfying.

The second point is how to bring all these stakeholders together. Is it by law or by convenience or by need? People will come together if they feel the need for it and if they know that their services should be utilised and they will not be used as rubber stamps. In Delhi, recently community participation was ensured by assigning simple task to volunteers. The idea was to engage them for 1-5 hrs per week, as per their convenience, to monitor and report the process of sanitation in a particular ward. They were ask to monitor the collection of garbage, cleaning or street drains, street sweeping, maintenance of parks etc. These volunteers were asked to send their reports via mobile phone every evening or alternate days. The data codes were given to voluteers which were evaluated in the office of local councillors and send to the commissioner. This strategy led to revolution in this ward. Streets became clean, parks started look like parks, organisations started donating money for local repairs/ improvements and people were happy. Volunteers were very enthothiastic about it since they could see improvement from their own eyes. Gradually, this system was institutionalised and compeltition were organised about clean streets, clean lanes etc. government employees became motivated and started work harder. Some sweepers were  given award for their extraordinary work. Their faily were in tears when the member was called on stage to receive award by the councillor. Each family was proud because they felt that it is their government. This is the power of people.

Hyeseul from Switzerland
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 09.27 am

Question 1. What measures do you think are required for cities, businesses, academia, and civil society to encourage broader participation of all urban stakeholders in environmental planning, climate action and disaster risk reduction?
 
Migrants -whether internal or international -are often excluded from participation to environmental planning, climate action and disaster risk reduction. Yet they face specific issues of access to rights and inclusion. If policies do not give specific attention to migrants and to their specific needs,  they will leave out large numbers of populations from their action. Policies can create conducive environments for migrants to allow them to invest, contribute, transfer funds and create business that contribute to the fight against climate change and to adaptation efforts.
 
IOM has experience and works with migrants, their communities and policy makers to integrate migration into the global and local fight against climate change, please check out: 
 

http://publications.iom.int/bookstore/free/MECC_Outlook.pdf
http://www.iom.int/files/live/sites/iom/files/What-We-Do/docs/IOM-DRR-Co…
  
Question 2. How do you think improved understanding and progress in urban environmental planning, climate action and disaster management are influencing urbanization patterns in developing and developed countries?
 
Climate change policies and actions should integrate migration related matters. Migration is one key response to climate change impacts on people’s  livelihoods.
As long as we leave migrants and migration issues out of the climate environmental planning, climate action and disaster management, we will continue to face urban exclusion, unsafe informal settlements and voices circles of poverty and environmental degradation
 
IOM has experience and works with migrants, their communities and policy makers to integrate migration into the global and local fight against climate change, please check out:

http://environmentalmigration.iom.int/

Marcus Urban Planner from Kenya
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 05.20 am

Dear Hyeseul,

Interesting, thank you for drawing attention to ‘climate migration’, a topic which undoubtedly becomes more and more central and thus needs to inform the the new urban agenda. Out of interest, do you have any specific ideas or experience how climate migration could affect urban planning and design?

Best,

Marcus 

UN-HABITAT
Wed, July 29, 2015 at 02.35 am

With only three days left for the On-line discussion on Urban Dialogues, the  last week’s debate summary as given below also raises few more more questions for the participants to consider and respond.

Summary of the Discussions in the Last Week:

  • Safe Schools:
    • The discussion centred around the planning and provision of ‘safe’ public infrastructure as part of a wider effort on creating more resilient communities. Stakeholders must be consistently involved in safety, design, transport, education, job, legal, and environmental services.
  • Broader Participation in Environmental Planning, Climate Action, and Disaster Risk Reduction:
    • One participant from Ethiopia mentioned that failure to integrate climate action concserns would result in maladaptation. Active participation of all stakeholders may underpin the success of effective sustainable development practices.
    • Additionally, understanding progress in urban environmental planning and disaster management are influencing urbanization patterns in both developing and developed countries. Consequently, developed countries have better environmental planning and have relatively sustainable urbanization patterns. There is a need to mainstream integrated climate action and disaster reduction into urban planning.
  • Additional Questions:
    • Are your country’s urban policies addressing climate change, building resilience to disaster risk and are they well integrated with environmental policies? Do you find any gaps that can be harmonized?
    • The ecological footprint of cities is many times their physical size. Due to fast urbanization, cities face the challenge to preserve the ecosystems that support people and economies. What ways will you suggest to establish harmonious interaction between the natural and built environments?
    • Experience suggests that urban climate action is most successful when all levels of government have shared goals and mechanisms for vertical and horizontal integration. In view of this experience, what would you recommend to harmonize policies from global to local.
    • The three Issue Papers on Urban Ecology and Environment in some form or the other suggests a set of key drivers for action: (i) urban planning and design; (ii) governance; (iii) urban economy & finance; (iv) participation and inclusions; and (v) technology. Would you recommend more drivers, and if yes, which ones?

Good platforms/programmes/initiatives identified and discussed:

An input document was provided with elements to be considered in the new urban agenda from the Ecology and Environment perspective- from civil society roundtables in Ecuador. 

Centro de Investigación de Política Pública y Territorio
Fri, July 24, 2015 at 08.26 pm

El 1 y 2 de julio, en Quito, y el 22 de julio en Guayaquil, Ecuador, se reunió la sociedad civil con cerca de 250 personas en total, para producir los documentos que se adjuntan a continuación, y que constituyen una base para la construcción de la Nueva Agenda Urbana.

CITE


Marcus Urban Planner from Kenya
Thu, July 23, 2015 at 06.33 am

We’d like to suggest a new set of guiding questions for week three, steering the discussion towards solutions, new drivers for action and, ultimately, policies and governance. The initial two guiding questions have sparked a lively debate and some good points were raised. 

Best wishes,

Your moderation team

1. Are your country’s urban policies addressing climate change, building resilience to disaster risk and are they well integrated with environmental policies? Do you find any gaps that can be harmonized?

2. The ecological footprint of cities is many times their physical size. Due to fast urbanization, cities face the challenge to preserve the ecosystems that support people and economies. What ways will you suggest to establish harmonious interaction between the natural and built environments?

3. Experience suggests that urban climate action is most successful when all levels of government have shared goals and mechanisms for vertical and horizontal integration. In view of this experience, what would you recommend to harmonize policies from global to local.

 4. The three Issue Papers on Urban Ecology and Environment in some form or the other suggests a set of key drivers for action: (i) urban planning and design; (ii) governance; (iii) urban economy & finance; (iv) participation and inclusions; and (v) technology. Would you recommend more drivers, and if yes, which ones? 

Marcus Urban Planner
Thu, July 23, 2015 at 05.52 am

—– As a small ‘housekeeping‘ measure, I am copying and re-posting some discussion items that got ‘lost’ due to some technical issues last week. We do value the excellent points raised by colleagues on concrete actions to strengthen involvement in urban matters and appologize for the glitch. Thanks for your understanding and patience. —–

Greetings from Bangladesh !

I am Quazi Baby, Director of Partcipatory Development Action Program (PDAP). I am happy to join with this group

I just like to share that last three years we are working with a poor community where women were neglected. They did not know what is their rights and  how to speak with the high official people for approaching their demands. But after receiving training on leadership, Disaster risk reduction and capacity building, the women are now enough empowed to achieve their rights. 

I am jus sharing with you that women can do so many thnings and can chage the environmental situation of the community, if they get some guidance and proper training.

In  the urban governance issue, we did not see any gender issue which could be helpful for the grassroots women. In today’s crises, it is women and girls who are paying the highest price- as their bodies become battlefields in war zones and they struggle in dangerous circumstances to maintain their dignity and the health and welfare of their families. 

During this century, we have made tremendous gains in advancing the global agenda for women, peace and security. U.N.  security council resolution 1325 adopted in 2000 and subsequent resolutions have triggered new partnership, resources and norms and standards to expand women’s role in peacemaking and peacebuilding and to end sexual violence in conflict. When the council adopted resolution 1820 in 2008, it sent the  strongest message yet condemning the use of sesual violence as a weapon of war and declared the “rape and otherforms of sexual violenc can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act  with respect to genocide.

I would like to ask the issue writer, “why you have ignored the gender issue or women action in your papers”. It is not a general issue, it is a special priority issue.

Thank you.

Rafis Abazov Rafis Abazov, Director MDP/Global; Classroom program and Executive director for Model UN-New Silk Way,
Wed, July 8, 2015 at 05.37 pm

The student youth holds keys to success,

Our expereince of MDP program at Al Farabi KazNU (Kazakhstan) with practical work the Almaty city planers shows that the academic have three ways to involve the student youth into the in environmental planning, climate action and disaster risk reduction

1)     By involving students into the greater participations in environmental planning, climate action and disaster risk reduction

2)     By developing and promoting volunteer activities and participation in various urban projects;

3)     By involving them into research on urban sustainable development and localization of the best practices from around the world 

Marcus Urban Planner
Thu, July 9, 2015 at 09.38 am

Dear Rafis — this is very important and thanks for reminding us about the crucial role of the youths, and students in particular. Do you have a concrete programme/activity where you involve students in urban projects? Best wishes, Marcus

Global Classroom on Sustainable Development/Al Farabi Kazakh National University
Sat, July 11, 2015 at 03.57 am
new

Dear Markus

Yes, we do have a conbcrete program of activities within the academic program and 

course assignments.

As a part of the course requirement we organized our students into several groups 

and teamed up with the local UNDP programs on “The Sustainable transportation of Almaty” and

“The Sustainable urban city” . 

Our students completed several projects conducting small research and working on the implrmentation of the projects. 

The series of project “Biking Habitat” won several small grants from Almaty City Mayor Office. 

Best RA

UN-HABITAT
Sat, July 11, 2015 at 09.32 am
new

Dear RA,

This is a good example of having program of activities within the academic program and course assignments of engaging the youth in research-cum-academic programmes to be replicated by other countries. 

Kulwant Singh

Jerry Velasquez Chief of Section, UNISDR
Tue, July 7, 2015 at 03.25 pm

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, adopted by 187 States at the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March 2015, outlined a number of measures that should be promoted to encourage broader participation of all urban stakeholders in disaster risk reduction. These include:

  • Establish and strengthen government coordination forums composed of relevant stakeholders at local level, such as national and local platforms for disaster risk reduction.
  • Enhance collaboration among people at the local level to disseminate disaster risk information through the involvement of community-based organizations and non-governmental organizations.
  • Ensure the use of traditional, indigenous and local knowledge and practices, as appropriate, to complement scientific knowledge in disaster risk assessment and the development and implementation of policies, strategies, plans and programmes of specific sectors, with a cross-sectoral approach, which should be tailored to localities and to the context;
  • Support the development of local user-friendly systems and services for the exchange of information on good practices, cost-effective and easy-to-use disaster risk reduction technologies and lessons learned on policies, plans and measures for disaster risk reduction;
  • Develop effective campaigns as instruments for public awareness and education to promote a culture of disaster prevention, resilience and responsible citizenship, generate understanding of disaster risk, support mutual learning, share experiences. Encourage public and private stakeholders to actively engage in such initiatives, and develop new ones at local, national, regional and global levels;
  • Promote public scrutiny and encourage institutional debates on progress reports of local and national plans for disaster risk reduction;
  • Promote regular disaster preparedness, response and recovery exercises, including evacuation drills, training and the establishment of area-based support systems, with a view to ensuring rapid and effective response to disasters and related displacement, including access to safe shelter, essential food and non-food relief supplies, as appropriate to local needs;
  • Provide specific knowledge and pragmatic guidance in the context of the development and implementation of normative frameworks, standards and plans for disaster risk reduction; engage in the implementation of local plans and strategies; contribute to and support public awareness, a culture of prevention and education on disaster risk; and advocate for resilient communities and an inclusive and all-of-society disaster risk management which strengthen the synergies across groups, as appropriate.
Saripalli Suryanarayana from
Wed, July 22, 2015 at 09.51 am

“Safe Schools” to be a part of the urban planning , climate action and disaster risk reduction, Has to be a ppp,of government, private stakeholders, cities and civil society.In this process,region wise contineous delibration in all most all corners of urban settlemets,and cities is a must.It has to happen atleast once in a month,so that stake holders are involved in monthy consultation,on what they propogate for safety,design,transport,eduaction,job,legal,environmental.

Addis Ababa University
Wed, July 22, 2015 at 09.34 am

 In my perespective, a vital measure required for cities, businesses, academia, and civil society to encourage broader participation of all urban stakeholders in environmental planning, climate action, and disaster reduction, is to plan for integrated planning and action to address the issue of environment, climate change, and disater reduction. Failure to integrate environmental concerns, climate action, and disaster reduction have been resulting in maladaptation. In other words, many of the previous interventions in developing countries were reductionist in their nature and were not sustainable and inclusive. In most cases the urban poor in cities and towns of developing counties did not benefit from these reductionist problem solving approaches. Hence, I call for integrated environmental planning, climate action, and disaster reduction in urban development policies, programs, and projects  in developing countries  as such problem solving approach may be effective from sustainable development perespective. Active participation of all the stakeholders may underpin the success of such endeavors.

It is also of paramount importance that  improved understanding and progress in urban environmental planning, climate action and disaster management are influencing urbanization patterns in both developing and developed countries. For instance, developed countries have better environmental plannings, mitigation and adaptation measures, and disaster reduction strategies due to the fact that they have better understandings on these issues. As a result they have relatively sustainable urbanization pattern also. In the contrary, developing countries in general and least developed countries in particular, have no sustainable patttern of urbanization. Such haphazard patterns of urbanization in least developed countries are underpinned by poor understanding of issues of environmental planning, climate action, and disaster reduction. Urban areas of developing countries and least developed countries are not livable for citizens as they have no good environmental planning, climate adaptation, and mitigation strategies, and disaster reduction strategies. There is much to be done in cities and towns of developing countries with regard to mainstreaming integrated  climate action and dsiaster reduction into urban planning.

Marcus Urban Planner
Wed, July 22, 2015 at 01.59 pm

Dear colleague from Addis Ababa University,

Very good points you raised and I and many urban professionals agree on the centrality of integrated planning, participation and the short analysis of the challenges in many countries you provided.

It is your last sentence that in particular caught my attention and I’d like to ask what in you view is to be done to integrate CC and DRR into urban planning. What are the success factors?

 Best wishes, 

Marcus

Gemechu Shale Ogato from
Wed, July 22, 2015 at 03.26 pm
Dear Marcus,
Many thanks for asking my view on how to  integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and disaster reduction into urban planning. In my view cities and towns may use GIS and remote sensing technologies to properly identify both climatic and non-climatic risks and disasters. Such studies may also be integrated with participatory urban studies whereby residents of cities and towns of least developed or developing countries may also be enabled to map risks and disasters of their environment. Based on the empirical literature review I have been documenting for my ongoing PhD study, I dare to contend  that cities and towns with better understanding of their climatic risks and non-climatic disaster risks have better adaptation capacity to the aforementioned disaster risks.  Hence, Mainstreaming integrated climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction into urban planning may enable cities and towns of developing countries to adapt to such disaster risks.  For instance, ecosystem based adaptation to climate change may also help cities and towns not to be much affected by urban flooding which may be attributable to climate change and other non-climatic factors like urbanization, land use change, and governance failure. Such integrated urban development planning and management policies and strategies may also be considered to be no-regret options as they will have benefits from sustainable urban development perspective. The real challenge of our current urban development planning is that such climatic risks and non-climatic risks are not properly studied in cities and towns of least developed countries and many of the responses to such risks have been reactive than proactive.

On Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 5:07 PM, <notification@unteamworks.org> wrote:

You

Marcus Urban Planner from Kenya
Wed, July 22, 2015 at 06.27 am

Dear participants and readers, thank you very much for the valuable contributions and excellent points raised. Plese allow us to provide a short summary / update of the second week.

Summary of the Dialogues:

  • Issue Papers for this thematic topic include Urban Resilience, Urban Ecosystems and Resource Management, Cities and Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management
  • The two main questions posed were: What measures do you think are required for cities, businesses, academia, and civil society to encourage broader participation of all urban stakeholders in environmental planning, climate action and disaster risk reduction? How do you think improved understanding and progress in urban environmental planning, climate action and disaster management are influencing urbanization patterns in developing and developed countries?

Summary of the Discussions:

  • The debate and discussion on Urban Ecology and the Environment in the second week continued on the same two questions of the measures required for cities, businesses, academia, and civil society to encourage broader participation of all urban stakeholders in environmental planning, climate action and disaster risk and how an improved understanding and progress in urban environmental planning, climate action and disaster management are influencing urbanization patterns in developing and developed countries.
  • The need for “Safe Schools” to be a part of the urban planning agenda was highlighted. Also the issue of climate action and disaster risk reduction is recognized a very important issue to be tackled through collaboration of the government, private stakeholders, cities and civil society.
  • The rapid changing climate condition is impacting long-term adjustment to changing average climate conditions, increased frequency and/or intensity of climate-related hazards and risk management of geo-physical hazards, which need to be tackled.
  • It is argued that national and provincial governments have to devise policy, Programmes and schemes while the local actions by the local governments need to be more focused on implementation.
  • Reference was also made to the National Mission for Sustainable Habitat in India, which is supposed to be initiated at the national level to guide, motivate, and support lower levels of government. National and Provincial governments accordingly should motivate, guide, engage, support and facilitate city governments and partners to initiate suitable actions.
  • Participants have also highlighted the need for an Environmental Audit and Energy Audit, along with disaster preparedness, which may be included in the financial planning along with physical plan.
Thanks again for those (and other) valuable contributions. We are looking forward to your continued contributions!
Your moderation team
Kehkashan Basu Youth Ambassador / Commission Member of Ending Violence Against Women and Girls
Sun, July 19, 2015 at 04.23 pm

Urban planning needs to incorporate “Safe Schools” as an integral part of their development plan. This has been an issue which forms an important ingredient of the Disaster Risk Resilience Plan for any urban society . However , most of the responses so far have been reactionary i.e. after some mishap has happened , such as the incident in Nigeria or Pakistan. But there needs to cooradinated pre-planning to make this not just a part of the local agenda but that of the national agenda as well . Schools and young people , especially girls are extremely vulnerable to both pre-meditated and natural disasters , hence the need for “Safe Schools” to be a part of the urban planning agenda .               Posted by Ms Kehkashan Basu , 15 years old , Youth Ambassador for World Future Council and Outgoing Global Coordinator for Children and Youth at UNEP MGFC.

UN-HABITAT
Tue, July 21, 2015 at 03.09 am

Dear Kehkashan,

I fully agree with your suggestion that Urban planning needs to incorporate “Safe Schools” as an integral part of their development plan and as far as possible there should be integrated pre-planning to make this both a part of the local and national agenda.Best WishesKulwant Singh

UN-HABITAT
Tue, July 21, 2015 at 03.09 am

Dear Kehkashan,

I fully agree with your suggestion that Urban planning needs to incorporate “Safe Schools” as an integral part of their development plan and as far as possible there should be integrated pre-planning to make this both a part of the local and national agenda.Best WishesKulwant Singh

UN-HABITAT
Tue, July 21, 2015 at 03.07 am

Dear Kehkashan,

I fully agree with your suggestion that Urban planning needs to incorporate “Safe Schools” as an integral part of their development plan and as far as possible and there should be integrated pre-planning to make this both a part of the local and national agenda.Best WishesKulwant Singh

Dr.Amb.Asabe Shehu Yar’Adua Presides over every departments to achieve aims and objectives of the Organisation.
Thu, July 16, 2015 at 05.15 pm

The issue of climate action and disaster risk reduction is very important issues that need collaboration of the government, private stakeholders, cities and civil society to participate and tackle together.

We all need to understand and make awareness of the rapid changing climate condition, the exposure of the ozone layer and its effects and consequences on Human.

Firstly, Long-term adjustment to changing average climate conditions (such as sea-level rise, air temperature increase) has to be considered and tackled.

Secondly, increased frequency and/or intensity of climate-related hazards (such as storms, floods, droughts, and landslides).has be tackled too and  

Thirdly, Risk management of geo-physical hazards (such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions).

Professor K K Pandey reseachr from India
Tue, July 14, 2015 at 05.30 am

Agenda as briefly indicaed in the earlier post is two fold:(i)Facilitation for local Actions by higher levels of government and(ii)Municipal agenda.

Whereas the facilitation agenda includes national and provincial governments to device policy,programmes and schemes, the local actions are more focussed to implimentation.

National/Provincial govts have to

identify magnitude of urban environment,climate change and disaster issues particularly with regards to waste disposal,Air, noise pollution and congestion(residential) , social forestry  and conservation of natural resources.

At the same time regulatory mechanism (Acts,Codes,Guidelines,Manuals,Checklists)in this regard is equally important to guide, monitor and facilitate stakeholders to take follow up actions.

Third important point is to promote transfer of skills and expertise from country to country and city to city basis.

Suitable mechanism to ensure requisite funds-grants,subsidies,loans etc need to be also created.

Local Govt. on the other hand has to

assess environment,climate change and disaster preparedness at grass root level(flood,earthquack,pollution,congestion , energy use,green environment)

prepare conceptual and detailed plan on each of its focus areas

contact variuos stakeholders for possible support covering upward and downward scanning of potential partners which include higher levels of governments,participating agencies,NGOS ,civil society,educational institutions etc.

incorporate plans into mannual budgets

Impliment ,Monitor and evaluate  implimention for further follow up.

In India , there is National Mission for Sustainable Habitat supposed to be initiated at National level to guide,motivate and support lower levels of government.However, we need to activate this mission to deliver fast as per requirements.Efforts currently are many as indicated earlier.However,we have to focus more as per requirement in a mission mode approach.Similarly there may be similar efforts across the board at different levels of success.  

Professor K K Pandey Reseacher/Trainer from India
Sun, July 12, 2015 at 05.17 am
  • Some important suggestions for developng economies may include:
  • Focus on environmeny,climate chane(adaptation and mitigation) is a cross ctting theme for the city governments and its partners  and is linked with many of their individual functions such as  wter,sanitation,street lighting,social forestry ,roads and related services,transport and traffic,community services etc.
  • National and Provicial governments accordingly should motivate,guide,engage,support and facilitate city govts and partners to initiate suitable actions.
  • Experience sharing and transfer of knowledge and capacity building needs to be designed accordingly.
  • suitable funding for Environment/climate change and Disaster management needs to be identified exclusively as part of intergovernmental transfers.
  • environmental Audit and Energy audit alongwith disaster prepardness should be included in the financial planning alongwith suitable physical plan.
  • Inter municipal cooperation and a regional system of service delivery could be developed to follow global and national policy objectives at local level.It is also essential to have economies  of scale and viable transfer of experience and expertise.
UN-HABITAT
Sat, July 11, 2015 at 05.53 am

Dear Professor Pandey,

Thanks you very much for emphasising the role of Local Governments and other Urban Local Bodies in building urban resilience and Climate change mitigation as well as disaster risk management. One would fully agree the need for strengthening and empowering these local governments through building their capacity. Based on your experience of India, do you have any specific recommendations for other developing countries in different regions of the world.

Kulwant Singh

UN-Habitat

UN-HABITAT
Sat, July 11, 2015 at 05.53 am

Dear Professor Pandey,

Thanks you very much for emphasising the role of Local Governments and other Urban Local Bodies in building urban resilience and Climate change mitigation as well as disaster risk management. One would fully agree the need for strengthening and empowering these local governments through building their capacity. Based on your experience of India, do you have any specific recommendations for other developing countries in different regions of the world.

Kulwant Singh

UN-Habitat

UN-HABITAT
Sat, July 11, 2015 at 05.52 am

Dear Professor Pandey,

Thanks you very much for emphasising the role of Local Governments and other Urban Local Bodies in building urban resilience and Climate change mitigation as well as disaster risk management. One would fully agree the need for strengthening and empowering these local governments through building their capacity. Based on your experience of India, do you have any specific recommendations for other developing countries in different regions of the world.

Kulwant Singh

UN-Habitat

Professor K K Pandey reseachr
Sat, July 11, 2015 at 05.19 am

There is a need to create local governments awareness,capacity and participation in the issues pertaining to environment,climate change and disater management.All the three areas are interlinked to each other and need local actions.       National and provincial governments have to   engage,guide,motivate support and empower local governments  accordingly.

Specific initiaves are emerging across the bord.India has included environment in the schedule xii as part of 74 CAA to empower urban govts(1993),Model municipal Law(2001)makes a provision for energy audit and environmental audit,Ministry of Environment and Forest(2012)has issued guidelines for END of the Use Disposal Norms for electronic waste,and National Disaster Management Authority has issued guidelines for Urban Flooding(2013).Besides this there are guidelines for earthquack resistence and Energy conservation building code has been prepared.

However,implimentation of these initiatives is far from satisfactory due to inadequate involvement of city governments.for example we have N ational Disaster Management Authority N(DMA,)S (state)DMA and D(district)DMA to take up measures on disater management ,but their access to city government is missing.This also leads to delinking the community awareness.However information and awareness is the key to address environment successfully.

Therefore,we need a greater integration of public sector schemes and programmes at local level at town hall and below the town hall.Education(schools),mediaand civil society need to be linked through larger role of local government.in this regard we need to give due cognizance to existing good practicesfor wider dissemination and replication.In India for example efforts on rain water harvesting(Bangalore,Chennai),preparation of Environmental Impact Assessment Reports in Maharashtra ,Scientific disposal of waste in Bangalore,Pune,Mumbai etc need to be widely understood by respective stakeholders in the context of 8000 urban centres.

INSTITUTO EVENTOS AMBIENTAIS – IEVA
Sat, July 11, 2015 at 12.41 am

We need a broader definition of ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES – TEEB. 

There is an immediate need for recognition of URBAN ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES , being forgotten by most legislators and governors.  We recognice the TEEB´s, but we need to recognice the value of the urban services, not ony the natural services. Today, in Brazil, many collectors and solid waste separators are already considered as micro entrepreneurs and owners of labor unions. They provide an urban environmental service, when taking the waste, separating and after, transform them into useful products crafts and again, with great economic value. The Solidarity and Creative Economy, should be considered when trying to insert the idea ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES URBAN. Besides the work of scavengers, another important service, is represented by the preservation of artificial and cultural heritage. Public monuments, when kept and preserved, can also add value to urban ambience. And this preservation can be developed by actors who are excluded by society. 

UN-HABITAT
Sat, July 11, 2015 at 12.54 pm

This suggestion from INSTITUTO EVENTOS AMBIENTAIS – IEVA for recognition of URBAN ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES
is highly appreciable. However, kindly elaborate the role of scavengers (as actors who are excluded by society) for the
preservation of artificial and cultural heritage.Kulwant Singh – UN-Habitat

Anna Sjödin Flood Risk Manager, City of Karlstad.
Wed, July 8, 2015 at 01.35 pm

Urban environmental planning is of great importance, both to enhance mitigation of climate change and to reduce disaster risks. With good urban planning we can build resilient cities.

To reach understanding of how to plan for mitigation and disaster risk reduction, it is necessary that these issues are implemented into the whole organization and that there is a knowledge of how to use, for example,  green and blue infrastructure as a mitigation and adaptation tool. There is also important to see the possibilities with
environmental planning; there are synergy effects to reach for and it is more cost-effective with prevention.

Risk assessments and mapping are good tools to planners, also guidelines of environmental planning adapted to the city´s local needs and conditions. But most important is that there is an understanding and a willingness to change
focus to an eco-system based city, where we make space for green measures and public transportation systems at expense of space for cars and grey infrastructure.

Using green and blue infrastructure as strategic investments can reduce urban heating and storm-water flooding. Green and blue infrastructure can help stop run-off pollution by capturing rainwater and either storing it for use or letting it filter back into the ground.  Water and vegetation can also lower exterior temperatures and help regulate indoor temperatures. These solutions have the added benefits of aesthetic neighborhood enhancement, cooling and cleansing the air, reducing
asthma and heat-related illnesses and lowering heating and cooling energy costs. It also provides habitat to insects which is important for pollination of flowers and, in the end, our food industry.

When it comes to using green infrastructure as disaster risk reduction measures, it is important to know how to use them, so it will not enhance the problems instead. For example, how trees should be placed to decrease temperature and take care of storm-water but also to allow wind to be able to transport air pollution off the ground. How large area is needed to have a wetland serve as both a retaining area for floods and as a measure to lower temperature. Therefore it is important that we
can use research and develop guidelines that practitioners can use to make progress in environmental planning.

There are many good examples of cities who reach for this kind of planning, who has realized that we must change focus, both in developing and developed countries as Mr Velasquez mention above. There are also several networks of cities working with these issues, local and global, and the interest is growing.

Marcus Urban Planner
Thu, July 9, 2015 at 09.25 am

Dear Anna, thank you very much for this interesting and practical contribution. Out of curiosity, can you elaborate a little more about blue infrastructure and how it can shape urbanization patterns in your city (and potentially others as well). Best regards, Marcus

Anna Sjödin Flood Risk Manager, City of Karlstad.
Sat, July 11, 2015 at 05.27 am

Dear Marcus,

Thank you for your comment. Yes, I will try to elaborate what I mean with blue infrastructure.

When speaking about green-blue infrastructure, the “blue” stands for the water, to emphasize the important role of water. For example, when speaking of green infrastructure and handling storm water runoff, we focus more on the green infiltration and plants that can absorb pollutants. But if we use blue structures, we work with keeping the water visible in ditches or ponds. Open water surfaces in cities can help take care of storm water flooding and to regulate temperature. It can also be used as cooling for buildings and for
humans at heat waves. Unfortunately many cities have been developed by either sending the water into culverts or by filling up wetlands.

My city is built on a delta, where the river Klarälven flows into lake Vänern, the largest lake in EU. We are surrounded by water. This results in a severe risk of
flooding, but it also gives the city its special character and multiple benefits, both environmental but also socially. The water helps regulate the
climate, it cools in the summer and keep the winters mild. It serves as recipient for storm water and we have good access to ground water (drinking
water). The river and lake is clean and people can swim in the middle of the city, which is good for cooling at heat waves. We also use the water as cooling
system for buildings (district cooling). The water contributes to a variety in ecosystems.

In Malmö, a city in southern part of Sweden, the city has transformed housing area Augustenborg (built in 1950), which often were flooded from storm water, to an
area that is not flooded any more. The area has also, due to the green-blue infrastructure measures, become an area popular to live in and with less social
problems than before; http://www.byplanlab.dk/sites/default/files1/TomasLeidtstedt3.pdf

The link is to a presentation in Swedish, but there are several photos that show the system.

Jerry Velasquez Chief of Section, UNISDR
Tue, July 7, 2015 at 03.46 pm

There are many examples where improved understanding and progress in urban climate action, including disaster risk management, are influencing urbanization patterns in different countries, including developing countries and developed countries. Understanding risk is a priority for action under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which was adopted by 187 States at the 3rd Un World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction last march 2015.

  • For example, following the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 New Zealand developed a strategic plan to manage future growth called the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy (UDS), which looks into where development should occur in the city and the districts. The strategy was driven by projections that indicated that the population in the greater Christchurch area would grow from 350,000 people to 470,000 over the next 35 years. Threats posed by natural hazards, such as earthquakes, floods and rock falls, were factored in to ensure the most appropriate land was identified for development. The implementation of the strategy focuses on improving the settlement pattern, transport network, urban design and housing, central city revitalization and water management.
  • Another example is Scotland, where national planning policy has reduced construction on flood plains to almost zero since 1995. The approach is founded on public-private partnerships with strong involvement of real estate developer and insurers. Local governments are legally obliged to set up Flood Liaison Advice Groups (FLAG) as non-statutory bodies of public and private sector representatives. Only one local authority, Moray, did not engage and continued construction in floodplains. Consequently, it now has serious problems with flooding, and access to flood insurance.
  • Also, instead of spending US$6.8 billion in drainage improvements, New York invested US$5.3 billion in green infrastructure – permeable pavements, more green areas, and other measures to address drainage capacity. Green infrastructure acts like a sponge – absorbing and regulating peak water flows. These and similar measures have many other co-benefits, including improving water quality, reducing urban heat islands and making cities more livable.
  • In the Philippines where Governor Joey Sarte Salceda of Albay Province has adopted a priority policy on reducing exposure first, and then proceeds to reduce vulnerabilities, both on a continuous basis. Explaining his policy, Governor Salceda notes that “people have the basic right to the capacity to adapt; relief, recovery and rehabilitation are essentially compensation [penalty] of the State for failing to reduce exposure and to increase capacity. No [need for] evacuation if [the] vulnerable is relocated. No rescue, if evacuated. No rehabilitation, if homes are built safely. The more disasters, the higher the rights of the vulnerable, [and] the higher the duties of the State.”
  • Another UNISDR champion, Emilio Graterón, major of the district of Chacao, Caracas, Venezuela highlights the importance of building resilience as the solution to socio-economic exposure noting that “Local governments are called to be leaders of resilience and be advocates for social change for sustainability. Through participatory planning of our cities, with the knowledge of our realities, achieve collective resilience and overcome the challenges of a complex and changing environment. Only then cease to be prophets of disasters and become leaders of resilience … “
  • Similarly, San Francisco, a small coastal town in Cebu Province in the Philippines prone to typhoons, won the top UNISDR Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction in 2011, for their innovative (also known as Purok system) of self-organization within villages where members voluntarily contribute to a money bank used by those in need of emergency funds after a disaster. Also, with limited access to the Internet, cellphones and radios, the Purok system is used to disseminate information and risk assessments, with Purok coordinators acting as couriers of information to residents.
  • The Sasakawa award winner in 2013, the City Council of Belo Horizonte, Brazil organizes inspections of all of the city’s most vulnerable areas. Area residents, local fire department, water, sewage and energy companies, and representatives of private businesses perform inspections. In places of medium or low risk, residents, with building material and technical guidance from the Council, carry out small public works. In areas of high risk, the Council is working to relocate families to public housing in safer locations. In addition, the ‘Nuclei of Rainfall Alert’ group, comprising networks of residents, issues alerts and strengthens preventive and mitigation measures. For instance, it marks risky locations on Google maps and indicates the best escape routes. Alerts are issued by telephone calls and SMS to city managers, community leaders and the press, and to the general public by e-mail, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Mexico City’s Climate Action Plan is a collaborative effort between many governmental and private institutions that includes a total of 44 specific actions focused on energy and water savings, transportation, waste management and reforestation; it set a target of removing seven million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. During the H1N1 crisis the metro trains were disinfected after completing each route (25 million people travel on it every day). It won the World Mayor’s Award for its management of the crisis.
Marcus Urban Planner
Wed, July 8, 2015 at 06.14 am

Thank you very much for these excellent examples Jerry. What key aspects in the new Sendai Framework could be instrumental to replicate and facilitate city action like you described in your examples?