Environment & Urbanization

World leading environmental and urban studies journal

Cities, Disaster Risk and Adaptation

Christine Wamsler




Following  Rio+20 (the UN Conference on Sustainable Development) and the call for climate and disaster risk reduction as priority areas for sustainable development, this book presents a timely re-evaluation of current urban planning strategies.

Written for students and city planners, it brings disaster risk and adaptation literature together and views disaster risks as being strongly influenced by a changing climate. Bringing the specific urban aspects of risks to the forefront, the book uses many case studies, often from the Latin American and Swedish context, to illustrate the complexities of different urban actors in responding and effectively adapting to climate change-related risks. The examples challenge notions of engineering and physical planning as dominant solution pathways, and also point to the need to contextualize adaptation measures in to make them suitable for different cities and their inhabitants.

The book is written in textbook style and tries to actively engage its readers through thought-provoking questions and tests at the end of each chapter, which makes it suitable for classroom or group reading. The first part introduces key concepts for understanding the linkages between disasters and cities; and the second part provides ample practice examples of measures, strategies and initiatives from diverse settings (e.g. low-, medium- and high-income nations in different continents). Moving on from these more descriptive parts, the last chapters address potential ways forward by providing an analysis of current tensions between theory and practice, and the resulting gaps and challenges.

Throughout the theoretical and practical analysis, the book advocates for more holistic management strategies, which integrate urban risk reduction and adaptation, combine bottom-up and top-down approaches and make use of the institutional and local citizens’ capacities, in order to arrive at disaster-resilient cities.

While each of the 10 planning principles suggested at the end of the book might not seem ground-breaking or particularly critical or thought-provoking to readers from the respective urban disciplines, it is the integrative way of thinking about them and embedding them in comprehensive theoretical and practical discussion throughout that makes this book a rich resource.

Booknote prepared by Julia Wesely.

More details: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415591034/

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