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DRIE Central Luncheon, June 2011 Presenter: Michael Dudley, Research Associate, Institute of Urban Studies, University of Winnipeg
How many recent natural disasters that have befallen metropolitan areas in the past several years (forest fires, floods and earthquakes) aren't so much "natural" but are instead the result of (or exacerbated by) poor planning decisions in the past, such as building on flood plains and other vulnerable locations, but that our "psychology of previous investment" prevents us from altering our building patterns? As well, our rigid, centralized "big pipes" approach to city building, infrastructure and commodities makes our cities vulnerable to shocks and system breakdowns, such as those associated with energy prices and availability. The presentation will argue for the incorporation of resilience principles in urban planning, which in many ways will mean a return to historical practices and forms.
Japan Prepared for Disaster – but not toRespond?“Japan’s Full — and Perplexing — Recovery Needs” by Edward J.Blakeley Reputation for disaster preparedness Unable to respond effectively Strongly hierarchical, insular and conformist society …Decentralized, spontaneous response Lack of flexibility and adaptability
Creativity+Timothy Hamilton [flickr] Nature of disaster risk must be continually beredefined with changes to urbanization and socio- economic conditions (Mitchell 1999) Bekbek 75, flickr
The Evolving Nature of Disaster Increasingly urban: uncontrolled, inappropriate and conventional Governance: Incommensurate with growing demands Political Economy: Economic crisis, decline of the State
Seven Attributes of CrisisSituations (Alterman 2002) High degree of uncertainty and dependence on exogenous variables High degree of change High magnitude of risks and perceived threats System wide and complex anticipated impacts
Seven Attributes of CrisisSituations (Alterman 2002) Low degree of knowledge and understanding; existing solutions inadequate Challenge to the “symbolic” level [goals, norms and values]; low degree of goal consensus Urgency; high cost to delay
Pt 2: Urban planning and crisis: A problematic relationship
Rational Process Planning Assess Alternative Plan Scenarios Select the Preferred Alternative Implement the Plan Monitor, Evaluate and Revise the Implementation Identify New Problems and Begin the Process again
Five questions of urban planning What is the justification of planning? What values are incorporated within planning? What ethical dilemmas do planners face? How can planning be effective within a mixed economy? Style of planning: what do planners do?
Who Does Planning? City and County Planners City Council members Board of Supervisors Redevelopment Agencies Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development Local Non-profit Organizations International Organizations Community Activists Community Business Leaders
Where does Planning Occur in theDevelopment Process? Home & Community Development Neighborhood Revitalization Planning Economic Development Planning Response to Economic, Political and External Activities. Land Use Decision Making General Overall Change in Local and World Activities.
Assumptions of Rational PlanningOnly Facts Exist No values (subjective belief systems) All variables exist within an interconnected and closed system (no unforeseeable variables)A Rational-Deductive sequence of events If ‘A’ happens, then ‘B’ will follow No need for political strategies Not suited for crisis or unforeseen events
What is the Justification ofPlanning? It is possible to rationally plan for the future by analyzing and integrating as many variables as possible Planning is primarily technical, professional and apolitical There is a unitary public interest; The goals of planning are universally shared
What is the Justification of Planning?To Serve the “Public Interest” (or “Public Good”) -- this is the Legal justification for PlanningSocial Equity = Fair access and distribution of public goods -- this is the Principal moral justification guiding public/governmental actions
Ethical Dilemmas in Planning Planning is inherently distributional Planning is inherently political Planning as a profession cannot adopt a cohesive political philosophy, but planners as individuals do
Dominant ParadigmComprehensive / Rational model of problem solvingSense of scientific “detachment” and unaffectedobjectivityNon-politicalEfficiency: e.g., circulation of people andcommoditiesNormative middle-class aspirations
Rational Process PlanningBasic Steps: Identify a Problem Identify a Goal Collect Background Data Identify a Means of Assessing Alternative Plan Scenarios Identify Alternative Plan Scenarios
“Wicked Problems”(Rittel & Webber 1973)Goals and objectives, as well as means to achieve them, are often uncertain “wicked problems” concerned primarily with public issues broadly defined groups/clients diverse interests
“Wicked Problems”(Rittel & Webber 1973) There is no definitive problem formulation Every problem is unique Every problem a symptom of another problem Problems can be explained in numerous ways; each explanation leads to different approaches
“Wicked Problems”(Rittel & Webber 1973) No stopping rule Solutions not right or wrong, but better or worse No ultimate test of solutions Every attempt counts Planner has no right to be wrong
Pt. 3: A new narrative: From“Sustainability” to “Resilience”
Resilience(Summarized in Dudley 2010) self-organization flexibility and adaptation through redundancy distribution of resources the development of learning capacity loosening of interconnections
Resilience vs. SustainabilityAndrew McMurray, “The Rhetoric of Resilience”Alternatives 36: 2 1010, p. 22.“Resilience implies action: to be resilient. Resilience implies an inner toughness: the strength, as its etymology tells us, to jump back to a previous state. Sustainability, by contrast, suggests a defensive posture, a desire to stay the same, to resist change without the…ability to push back against change and win out. Resilience also connotes a measure of risk, while sustainability suggests that systems are set: they simply need to be cared for and so carried forward...”
Coast guard News [flickr] Adrian DP [flickr] ChrisGoldNY [flickr]
“A Paradise Built in Hell”Solnit, 2009 Spirit of cooperation under crisis and disaster situations “Disaster utopias” Over-reaction by panicked authorities Contrast: “Slow-motion disaster” of everyday life
Building with Natural ProcessesHough, “Cities and Natural Process” 2004 Process-oriented: dynamism, change over time, rather than frozen Economy of means Connectedness – regional – watershed, bioregion Awareness of natural processes Diversity Development as environmental enhancement Make life-sustaining processes visible
Planning for Resilience Anticipate discontinuity Self-organization Increased learning capacity Adaptive strategies: Improvization and invention Loosening of interconnections Contingency: Procedures must always be open to change Renewed narrative of community, cooperation and common purpose Anticipate generosity and mutuality
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