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Reducing Impact of Disaster in Cities

The term resilience was coined by an economist . C.S Holling in 1973. The word resilience is derived from the Latin word ‘resilient’ which means to ‘rebound’ or to ‘recoil’. Resilience was seen as a concept to understand the capacity of ecosystems in relation to external threats.

The concept of resilience is seen as a useful way of understanding, and explaining, how social-ecological systems respond to change and disturbance. It is also seen as a desired attribute of cities in modern urban planning and management strategies. Systems which increase and incorporate resilience, enable cities to withstand shocks from man-made and natural disasters. A focus on resilience and the resulting strengthening of the self-organization capacity of urban systems is also regarded as a means of improving the sustainability of cities. It is becoming more and more important to make our cities more resilient and disaster proof. The increase in population which is also known as “Urban Growth” does not seems to stop any time soon.

How to defile Resilience in cities?

It is defined as ‗the capacity to prevent, mitigate, absorb, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the impacts of disasters‘. Building resilience to disaster risks enhances our ability to minimise the effects of the future disaster events on our communities, economy and environment. It also means that we efficiently and effectively cope with the impacts of disasters when they occur in the future. Cities are complex and dynamic systems in which technological, natural, and social components interact amongst themselves. Disaster resilience requires combinations of apparent opposites: redundancy and efficiency, diversity and interdependence, strength and flexibility, autonomy and collaboration, planning and adaptability. Increase disaster in cities or the inability of city administration might lead to counter urbanisation in some cases.

 

 

It also means that we efficiently and effectively cope with the impacts of disasters when they do occur in the future.In today’s world of rapidly changing environment ,increasing urbanization and vulnerability ,it is very crucial to embed the concept of resilience into the development planning of our cities in order to have a sustainable development. Planning a city without a robust resilience strategy to cope from disasters is equivalent to wasting resources and putting people ,infrastructure, assets and economy at risk .Disaster resilience is thus a desired attribute which cities should possess in their urban planning and management strategies. Systems which increase and incorporate resilience, enable cities to withstand shocks from man-made and natural disasters.

How environment and land utilization effect resilience

Land use and land utilisation have a major impact on geological environment and the natural resources including water, soil, forests nutrients, plants and animals. Land use can be used as a crucial tool for attaining sustainable development via planning and developing solutions to the urban issues and the conflict between the environment . Land-use planning is a carefully designed and rigorously  implemented, and is the most useful approach to managing urban population growth and minimizing associated risks of hazards. It is also one of the most challenging to implement because of conflicting values held about land by different segments of the population.

Knowledge of the relationships between development, land use and disaster risks provide planners a much deeper understanding of what drives people to locate themselves in high risk and vulnerable areas. The location of residential areas, industries, critical infrastructure and services are crucial parameters that define the vulnerability of communities to hazards. Thus, land use planning is extremely instrumental in addressing the challenges posed by natural hazards and its vulnerability on built environment. Through land use planning vulnerability parameters can be modified to reduce risks. With its array of regulatory and non-regulatory techniques and mechanisms, land use planning can surely become an effective tool for disaster risk reduction.

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robbert whitticker

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