Cities experiment with planning Disaster Risk Management

From October 2nd to 4th the partners of the CapaCities project organised their third international meeting for Learning & Experience Sharing (LES). The main topic of the three days was “Disaster Risk Management Planning”. In several lectures the approach to planning DRM was outlined, while workshops were held to practically experiment with different methods. Click here to view all the presentations.

In the general introduction about DRM planning the CapaCities Core Team explained the basics of planning how risks can be reduced, adapted to or mitigated in terms of impacts and likelihood by implementing selected prevention and preparedness measures. The different scopes of DRM planning were highlighted from broad to narrow: holistic multi-hazard planning, sectoral planning, hazard-specific planning and area specific planning. Within the framework of the CapaCities project, two main planning process will be used to inform the resulting holistic DRM strategy: self-assessment to identify gaps in basic DRM capacities and risk-assessment to identify risk-specific DRM policies.

In the first workshop the method of Bow-Tie Analysis was presented. This method can be used to identify potential risk-specific DRM policies and measures. The focal points experimented with the development of Bow-Ties for industrial hazards, floods, urban fires and earthquakes. Besides the practical application of the method, the focal points learned about the importance of multi-stakeholder involvement to identify potential “safety barriers” from different perspectives. After all, for holistic DRM planning a multi-hazard risk assessment will include multiple kinds of impacts (like physical, economic, environmental and social-political), for which different kinds of measures should be identified by all kinds of sectors and stakeholders.

The second workshop zoomed in on the use of spatial planning to create safety. Basic “spatial safety” principles were discussed, like permits for hazardous activities, zoning of hazards and vulnerable assets, safe construction design and accessibility for escape and rescue. The principle of micro-zonation was explained in some more detail, using the example of seismic risks. In the workshop exercise the focal points selected spatially relevant DRM measures from the previously developed Bow-Ties and experimented on their own city maps with creating relevant zones for the implementation of these measures. The example of seismic risk in Kutaisi was an eye-opener: the geological map showed the specific vulnerability of a large part of the city centre for seismic shaking, due to ancient river deposits. This creates a whole new insight in the spatial prioritization of policies for seismic vulnerability reduction such as seismic retrofitting. The first day was closed with a city walk in Ararat to showcase the different kinds of building design characteristics and their seismic vulnerability.

On the second day guest teacher Tuna Onur (seismic top-expert from Canada) presented the use of building codes to reduce vulnerability for hazards like earthquakes, floods and fires. The different design requirements for different priority categories of buildings were discussed. The focus was on the specific instruments in the hands of local governments, such as building code enforcement, land use planning, zoning and additional local regulations for high-risk areas. In a practical exercise the focal points discussed what their main local issues regarding building codes are: the types of hazards, the different areas, the construction types, the different usage of buildings. It was concluded that spatial planning and building code enforcement are perhaps the most fundamental risk mitigation options for local governments, that require serious attention in the holistic DRM strategies.

Afterwards the CapaCities Core Team presented the different approaches to capacity analysis, such as cost-benefit analysis and multi-criteria analysis. In the afternoon a workshop was held about DRM planning related to Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Development. In the practical exercise the focal points identified potential measures for their own cities, prioritized them and discussed potential local alliance partners to get these priorities of the ground. Meanwhile, in parallel the local stakeholders of Ararat discussed the seismic vulnerability of their city with international expert Ms. Onur.

On the third day the focal points presented their progress so-far and their plans for the coming period to the Steering Committee, consisting of the Mayors of Alblasserdam (Safety Region South-Holland South), Ararat, Kutaisi and Ungheni. The Mayors were impressed with the progress made. They indicated the level of knowledge and insight has definitely improved. The project is perfectly on time with its deliverables and within the budget. The Mayors look forward to the concrete local actions that will be deployed by the focal points in the coming period.

%d bloggers like this: