Planning and Disasters

Urban and regional planning plays and will play an important role in coping with natural disasters, especially to those related to climate change. The effects of climate change are indeed increasing the exposure to disaster risk in highly anthropic and vulnerable contexts. In order to deal with climatic hazard phenomena, it is necessary to take into account different typologies of risk reduction measures that need to be mainstreamed in urban policies and planning. These include: ‘preventive’ measures aimed at reducing natural hazard(s), vulnerability reduction measures and measures aimed at establishing disaster response and recovery mechanism and structures, i.e. at enhancing the capacity of urban and territorial systems to deal with changes and to adapt to new conditions.

At a theoretical level, planning should actively promote a transition towards urban and territorial disaster resilience and sustainability. To this regard, planning should on the one hand support citizens to cope with disaster risk and effects, and on the other hand to enhance the capacity of urban systems to face uncertainty and change in an adaptive perspective.

With respect to planning practice, an effort is needed in order to identify risk reduction measures capable of facing location-specific vulnerabilities and of promoting response and recovery measures in sites affected by extreme climatic events. More specifically, it is necessary to identify operative and methodological frames that can support planners and decision-makers in defining proper measures. In addition, a broad reflection by both academics and practitioners about the dimensions relevant in dealing with climatic risk at different scales is needed. A further element to be addressed concerns the identification of planning and policy tools to be used to mitigate climatic risk and manage disasters.

Among these themes, we focus in particular on the following topics:

  • Adaptive planning and the disaster cycle: prevention, mitigation, and response;
  • Planning tools and disaster risk reduction;
  • Post-disaster recovery: ordinary and extra-ordinary planning;
  • Climatic risk reduction and new technologies;
  • Climatic risk mitigation and participatory processes.