Medium_zorica-oct11-phedits Resilience in Rio?

26 Jul 12:04

Prof. Zorica Nedović Budić

Spotlight on urban resilience and planning in Rio de Janeiro – host of the World Planning Schools Congress (WPSC) and the Olympics in 2016

Mural in Rio de Janeiro (Image Prof. Zorica Nedovic-Budic)

Rio de Janeiro – the focus of global attention this summer for hosting the Olympic Games, but also the 4th World Planning Schools Congress (WPSC). Rio is a unique and beautiful place with coexisting worlds of natural and built environment, colonial history and modern socio-political reality, diverse multi-racial and multi-cultural people living joint and separate public and private existences in wealth and poverty, and all claiming their spots under the Brazilian sun! This co-existence includes conflict and struggle for space and means of subsistence and many environmental, economic and social challenges. Here, where global North and South meet, resilience and sustainability are put to a real test.

Rio was the perfect location for the WPSC which was organised by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the Global Planning Education Association Network (GPEAN). The Congress commenced with a thought provoking keynote by Professor Faranak Miraftab of the University of Illinois on Insurgency, Planning and the Prospect of a Humane Urbanism. The Congress proceeded with a variety of themes addressed through presentations and panel discussions. The imminent hosting of the Olympic Games in Rio provided a rich material for exploring and exposing the planning issues related to the government’s investments in accommodation and sports and transportation infrastructure. The impact on the local communities and the question of who will mostly benefit from these major investments after the Games are finished, were all brought up and examined both in the session and organised site visits. More information on Rio’s case along with many other Olympic cities and the urban projects and change instigated in the course of their preparation to host the Games is available in the freshly published volume edited by John R. Gold and Margaret M. Gold Olympic Cities: City Agendas, Planning, and the World’s Games, 1896 – 2020 (2017, Routledge, 3rd Edition).

The panelists – Ahmad Nazri Muhamad Ludin (Malaysia), Andrea Frank (UK), Zorica Nedovic-Budic (Ireland), and Richard Sliuzas (The Netherlands, back row) (Image Prof. Zorica Nedovic-Budic)

The TURAS project was well represented in several sessions, including a plenary session on Educating Planners for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), organised by the Association of European Schools of Planning "(ext)Resilience and Risks Mitigation Strategies ": thematic group. The session was introduced via a video by Mr. Jerry Velasquez of the United Nation’s Office of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), who reviewed the main tenets of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015-2030, adopted as a companion to the Sustainable Development Goals. As the head of Making Cities Resilient campaign which works with 3500 cities around the world and supports them in their efforts to increase local resilience and enhance their own resilience capacity by partnering with other cities globally.

The panel of academics from the United Kingdom (Prof. Andrea Frank, Cardiff), The Netherlands (Dr. Richard Sliuzas, University of Twente / ITC), Malaysia (Prof. Ahmad Nazri Muhamad Ludin, UTM), and Ireland (Prof. Zorica Nedović-Budić, UCD), discussed the issues of introducing DRR more explicitly as content in planning courses vis a vis accreditation requirements, placement and integration of content, and supply and demand for such education globally and locally. TURAS provided an example of a research endeavour with a strong educational component that went outside the academic setting to co-operate and co-create knowledge with communities and local planners. TURAS academic partners in East London (University of East London Sustainability Research Institutes – UELSRI) have collaborated extensively with local authorities providing guidelines for green infrastructure on former London Olympic sites for example through the creation of a biosolar roof in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The learning component has been further fostered through workshops organised with local authorities across Europe and unique demonstration projects such as the Mobile Green Living Room. The panel agreed that the education should not be confined to formal degrees and coursework, but ought to be extended through continuous professional education and interactively

Rio de Janeiro City. (Image Prof. Zorica Nedovic-Budic)

University campus and streetscape (Image Prof. Zorica Nedovic-Budic)

Keywords: 4th World Planning Congress, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR),