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Achieving Urban Resilience: Understanding and Tackling Disasters from a Local Perspective

  • Christine Wamsler
Publishing year: 2008
Language: English
Pages: 163-171
Publication/Series: Proceedings of the Institute of Civil Engineers: Urban Design and Planning
Volume: 161
Issue: 4
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: ICE Publishing Ltd.

Abstract english

The damage caused by a dramatic worldwide increase in

so-called natural disasters is staggering, with the poor in

developing countries being most at risk. This paper analyses:

(a) the key variables and their causal relations that

underlie the complex system of risk and disaster occurrence

in slums; (b) the impacts of disasters on slums; (c)

the strategies used by local people to cope with risk and

disasters; and (d) the reasons for weak coping. The views

and knowledge of slum dwellers in El Salvador are the

focus of this analysis. On this basis, fi ve complementary

ex ante risk-reduction measures have been identifi ed

and developed to match local needs, capacities and

dimensions of risk—hazard reduction (or prevention),

mitigation, preparedness, risk ‘fi nancing’ and stand-by for

recovery. The complementary measures provide a frame

of reference that allows urban development actors to

systematically search for and design potential risk

reduction measures. It is concluded that keeping these

measures compartmentalised and separate from each

other during planning and implementation of urban

development programmes helps ensure both sustainable

poverty reduction and urban resilience.


  • Building Technologies
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Other Civil Engineering
  • disaster
  • coping strategy


  • ISSN: 1755-0793
Christine Wamsler
E-mail: christine [dot] wamsler [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se

P.O. Box 170, SE-222 70 Lund, Sweden
Phone: +46(0)46- 222 80 81
info [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se