ChapterPDF Available

Urban disaster risk reduction and ecosystem services

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Urban areas are growing worldwide and for the first time in human history they host more than half of the total human population. They have always been the places where most human interactions take place and where cultural, economic and political activities are concentrated. On the one hand, urban areas have enabled human populations to be less reliant on local ecosystems, building a wider service network and relying on more distant areas for the supply of resources. On the other hand, urban areas are increasingly located in or expand into hazard-prone areas. Cities are also responsible for ecosystem degradation, diminishing their regulating functions and buffering capacity with respect to hazards, further increasing urban risk. Though “hard” engineered technologies have traditionally been adopted to reduce the vulnerability of urban areas to hazards, “soft” technologies, utilizing natural infrastructure to mitigate hazard impacts, often provide costeffective strategies, while also guaranteeing access to different sources of livelihoods. This chapter aims to introduce the particular features of disaster risk in urban areas, while focusing on both “local” and “distant” ecosystems and their role in mitigating the impacts of hazards in cities. Case studies are included which illustrate good practices in the adoption of an ecosystem approach in urban areas for disaster risk reduction.
Content may be subject to copyright.
1
Urban disaster risk reduction and ecosystem
services
Lorenzo Guadagno*, Yaella Depietri** and Urbano Fra.Paleo***
* IUCN – The International Union for Conservation of Nature, 28 rue du Mauverney, 1196 Gland,
Switzerland, guadagnolore@gmail.com
** United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security, UN Campus (UNU-
EHS), Hermann-Ehlers-Str. 10, 53113 Bonn, Germany and Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia
Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), ETSE,QC/3103, 08193 Bellatera,
Barcelona, Spain, depietri@ehs.unu.edu
*** University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. urbano.fra@usc.es
Abstract(
Urban areas are continuously growing worldwide and for the first time in human history they host
more than half of the total human population. They have always been the places where most human
interactions take place and where cultural, economic and political activities are concentrated. On the
one hand, urban areas have enabled human populations to be less reliant on local ecosystems,
building a wider service network and relying on more distant areas for the supply of resources. On
the other hand, urban areas are increasingly located in or expand into hazard-prone areas. Cities are
also responsible for ecosystem degradation, diminishing their regulating functions and buffering
capacity with respect to hazards, further increasing urban risk. Though “hard” engineered
technologies have traditionally been adopted to reduce the vulnerability of urban areas to hazards,
“soft” technologies, utilizing natural infrastructure to mitigate hazard impacts, often provide cost-
effective strategies, while also guaranteeing access to different sources of livelihoods. This chapter
aims to introduce the particular features of disaster risk in urban areas, while focusing on both
“local” and “distant” ecosystems and their role in mitigating the impacts of hazards in cities. Case
studies are included which illustrate good practices in the adoption of an ecosystem approach in
urban areas for disaster risk reduction.
(
2
1.(The(process(of(urbanization(
Cities have been defined as “humankind’s most durable artifacts” (Vale and Campanella,
2005). For threatened, damaged or destroyed as they have been throughout history by wars,
epidemics, economic and political crisis, and disasters, they have seldom been abandoned (notable
exceptions include ancient cities such as Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan and Troy in Turkey, and, more
recently, Prypiat in Ukraine). Cities such as Baghdad, Istanbul, Athens, and Rome still stand as
enduring footprints of human history.
Despite the existence of urban settlements as early as 4 thousand years B.C., urban dwellers
never represented more than 10% of the global population until the second half of the 19th century,
when their numbers started growing rapidly (UN-HABITAT, 2003). Urban population reached 1
billion in the early 1960s, 2 billion in the late 1980s and is now estimated at around 3.5 billion,
accounting for 50.1% of the total population and outnumbering, for the first time in human history,
the total of rural settlers. According to projections, urban growth will continue during the next
decades, accounting for at least 90% of the global demographic increase. Cities and towns will be
home to 6 billion people by the first half of this century, about 68% of the total human population
(UNDESA, 2010).
This unprecedented concentration of people has led 21 urban areas to grow to over 10 million
inhabitants during the last six decades (UNESCAP, 2005) and is expected to translate into regional
megalopolis of up to 50 million inhabitants, such as the Hong Kong-Guandong or the Rio de
Janeiro-São Paulo areas (Borja and Castells, 1997; Davis, 2004). But expansion is mostly taking
place in small and middle-size urban centers, while the largest seem to stagnate. In 2007, 62% of
the world’s urban population resided in cities with less than 1 million inhabitants, and just 15% in
agglomerations of more than 5 million (UNDESA, 2007).
Small towns, cities, megacities, and complex metropolitan areas are different forms of urban
areas. They are -and have been- the locus of innovation and modernization, where secondary and
tertiary sectors dominate over the primary sector (Albala-Bertrand, 2003). While these
characteristics are progressively extending to rural areas, in particular in developed countries,
urbanization allows individuals and social groups to interact, as an organismic whole, in order to
give spatial expression to the flow of time, defining symbols, culture and future of an increasingly
cosmopolitan humanity (Mumford, 1938).
There is a close link between urbanization and economic performance of modern nations: the
UNISDR Making Cities Resilient campaign has defined urban settlements as “the lifelines of
today’s society” (UNISDR, 2010). Services, urban activities by definition, generate 63.2% of the
global GDP (CIA, 2010). The most urbanized countries tend to have higher per-capita income
(UNISDR, 2009a), higher average life expectancy and literacy rate, and stronger cultural and
democratic institutions (Johnson et al., 2010). For the city dweller and rural migrant, urban life
represents the opportunity of better medical care and education, richer cultural life, higher income
and economic stability.
2.(The(urbanization(of(disaster(risk(
Historically, cities have also offered an opportunity for human communities to reduce their
livelihood dependency on local natural resources, which characterizes the rural way of life. They
allow for the development of collective coping strategies, by providing centralized, more reliable
services and diversification of productive activities, sources of income and markets that can
continue to provide food and shelter in times of hardship. Nonetheless, urban societies do not
3
necessarily manage to make their environment completely safe. In fact, urbanization processes
redefine the interactions between humans and ecosystems, transforming physical landscapes as well
as building new forms and structures of social aggregation. They reshape, but do not necessarily
reduce, the environmental risks communities face, including those related to natural hazards
(Mitchell, 1999).
Table 1 reports data on some notable urban disasters. It is interesting to note how hazards
traditionally associated with rural contexts, such as floods and droughts, are increasingly affecting
cities all over the world, becoming more prevalent in rapidly urbanizing and developing countries
(Blaikie et al., 1994), but also in highly developed urban settings.
Table 1. Some notable disasters in cities and metropolitan areas.(Sources:1EM-DAT, 2Daniell and
Vervaeck (2012), 3O Globo (2011), 4Cavallo et al. (2010), 5OCHA (2009), 6Louisiana (2006),
7Pielke et al. (2008), 8Desinventar Indonesia, 9Munich Re, (2004), 10Bradford and Charmichael
(2007), 11Strzepek and Smith (1995), 12Tilling (1985), 13Weems (2012), 14Pereira (2006), 15Porter
(1994).The table lists exclusively urban disasters as well as preponderantly urban events (as in the
case with the aggregated data from EM-DAT).
Year
Event
City
Country
Fatalities
Physical environment
2011
Tornado
Joplin, Missouri
USA
1421
Great Plains
2011
Tohoku earthquake
and tsunami
Sendai
Japan
20,3191
Pacific coast
2011
Earthquake
Christchurch
New Zealand
1811
Port Hills fault
2011
Landslides
5 cities in Rio de Janeiro
state
Brazil
9043
Serra dos Órgãos reliefs
2010
Earthquake
Port-au-Prince
Haiti
222,5701
Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault
system
2008
Cyclone Nargis
Labutta Township
Myanmar
84,4545
Irrawaddy delta
2008
Earthquake
Wenchuan
China
87,4761
Longmen Shan fault system
2005
Hurricane Katrina
New Orleans
USA
1,4646
River delta
2004
Tsunami
Urban areas in Aceh
Indonesia
165,3578
Malacca Straits coast
2003
Heat wave
Urban areas
France
> 14,8009
Mid-latitude temperate
2000
Flood
Johannesburg
South Africa
809
Highveld plateau
1999
Earthquake
Istanbul, Izmit
Turkey
17,1271
North Anatolian fault
1999
Tornado
Oklahoma City
USA
509
Oklahoma river basin
1998
Flood
Dhaka
Bangladesh
1,0509
Ganges floodplain and delta
1995
Great Hanshin
Earthquake
Kobe
Japan
5,2971
Suma and Suwayama faults
1994
Earthquake
Northridge, California
USA
609
San Fernando Valley
1993
Flood
Cologne
Germany
59
Rhine river basin
1992
Hurricane Andrew
Greater Miami
USA
629
Wetlands, Biscayne bay
1992
Winter storm
New York
USA
209
Atlantic coast
1991
Wildfire
Oakland, California
USA
2510
Pacific coast
1989
Loma Prieta
Earthquake
San Francisco
USA
689
Pacific coast
1987
Heat wave
Athens
Greece
1,0001
Attica basin
1985
Earthquake
Mexico City
Mexico
9,5001
Plateau, bed of the historic Lake
Texcoco
1984
Hailstorm
Munich
Germany
09
Elevated plains of Upper
Bavaria
1976
Earthquake
Tangshan
China
242,0001
North China plain
1972
Earthquake
Managua
Nicaragua
10,0001
Central American volcanic chain
1967
Flood
São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
> 6009
Plateau, Atlantic coast
1962
Storm surge
Hamburg
Germany
3479
River Elbe basin
1962
Flood
Barcelona
Spain
1,0009
Mediterranean coast
1959
Typhoon Vera
(Isewan)
Nagoya
Japan
5,0891
Low-level plateau, Kiso and
Shōnai river basins
1954
Flood
Wuhan
China
30,0001
Yangze and Han river basins
1937
Typhoon
Hong Kong
China
11,00011
1926
Miami Hurricane
Miami
USA
37310
Wetlands, Biscayne bay
1923
Great Kantō
earthquake
Tokyo
Japan
143,0009
Tokyo bay
4
1908
Earthquake and
tsunami
Messina
Italy
75,0001
Mediterranean coast
1906
Earthquake and fire
San Francisco
USA
3,0009
San Andreas fault
1902
Volcanic eruption
St. Pierre
Martinique
> 30,00012
Slopes of Pelée, Caribbean coast
1900
Galveston Hurricane
Galveston
USA
est 8,00013
Galveston Island
1882
Tropical storm
Mumbai
India
100,0009
Konkan coast
1871
Fire
Chicago
USA
25010
Lake Michigan
1864
Tropical storm
Kolkata
India
50,0009
Ganges floodplain and delta
1755
Earthquake and
tsunami
Lisbon
Portugal
>30,00014
Tagus river estuary
1746
Lima-Callao
Earthquake
and tsunami
Lima
Peru
18,0009
Peruvian coastal plain, mountain
slopes
1737
Tropical storm
Kolkata
India
300,0009
Ganges floodplain and delta
1731
Earthquake
Beijing
China
100,0009
Hai river system
1666
Fire
London
UK
815
Thames river basin
1657
Meireki Fire
Edo (Tokyo)
Japan
100,00010
Tokyo bay
526
Earthquake
Antioch (Antakya)
Turkey
250,00010
Dead Sea rift
79
Volcanic eruption
4 cities on the gulf of
Naples
Italy
18,0009
Slopes of Vesuvius, Gulf of
Naples
430 B.C.
Epidemic
Athens
Greece
30,00010
Attica basin
As vulnerable populations and unprotected physical capital increasingly concentrate in cities,
disaster risk patterns follow urban development (UNISDR, 2009a). For economic and military
purposes, many urban centers have been founded in fertile floodplains, hilltops and volcanic slopes,
river crossings and coastlines, and have grown significantly exposed to dangerous natural events
(UN-HABITAT, 2010). Hazard events, even small ones, threaten large numbers of people, as urban
areas are more or less densely populated. By 2050, 870 million people worldwide are expected to be
living in cities in highly seismic areas and 680 million in areas affected by severe storms (Lall and
Deichmann, 2009).
The rise in human exposure is accompanied by the concentration of economic activities,
livelihoods and infrastructures. Urban habitats are hotspots of wealth prone to suffering huge
economic losses when a hazardous event strikes (see Table 1, which includes all the costliest events
ever recorded). In addition, the concentration and diversity of activities, buildings and land uses
magnifies the risk of cascading effects, when an initial natural disturbance triggers another or
multiple technological hazards (also known as natech events), which often have catastrophic, long-
lasting effects in and around urban areas. Such was the case of the 1999 earthquake in Izmit,
Turkey, which triggered a fire in an oil refinery, causing the release of toxic gases and widespread
environmental damage (Vatsa, 2005), or the urban fire after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, or
the 2011 Tōhoku tsunami which caused the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
Cities have always relied on a peripheral hinterland for essential functions such as food, water
and raw material production or waste disposal. Globalization has expanded the urban areas’
influence to a global scale, to include any region, no matter how remote or disconnected, that
participates in its production and consumption processes. Such interconnections mean that a city
will both influence and be influenced by any hazard event hitting any area providing its inputs or
absorbing its outputs (Showers, 2002). On the other hand, as cities are crucial joints in increasingly
global, economic and political processes, the damages they suffer will easily affect activities well
beyond their geographical limits (Surjan and Shaw, 2009; Munich Re, 2004).
Despite these factors, living in a city does not necessarily mean being at great risk. Urban
dwellers might enjoy a safe living location, good-quality housing and widespread access to
education, health care, employment and income opportunities. Nevertheless, in many cities and
towns, urbanization translates into higher deaths and damages where the local institutions are not
able to provide their citizens with access to resources that reduce their exposure and vulnerability:
5
sufficient and sustainable income and asset base, safe shelter, adequate access to essential services,
safety nets, political and civil representation, appropriate disaster and emergency management
systems (Satterthwaite, 2010). The urban poor, who are deprived of adequate access to these
essential goods and services, and are induced to live in unsafe conditions –such as flood zones or
degraded industrial areas– are more vulnerable, especially in developing countries (Global Forum
on Local Development, 2010). Yet it is precisely in cities of developing countries, where
demographic growth over the next decades is expected to take place (UNDESA, 2009) and where
the bulk of future disaster risk is expected to accumulate.
3.(Urban(centers(and(ecosystem(services(
In this chapter, we argue that disaster risk is increasingly a manifestation of urban growth and
its depleting effects on ecosystems’ capacity to support life and biodiversity, purify air and water,
and mitigate extreme natural events such as floods, landslides, coastal storms, and wildfires. As
most of the production, consumption and distribution of wealth takes place in urban areas or
depends on the lifestyle of their dwellers (GDRC, 2011), cities ultimately determine global-scale
processes such as deforestation, modification of the composition of the atmosphere and oceans, and
alteration of the world’s biogeochemical cycles, that leave no ecosystem completely devoid of
direct or indirect human influence (Vitousek et al., 1997).
Figure 1. Interactions between the social and ecological systems in urban areas in the production of
urban risk and disasters. Source: authors’ own elaboration.
6
Nonetheless, much like any other ecosystem, cities are functional units in which dynamic
complexes of micro-organism, plant, animal and human communities interact with a non-living
environment (CBD, 1992). What differentiates urban landscapes is that they are predominantly
characterized by elements that have been created or modified by human beings (Wilkie and Roach,
2004). They are socio-natural landscapes defined by the interplay of a community acting with its
specific biophysical environment (Srinivas et al., 2009), and can be analyzed through ecological
models in order to better understand them as a system of relations (Pickett et al., 1997) (see Figure
1).
Urban dwellers depend on both the built environment and the natural capital for their well-
being. In particular, they rely on biologically productive ecosystems, located in both local and
remote or peri-urban areas, for the whole array of fundamental services that ecosystems provide.
Local ecosystems
An urban landscape can encompass extremely diverse natural features, including coastal
zones, forests and vegetated areas, reliefs, water bodies and streams. Such components, no matter
how small in size, play a multifold role in supporting a safe and satisfying living environment for
the urban dwellers (Bolund and Hunhammar, 1999). As cities are usually dominated by built
infrastructure, the benefits provided by local ecosystems are easily overlooked in planning
processes. Urban nature is often only regarded as an amenity, and therefore fragmented and
depleted.
7
In reality, urban ecosystems also provide food, fuel and fiber, and even though most urban
dwellers do not directly rely on local ecosystems for food and raw materials, urban and suburban
agriculture practices have proved a valuable coping strategy in times of hardship (Altieri et al.,
1999). Urban vegetation allows for improved water drainage, by providing permeable areas that
absorb excess runoff in case of precipitation (see Box 1 and Box 2), and filter water-borne
sediments and pollutants (Guglielmino, 1997). By providing shade, absorbing heat, improving air
circulation, and consuming solar energy, green areas and water bodies also help to control
temperatures and counters heat island effect (Pickett et al., 2001) (see Box 3), which will
increasingly be relevant in future climate when heat waves are expected to be more frequent and
longer lasting (Meehl and Tebaldi, 2004). An extensive review of the potential role of local
ecosystems in mitigating the impacts of heat waves in urban areas is presented in Depietri et al.
(2012). Vegetation can also act as a windbreak during winter storms (McPherson, 1994).
!"#$%&$Urban&flood&reduction&in&New&York,&USA&(UNISDR,&2011)&
&
'($)*+$,"-.$/0123$45*$6787694:$";$45*$"<=">*4*$=*+*-7?*$=:=4*@$9=$=:=4*@74967>>:$*#6**A*A$
AB-9(?$ 9(4*(=*$ =4"-@$ *C*(4=D$ +5965$ 57=$ >*A$ 4"$ ;>""A9(?$ 9($ )*+$ ,"-.$ E94:$ =4-**4=&$ 2$ =9?(9;967(4$
7@"B(4$";$8">>B4*A$+74*-$;>"+=$A9-*64>:$9(4"$>"67>$+74*-$=4-*7@=$+945"B4$<*9(?$8-"6*==*A$9($45*$
+74*-$4-*74@*(4$8>7(4=&$'(=4*7A$ ";$ =8*(A9(?$ 7($ *#8*64*A$ 01FG&H$ <9>>9"($ 4"$ 9@8-"C*$ 45*$ =:=4*@D$
45*$ 694:$ 57=$ A*69A*A$ 4"$ ;9(7(6*$ ?-**($ 9(;-7=4-B64B-*$ ;"-$ 01FI&J$ <9>>9"($ /)*+$ ,"-.$ E94:D$ KL%L3&$
M-**=D$ >7+(=$ 7(A$ ?7-A*(=$ +9>>$ <*$ 8>7(4*A$ "($ -"";=D$ =4-**4=$ 7(A$ =9A*+7>.=&$ M5*:$ +9>>$ 7<="-<$ 7(A$
8*-6">74*$ @"-*$ -79(+74*-$ 4"$ 45*$ ?-"B(A$ 7(A$ -*AB6*$ 45*$ <B-A*($ "($ 45*$ 694:N=$ =*+7?*$ =:=4*@D$
+59>*$9@8-"C9(?$79-$7(A$+74*-$OB7>94:$7(A$8"4*(497>>:$-*AB69(?$45*$(**A$;"-$+74*-$7(A$*(*-?:&$
2($ *6"=:=4*@P<7=*A$ =4-74*?:$ 57=$ 7>="$ <**($ *(C9=7?*A$ 4"$ *(=B-*$ 6>*7($ +74*-$ =B88>:&$ '($
%QQRD$45*$694:$6"@@944*A$4"$9(C*=4$7-"B(A$01F%&I$<9>>9"($"C*-$%L$:*7-=$4"$-*=4"-*$7(A$8-"4*64$45*$
=B--"B(A9(?$ +74*-=5*A=D$ 7=$ +*>>$ 7=$ 4"$ 8-"@"4*$ @*7=B-*=$ 4574$ 9@8-"C*$ 45*$ >"67>$ *6"("@9*=$ ";$
+74*-=5*A$ -*=9A*(4=$ /S"=4*>$ 7(A$ M5"@="(D$ KLLI3&$ 2$ 6"@8-*5*(=9C*$ =4BA:$ <:$ 45*$ )749"(7>$
T*=*7-65$ E"B(69>$ 57=$ 59?5>9?54*A$ 7$ +5">*$ -7(?*$ ";$ ("(P=4-B64B-7>$ @*7=B-*=$ 4574$ 57C*$ <**($
*=47<>9=5*A$ ;"-$ +74*-$ OB7>94:$ 8-"4*649"(D$ =B65$ 7=$ >7(A$ 76OB9=949"(D$ <B;;*-$ U"(*$ A*=9?(749"(=D$
6"(=*-C749"($7?-**@*(4=$+945$>7(A"+(*-=D$7(A$U"(9(?$"-A9(7(6*=$/S9-*=D$$KLLV3&$'4$("4*A$5"+$45*$
*=47<>9=5@*(4$";$8-"4*64*A$(74B-7>$-*=*-C*=D$(749"(7>$87-.=$7(A$+9>A*-(*==$7-*7=$7>>"+=$;"-$<"45$
45*$6"(=*-C749"($";$>"67>$<9"A9C*-=94:$7(A$45*$*(57(6*@*(4$";$+74*-$-*="B-6*=$"($+5965$45*$694:$
A*8*(A=$/S"=4*>$7(A$M5"@="($KLLI3&$
!"#$K&$Chicago,&USA:&Green&Permit&Program&(Kazmierczak,&A.&and&J.&Carter,&2010)&
$
E5967?"W=$ X*87-4@*(4$ ";$ !B9>A9(?=$ /X"!3$ /0123$ 57=$ A*C*>"8*A$ 7($ 9(6*(49C*$ 8-"?-7@$ 4574$
*(6"B-7?*=$ A*C*>"8*-=$ 4"$ 9(6"-8"-74*$ ?-**($ A*=9?($ *>*@*(4=D$ 9(6>BA9(?$ ?-**($ -"";=$ "($ (*+$
<B9>A9(?=&$M5*$9(949749C*$9=$.("+($7=$45*$Y-**($ S*-@94$ S-"?-7@&$ '4$ 9=$ 87-4$";$7$>7-?*-$8"-4;">9"$";$
9(949749C*=$79@*A$74$@7.9(?$E5967?"N=$<B9>4$*(C9-"(@*(4$@"-*$=B=479(7<>*$7(A$<*44*-$74$@7(7?9(?$
=4"-@$+74*-$7(A$@949?749(?$B-<7($ ;>""A=&$ M5*$ 9(6*(49C*$9=$7($*#8*A94*A$8*-@94$8-"6*==D$ 45-"B?5$
+5965$ A*C*>"8*-=$ 67($ =7C*$ <"45$ 49@*$ 7(A$ @"(*:&$ 2AA949"(7>$ <*(*;94=$ ";$ 45*$ 8-"?-7@$ 9(6>BA*$
@949?749"($";$?-**(5"B=*$?7=$*@9==9"(=$45-"B?5$-*AB6*A$(**A$;"-$5*749(?$7(A$6"">9(?$9($<B9>A9(?=$
+945$ ?-**($ -"";=&$ M5*$ 8-"?-7@$ 9=$ *(57(69(?$ 45*$ 694:N=$ 9@7?*$ 7(A$ 45*$ *@*-?*(6*$ ";$ <B=9(*==*=$
=8*697>9U9(?$9($?-**($-"";$9(=47>>749"(&$
8
Urban green spaces, in particular urban trees, also generate tangible benefits on the health
conditions of urban dwellers. They help reduce noise, a major cause of stress, hypertension, hearing
loss and sleep disturbances, and enhance air quality by removing air pollutants, which are positively
related to respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses (Nowak, 1994; see also Hillsdon et al., 2009;
Ulrish, 1984). Urban green areas also contribute to making cities diversified landscapes that can be
favorable habitats for a varied flora and fauna (Kühn et al., 2004; Donnelly and Marzluff, 2006).
Finally, they play an essential role in defining the cultural identity of a city, by characterizing its
physical landscape and providing spaces where its cultural and social life can take place. Nature
thus is “essential to achieving the quality of life that creates a great city and that makes it possible
for people to live a reasonable life within an urban environment’’ (Botkin and Beveridge, 1997,
p.18).
Peri-urban and regional ecosystems
Despite their multiple functions, local ecosystems alone do not suffice in supporting the life
of large, dense communities of urban dwellers. Cities have been defined as parasites to the
biosphere (Odum, 1971), underscoring how the net flow of ecosystem services is invariably into
urban centres rather than out of them (McGranahan et al., 2005). Their ecological footprint steadily
grows well beyond their boundaries, as they rely on an increasingly global hinterland as a source of
inputs and a sink of outputs (Tarr, 1997), but it is particularly at the peri-urban and regional scales
that ecosystems play a direct role in reducing the levels of risk in urban communities. For instance,
cities are part of a watershed1, which usually includes a variety of different ecosystems, such as
forests, savannas, grasslands, shrublands, or wetlands. At the watershed or river basin scale, the
interplay among its natural components allows for the delivery of ecosystem services, such as the
supply of freshwater, treatment of wastewater, and regulation of the hydrological cycle, that are
essential to the life of urban communities.
1 A watershed is defined as the topographical unit from which rain or melting snow drains into a given body of water.
!"#$ J&$ Stuttgart,& Germany:& Combating& heat& island& and& poor& air& quality& with& green& aeration&
corridors&(Kazmierczak,&A.&and&J.&Carter,&2010)&
$
14B44?7-4$ /Y*-@7(:3D$ 5"@*$ 4"$ @"-*$ 457($ K$ @9>>9"($ 8*"8>*D$ 9=$ 7$ 59?5>:$ 9(AB=4-97>9U*A$ 7-*7$
>"674*A$9($7$C7>>*:$+945$@9>A$6>9@74*$7(A$>"+P9(4*(=94:$+9(A=&$19(6*$45*$%QRL=D$94$57=$*#8*-9*(6*A$7$
=4*7A:$A*6>9(*$9($79-$OB7>94:&$M5*$=94B749"($57=$+"-=*(*A$7=$45*$C7>>*:$=>"8*=$B(A*-+*(4$9(6-*7=9(?$
B-<7(9U749"(D$ +5965$ 9(6-*7=9(?>:$ 8-*C*(4*A$ (74B-7>$ 79-$ 69-6B>749"($ ;-"@$ 47.9(?$ 8>76*$ 7-"B(A$ 7(A$
45-"B?5$ 45*$ B-<7($ 6*(4*-&$ 2=$ 7$ 6"(=*OB*(6*D$ 45*$ B-<7($ 5*74$ 9=>7(A$ *;;*64$ <*67@*$ @"-*$
8-"("B(6*AD$ 7(A$ 9=$ *#8*64*A$ 4"$ +"-=*($ 7=$ 5*74$ +7C*=$ ?*4$ @"-*$ ;-*OB*(4$ 7(A$ 9(4*(=*$ AB*$ 4"$
6>9@74*$657(?*&$$
'($"-A*-$4"$6"(4-">$ "C*-5*749(?D$ 14B44?7-4$ 694:$ ?"C*-(@*(4$ 8>7((*A$ 7$ =*-9*=$ ";$ *6"=:=4*@P
<7=*A$ @*7=B-*=$ 4574$ @7:$ 6"(4-9<B4*$ 9($ -*7649C749(?$ 79-$ ;>"+$ 7(A$ -*=4"-9(?$ +9(A$ 8744*-(=&$ )*+$
>7(APB=*$ 7(A$ U"(9(?$ -*?B>749"(=$ +*-*$ 87==*A$ <7=*A$ "($ A747$ 7(A$ *C9A*(6*=$ 6">>*64*A$ 9($ 45*$
E>9@74*$24>7=D$+5965$@78=$4*@8*-74B-*$8744*-(=$7(A$79-$;>"+=$45-"B?5"B4$45*$ 694:&$ 0-<7($ 8>7(=$
57C*$8-9"-949U*A$ "8*($?-**($=876*=$7(A$C*?*4749"($ 6"C*-D$*=8*697>>:$9($45*$@"-*$A*(=*>:$<B9>4PB8$
7-*7=&$
9
Forests and vegetation cover around urban areas allow more water to percolate into the
ground, reduce runoff, and ultimately mitigate the impact of stormwater. They account for
improvements in the recharge of groundwater, guaranteeing better access to water resources during
dry periods, while also enhancing their water quality, by filtrating and absorbing nutrients and
contaminants (Pickett et al., 2001). Figuerola and Pasten (2008) estimated, basing their analysis on
a previous study by Núñez et al. (2006), the economic value of temperate forests located in the
Llancahue watershed (Chile) to be of US$937.9 per hectare for the summer period and US$355.3
per hectare for the rest of the year, with respect to their role in contributing to fresh water supplies
in Southern Chilean cities. Peri-urban forests also provide wood and non-timber products that can
play an important role in sustaining people’s livelihoods, and guaranteeing open recreational spaces
for the city’s inhabitants.
Vegetation helps, to a certain extent, regulate the flow of rainwater into water streams, which
is a crucial variable in the functioning of agricultural systems, industrial activities and energy
production facilities. It also mitigates the action of wind and rain, especially on slopes and
riverbanks, thereby protecting against soil erosion, conserving soil fertility and avoiding associated
downstream costs (Morrow et al., 1995). It contributes to stabilizing soil, by creating a root system
that helps reduce the frequency and magnitude of mass movements such as landslides, avalanches
and mudflows (Stolten et al., 2008; Teich and Bebi, 2009) (see Box 4). (cross reference with
landslide chapters Papathoma and Glade)
Wetlands in the urban periphery improve water quality through removal of nitrogen and
phosphorous. Wetlands and peatlands also provide storage space for flood waters (see Box 5),
groundwater recharge and maintenance of dry season flows (cross reference with wetlands chapter).
!"#$V&$Reforestation&in&the&Rokko&Mountain&Range,&Japan&(Ministry&of&Environment,&Government&
of&Japan,&2011)&
$
M5*$T".."$Z"B(479($T7(?*$9=$7$=*-9*=$ ";$ *>*C749"(=$ =B--"B(A*A$ <:$ 7$ 8"8B>749"($ ";$K&J$@9>>9"(D$
>9C9(?$ 9($ 45*$ 6949*=$ ";$ ["<*D$ 2=59:7D$ )9=59("@9:7D$ 7(A$ M7.7-7UB.7&$ \">>"+9(?$ B-<7($ ?-"+45$ 7(A$
A*;"-*=4749"($";$45*$@"B(479(=]$C*?*4749"($6"C*-D$;-*OB*(4$;>""A=$7(A$>7(A=>9A*=$7;;*64*A$5B@7($
=*44>*@*(4=$9($45*$7-*7$7=$*7->:$7=$45*$%R45$6*(4B-:D$7(A$-*765*A$7$6747=4-"8596$8*7.$AB-9(?$45*$
=*6"(A$57>;$";$ 45*$%Q45$6*(4B-:D$+5*($A*;"-*=4749"($6B>@9(74*A&$'($ 45*$>7=4$A*67A*$";$ 45*$%Q45$
6*(4B-:D$45*$?"C*-(@*(4$*(764*A$45*$T9C*-$^7+D$45*$_-"=9"($E"(4-">$^7+$7(A$45*$\"-*=4$^7+D$9($
"-A*-$ 4"$ *(;"-6*$ ="@*$ <7=96$ 6"(6*84=$ ";$ 6"(=*-C749"($ 7(A$ -*=4"-749"($ ";$ (74B-7>$ >7(A=678*=$
7-"B(A$ 45*$ 6"B(4-:&$ '($ %HQID$ 45*$ `:"?"$ S-*;*64B-*$ <*?7($ 8>7(49(?$ 4-**=$ 9($ "-A*-$ 4"$ =47<9>9U*$
=>"8*=$ 7(A$ 8-*C*(4$ ="9>$ *-"=9"(&$ M-**$ =8*69*=$ +945$ 59?5$ ;*-49>9U9(?$ *;;*64=$ +*-*$ 9(4-"AB6*A$ 4"$
7659*C*$ 6"@8>*4*$ -*;"-*=4749"($ 7=$ OB96.>:$ 7=$ 8"==9<>*$ "($ >7(A=$ +5*-*$ 87-*(4$ -"6.$ 57A$ <**($
*#8"=*A&$$
$
'($-*6*(4$:*7-=D$9($-*=8"(=*$4"$45*$8B<>96$A*@7(A$;"-$>7(A=>9A*$8-"4*649"($?*(*-74*A$<:$45*$%QQI$
["<*$*7-45OB7.*$7(A$45*$9(6-*7=9(?$C7>B*$";$Z"B(4$T".."$7=$7$-*6-*749"(7>$7-*7$7(A$7=$7$="B-6*$
";$8"47<>*$+74*-$;"-$45*$694:D$45*$S-*;*64B-*$A*C*>"8*A$45*$T".."$Z"B(479($T7(?*$Y-**($!*>4$
X*C*>"8@*(4$ S-"a*64D$ 79@*A$ 74$ 9@8-"C*A$ ;"-*=4$ OB7>94:D$ ="9>$ =47<9>94:D$ +74*-$ -B(P";;$ 7(A$ +74*-$
7C79>7<9>94:D$45-"B?5$8>7(49(?$A**8P-""4$4-**=$7(A$A*C*>"89(?$B(A*-?-"+45$ C*?*4749"(&$!*4+**($
%QQG$ 7(A$ KLLID$ <:$ 7>>"6749(?$ 788-"#9@74*>:$ %DJLL$ 57$ ;"-$ 8B<>96$ >7(A$ 7(A$ ;"-*=4$ -*=*-C*D$ 45*$
8-"a*64$ 57=$ -*=B>4*A$ 9($ 8-*C*(49(?$ A7@7?*=$ AB*$ 4"$ 5:A-"P?*">"?967>$ 57U7-A=$ +945$ 7$ 4"47>$ 6"=4$
*=49@74*$ ";$ VDIQH&V$ <9>>9"($ :*(D$ 74$ 7$ 4"47>$ 6"=4$ ";$ GQL&I$ <9>>9"($ :*(D$ +59>=4$ 8-"C9A9(?$ 7AA949"(7>$
6B>4B-7>$7(A$-*6-*749"(7>$<*(*;94=$4"$45*$B-<7($8"8B>749"(&
1
0
Coastal forests and mangroves, seagrass and coral reefs, dunes and saltmarshes effectively mitigate
small and medium scale coastal hazards such as wind waves and coastal floods caused by storm
surges, and have proved effective to some extent in protecting people from sea-level rise (UNEP-
WCMC, 2006; (cross reference to TNC and rivamp chapters).
4.(Urbanization,(environmental(degradation(and(disaster(risk(
Evidence from the UNISDR’s Global Assessment Reports 2009 and 2011 point to ecosystem
degradation, induced by poorly managed urbanization processes, as a main driver of disaster risk at
the global scale. As deforestation, wetland reclamation, land development and alterations of water
flows degrade ecosystems within and around urban centres, their capacity to deliver services,
including those that reduce people’s exposure and vulnerability to natural hazards, is compromised
(Abramovitz, 2001).
The scarcity of permeable surfaces, such as soft soils and green areas, in and around cities,
can multiply, by up to a factor of 10, the amount of water that runs off the ground, increasing peak
discharge in a watershed (Gholami et al., 2010), lag time (Espey et al. 1965) and flooding
(Nirupama and Simonovic, 2006).The amount of water and the debris transported during heavy
rainfalls easily exceeds the city’s sewage system capacity, particularly in absence of drains or
without a separate storm sewer system, typically leading to urban floods. These are a recurrent
feature in cities as diverse as Mumbai (Gandy, 2008) and New York (New York City, 2010), that
can reach a staggering proportion as in the recent case in Bangkok in 2011 (The Guardian,
!"#$I&$Flood&reduction&in&the&Boston’s&Charles&River&Basin,&USA&(Platt,&2006)&
$
!"=4"(N=$59=4"-:$57=$7>+7:=$<**($6>"=*>:$6"((*64*A$4"$45*$E57->*=$T9C*-$+5965$57=$7>>"+*A$
45*$ 694:$ 4"$ =*-C*$ 7=$ 8"-4$ 7(A$ @7-.*48>76*$ ;"-$ 45*$ *(49-*$ 9(>7(A$ -*?9"(&$ Z"-*$ 457($ %Lb$ ";$ 45*$
-9C*-N=$+74*-=5*A$7-*7$/7<"B4$HDLLL$5*647-*=3$6"(=9=4=$";$;-*=5+74*-$+*4>7(A=$/S>744D$KLLG3&$
'($45*$%QIL=$7(A$%QGL=D$7=$ B-<7($ 7(A$ 9(AB=4-97>$ A*C*>"8@*(4$-*6>79@*A$>7-?*$87-4=$";$45*$
;>""A8>79(D$ A9=7=4-"B=$ ;>""A$ *C*(4=$ <*67@*$ 7$ @7a"-$ 45-*74$ 4"$ 45*$ >"+P>:9(?$ =*44>*@*(4=&$ '($ 45*$
%QRL=D$ 7$ ;>""A$ @7(7?*@*(4$ 8-"a*64$ +7=$ A*=9?(*A$ a"9(4>:$ <:$ 45*$ E57->*=$ T9C*-$ c74*-=5*A$
2=="69749"($ /ETc23$ 7(A$ 45*$ 2-@:$ E"-8=$ ";$ _(?9(**-=$ <7=*A$ "($ 7$ =*4$ ";$ 57-A$ *(?9(**-9(?$ 7(A$
*6"=:=4*@$ 6"(=*-C749"($ =">B49"(=D$ 9(6>BA9(?d$ e76OB9=949"($ 7(A$ 8-"4*649"($ ";$ =*C*-7>$ 45"B=7(A$
76-*=$ ";$ +*4>7(A=$ ;"-$ +74*-$ =4"-7?*f$ 8-"@"49"($ ";$ ;>""A8>79($ 7(A$ +*4>7(A$ -*?B>749"($ <:$ >"67>$
7A@9(9=4-749C*$7B45"-949*=f$6"(=4-B649"($";$7$(*+$A7@$74$45*$-9C*-N=$@"B45$4"$7>>*C974*$"C*-;>"+$";$
45*$<7=9($9($!"=4"($7(A$E7@<-9A?*g$/S_XTTD$KL%%D$8&H3&$$
!:$%QHJD$7<"B4$HD%LL$(74B-7>$+*4>7(A=$+*-*$76OB9-*A$;-"@$8-9C74*$"+(*-=$<:$45*$E"-8=$7(A$
4-7(=;*--*A$4"$7A@9(9=4-749C*$7B45"-949*=$;"-$@7(7?*@*(4$7=$(74B-7>$;>""A$=4"-7?*$7(A$*6">"?967>$
-*=4"-749"($=94*=&$M5*$*6"("@96$C7>B*$";$+*4>7(A=$9($45*$E57->*=$T9C*-$!7=9($57=$<**($*=49@74*A$74$
F%IJDIJI$ 4"$ F%QLDLLQ$ 8*-$ 76-*$ /M59<"A*7BD$ %QH%3&$ E"(6B--*(4>:D$ =*C*-7>$ @B(96987>949*=$ 9($ 45*$
+74*-=5*A$<*?7($ 4"$-*?B>74*$+*4>7(A$B=*D$+5965$57C*$5*>8*A$4"$8-*=*-C*$(74B-7>$+74*-$=4"-7?*D$
-*AB6*$ A*C*>"8@*(4$ 9($ 45*$ ;>""A8>79(=D$ 7(A$ -*AB6*$ 8">>B49"($ ";$ +*4>7(A=$ 7(A$ =4-*7@=&$ _;;"-4=$
4"+7-A=$ -*57<9>94749"(D$ *=8*697>>:$ +945$ -*=8*64$ 4"$ @"(94"-9(?$ 7(A$ 9@8-"C9(?$ 45*$ =474B=$ ";$ -9C*-$
+74*-$ OB7>94:$ 57C*$ 6"(49(B*A$ 45-"B?5"B4$ 45*$ %QQL=$ 7(A$ KLLL=D$ +945$ *(A"-=*@*(4$ ;-"@$ 45*$
0(94*A$1474*=$\*A*-7>$Y"C*-(@*(4$/S_XTTD$KL%%$8&H3&$2;4*-$;"B-$A*67A*=D$45*$ETc2$57=$7659*C*A$
@*7=B-7<>*$9@8-"C*@*(4$9($;>""A$@949?749"(D$+74*-$OB7>94:$7(A$8B<>96$-*6-*749"(&$
1
1
2011/11/03). Increases in flood risk due to heavy urbanization have been measured in the watershed
of the Upper Thames River, around the City of London, Canada (Nirupama and Simonovic, 2006)
and in coastal areas of Galicia, northwestern Spain, after forest fires burned land cover in
watersheds and heavy rains upstream (Fra.Paleo, 2010). In Taiwan, the clearing of forests to
increase land availability for productive activities has led to reduced slope stability, increased
sediment and pollutant delivery downstream, and increased peak flows in a region that is highly
exposed to typhoons and other meteorological hazards (Lu et al., 2001).
The substitution of original land cover with highly impervious surfaces (asphalt, concrete),
and the high level of thermal emissions related to concentrated, high-intensity energy and fossil fuel
consumption are directly responsible for the heat-island effect, described as the difference between
urban and rural temperatures in the same region, that can reach maxima of +10°C (Pickett et al.,
2001). These conditions drastically amplify the incidence of heat waves and, together with higher
concentrations of air pollutants, pose a serious threat to the life of urban dwellers, as demonstrated
by the 70,000 deaths caused by the 2003 summer in Europe (EM-DAT, 2012). Hence, human-
driven land-use changes in urbanized environments serve as triggers of potentially dangerous
events, increasingly regarded as “socio-natural hazards” (Garatwa and Bollin, 2001).
5.(Urban(poverty(and(disaster(risk(
The incidence of environmental problems in urban areas and urban risk are closely associated
with poverty (McGranahan et al., 2001). In cities all around the world, the poor tend to live in less
safe locations and conditions, and have limited coping mechanisms that enable them to recover
from shocks. This is particularly true for individuals who belong to vulnerable groups due to age,
gender, ethnicity or income (Anderson, 2003). (see Box 6).
The mismatch between the demand for essential services, such as safe shelter, health care, and
employment, and the limited capacities of national and local administrations to actually provide
them pushes poor people to adopt “future eroding” strategies to cope with their daily needs, and
translates spatially in the development of slums that characterize cities in many parts of the world.
These settlements are usually located in marginal, unsafe land, prone to hydro-geological hazards,
and are rarely served by networks of communication, transportation, water and energy, or
healthcare services. In slums, constructions are often sub-standard, highly vulnerable to floods,
earthquakes, fires, diseases and inhabited by people with very limited resources and capacity to
recover from disasters (UNISDR, 2009a). Lack of access to the formal housing market pushes slum
dwellers to environmentally unsafe locations, on land where it is either not desirable nor
permissible to legally build – a phenomena especially demonstrated in developing areas such as the
Payatas landfill in Manila, or in the riverine settlements in Santo Domingo (Pelling, 2003), but also
in developed urban settings, such as Los Angeles, where Latinos tend to live in housing built before
the introduction of anti-seismic building codes (Wisner, 1999).
1
2
Moreover, the urban poor continue to rely on local natural resources to secure access to food,
fuelwood and building materials, and therefore can create additional risk through destructive
livelihood practices. For instance, in the Rocinha favela in Rio de Janeiro, a steady urbanization
process has taken place over the last decades, progressively improving the living conditions of the
favelados, in particular on its bottom fringe that is closest to the formal city. Its upper fringe,
however, still hosts communities of newcomers and poorer inhabitants who increasingly put
pressure on the surrounding vegetation cover for their daily fuelwood and for further land
reclamation. This results in frequent mudslides and rockfalls that seriously threaten the lives of the
most vulnerable favelados (WWI 2004).
6.(Ecosystem(management(for(urban(risk(reduction(
Urban governments are increasingly considering conservation and enhancement of natural
infrastructure as key measures to protect people and investments in the face of natural hazards (see
Box 7). The UNISDR global campaign for Making Cities Resilient regards the protection of
ecosystems and natural buffers to mitigate floods, storm surges and other hazards as well as adapt to
climate change as one of its 10 priorities (UNISDR 2010).
Cities can be in a favorable position to achieve risk reduction through sustainable
environmental management, as local governments are increasingly responsible for land use and
development planning, infrastructure development and maintenance, zoning and building codes,
and social services provision. Unlike national governments that operate along clear sectoral lines,
city governments often are better placed to work in a cross-sectoral manner, making it easier to
adopt an integrated approach in tackling local issues. The proximity and density of urban
population, businesses, structures and infrastructures allows for economies of scale when taking
measures that mitigate natural hazards and reduce the community’s vulnerability. By influencing a
city’s resource consumption pattern, urban governments also play a key role in determining the
levels of pressure on local and global ecosystems, one of the main drivers of disaster risk both at the
local and at the global scale (UNISDR 2011).
At the local level, effective action can range from small-scale measures, such as green roofing
or green windbreaks, to city-wide initiatives that preserve or restore green areas and water bodies to
!"#$G&$Urban&flood&risk&in&Mozambique&(Chege&et&al,&2007)&
$
'4$57=$<**($*=49@74*A$4574$7<"B4$RLb$";$45*$C9649@=$";$45*$\*<-B7-:$KLLL$;>""A=$9($Z"U7@<9OB*$
+*-*$ B-<7($ -*=9A*(4=D$ 7$ A*745$ 4">>$ >7-?*>:$ 67B=*A$ <:$ *#4*(=9C*$ B-<7(9U749"($ 7(A$ A*;"-*=4749"($
8-"6*==*=$7(A$ >76.$ ";$ *(;"-6*@*(4$ ";$ >7(APB=*$ 8>7(=&$'($87-496B>7-D$94$+7=$45*$ B-<7($ 8""-$ +5"$
=B;;*-*A$45*$@"=4D$*=8*697>>:$45"=*$-*6*(4>:$7--9C*A$9($45*$6"B(4-:N=$6949*=$;">>"+9(?$45*$69C9>$+7-$
7(A$45*$A*<4$6-9=9=$7(A$+*-*$;"-6*A$4"$"66B8:$<B9>A9(?=$@7A*$";$>"67>>:P-*4-9*C7<>*$@74*-97>=$7(A$
+*-*$9($B(A*=9-7<>*$>"6749"(=$=B65$7=$59>>=>"8*=$7(A$-7C9(*=&
!"#$R&$The&Netherlands:$Room&for&the&River&(Corvers,&2009)$
'($45*$)*45*->7(A=$7$6"@8>*#$=">B49"($;"-$;>""A$@949?749"(D$<7=*A$"($7$(*4+"-.$";$67(7>=D$A:.*=$
7(A$ 8B@89(?$ =:=4*@=D$ 57=$ 4-7A949"(7>>:D$ 7(A$ B(49>$ -*6*(4>:$ <**($ -*?7-A*A$ 7=$ 7$ @"A*>$ ";$
4*65(">"?967>$ 9(("C749"(&$ M5*$ XB465$ @"A*>$ 9=$ ("+$ -79=9(?$ 6"(6*-(=$ ";$ 94=$ *(C9-"(@*(47>$ 7(A$
*6"("@96$ B(=B=479(7<9>94:D$ 7(A$ 57-A$ 9(;-7=4-B64B-*$ 9=$ <*9(?$ -*8>76*A$ <:$ *6"=:=4*@P<7=*A$
@*7=B-*=$+5965$47.*$9(4"$766"B(4$(74B-7>$8-"6*==*=$";$8*-9"A96$;>""A9(?&$M59=$(*+$788-"765$57=$
("+$ <**($ ;"-@7>9U*A$ 45-"B?5$ 45*$ T""@$ ;"-$ 45*$ T9C*-$ S-"a*64&$ /6-"==$ -*;*-*(6*$ 4"$ +*4>7(A=$
65784*-3&$$
1
3
improve air quality, retain soil or stormwater, to integrated watershed management plans that
require coordination between upstream and downstream communities and across administrative
units. However, a strong integration with regional and national government agencies, as well as
international institutions, is fundamental in risk governance; it is only at a wider scale that many
drivers of risk can be tackled (e.g. at the watershed scale in the case of floods and droughts).
A series of case studies that address disaster risk reduction through ecosystem restoration and
enhancement have been presented in the previous sections. The key features of these cases are
summarized in Table 2. They all demonstrate how ecosystem conservation and enhancement can be
long term cost-effective measures to reduce disaster risk in urban areas. Ideally, ecosystem-based
urban risk reduction should be integrated into a broader framework of sustainable urban
development.
Experience has shown that the reduction of disaster risk through ecosystem management is
most effective when policy and legal frameworks are in place to support the action of urban
governments. The participation and involvement of community stakeholders should be promoted to
better evaluate existing ecosystem services as well as ensure effective communication and
ownership of planned interventions. Environmental department staff are usually most directly
responsible for ecosystems management, but mainstreaming such approaches into urban planning is
essential (PEDRR, 2011).
Budgeting processes can be extremely relevant entry points for the integration of ecosystems
in public management processes. Budgeting decisions express a system’s political priorities
between conflicting interests over limited resources. An ecosystem approach can expose the full
value of services that urban and peri-urban ecosystems provide. They can allow public authorities
and private investors to anticipate social and economic costs and benefits of their future actions for
present and future generations, which are easily neglected in urban management. By considering the
value of natural capital alongside economic and human resources, local authorities can better
compare and identify different management options, taking more informed decisions and
communicating these more clearly to the public (TEEB, 2011).
Urban and regional planning is another critical instrument for promoting proactive strategies
to prevent hazard exposure and reduction of disaster risk, through the avoidance of conflicting land
uses and the integration of multiple stakeholder interests (Fra.Paleo, 2009). Identifying the areas
that contribute most to the personal and material security of urban dwellers and those that are most
threatened by urbanization is a fundamental step to establishing spatial development policies that
control and reduce the levels of risk (TEEB, 2011). The integration of an ecosystem management-
based approach into urban planning can help reconcile environmental and developmental priorities
of local authorities, and can contribute to creating safer, more sustainable cities.
Table 2. Policy measures dealing with various natural hazards and their relationship with the local
ecosystem in various geographical areas.
Region/Country
City/Urban area
Ecosystem
Hazard
Anthropogenic
impact
Policy issues
1
4
Rokko Mountain
Range, Japan
Kobe, Ashiya,
Nishinomiya and
Takarazuka
Mountain region
Floods and
landslides
Urban expansion and
deforestation
Measure:
Rokko Mountain Green Belt
Development Project (1995):
Restoration of circa 1,300 ha to
public land and conserving it as
healthy forest
Aims:
cost-effective solution for
hydrogeological hazard mitigation
provision of additional cultural and
recreational benefits to the urban
population
Germany
Stuttgart
Valley
Heat waves
Highly industrialised
region with
increasing
urbanisation
Measure:
new land use and zoning
regulations based on data and
evidence collected by the Climate
Atlas
Aims:
prioritise green spaces and
vegetation cover, especially in
more densely urbanised areas
Boston Charles River,
USA
Boston
River basin,
freshwater wetlands
Floods
Industrial
development (1950’s-
60’s)
Measure:
in the 1970s, a flood management
project based on a set of hard
engineering and ecosystem
conservation solutions
Aims:
measurable improvement in flood
mitigation, water quality and
public recreation
New York, USA
New York
Urban green areas
Local intense
storm events
Obsolete sewerage
system
Measure:
trees, lawns and gardens will be
planted on roofs, streets and
sidewalks
Aims:
absorb and percolate more
rainwater to the ground
reduce the burden on the city’s
sewage system,
improve air and water quality
potentially reduce the need for
water and energy
1
5
Chicago, USA
Chicago
Urban green area
Storms and
floods
Measure:
Green Permit Program: encourages
developers to incorporate green
design elements, including green
roofs on new buildings
Aims:
better manage storm water and
mitigating urban floods
7.(Conclusions(
Despite evidence of their multiple benefits, including their cost-effectiveness, ecosystem-
based risk reduction measures have not been widely implemented in urban areas. Historically, cities
have been situated in strategic locations, such as floodplains, coastal flats, deltas, or hill slopes,
which allowed for easy trade access, defensibility in case of war, availability of natural resources,
but have generally been exposed to natural hazards. Therefore, urbanization frequently results in
increasing exposure of unprotected populations and assets to hazardous events, and is currently a
significant factor shaping risk at the global level. Disasters have thus increasingly gained an urban
dimension.
Urban areas in developed countries have pursued safety through structural measures and
“hard” engineering solutions. A few alternative examples of city administrations promoting
improved ecosystems management in and around urban areas have been featured in this chapter.
Many initiatives respond foremost to the need of reducing costs, while recognizing their added
social and environmental benefits. For instance, the adoption of green building construction,
particularly with respect to green roofing, like in New York and Chicago in the United States,
illustrates how the high financial costs of complying with the Federal Clean Water Act and building
separate storm sewer systems, have driven the transition towards a more cost-efficient,
environmental-friendly, stormwater management system in these cities (Tian, 2011). Given that
financial issues are even more of a priority for developing countries and cities, and given the high
costs often associated with engineered measures, ecosystem-based solutions for risk reduction
might provide more cost-effective options.
Successful implementation of sustainable ecosystem management for urban disaster reduction
can only be achieved through changes in the urban governance and decision-making processes, by
adopting more integrated approaches through cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder dialogue. This
further requires taking into account ecosystems in peri-urban and regional areas and the essential
services they provide to urban centres.
References(
Abramovitz, J. (2001) “Unnatural disasters”, Washington D.C.: The Worldwatch Institute,
Worldwatch Paper #158.
Albala-Bertrand, J.M. (2003) “Urban disasters and globalization”, in Kreimer A., Arnold M. and
Carlin A., (eds.), Building safer cities: The future of disaster risk, Washington, D.C.: World Bank,
pp. 75-82.
Altieri, M.A. (1999) “The greening of the ‘‘barrios’’: urban agriculture for food security in Cuba”
Agriculture and Human Values 16(2):131-140.
1
6
Anderson, W.A. (2003) “Women and Children facing Disaster” A. Kreimer et al. (eds), Building
safer cities: The future of disaster risk, Washington, D.C.: World Bank, pp. 57-74.
Blaikie, P. et al. (1994) “At risk: natural hazards, people’s vulnerability, and disasters”, New York:
Routledge.
Bolund P. and Hunhammar, S. (1999), “Ecosystem services in urban areas”, Ecological Economics,
19: 293-301.
Borja, J. and M. Castells (1997), “Local and global, the management of cities in the information
age”, London: Earthscan.
Botkin, D.B. and C.E. Beveridge (1997) “Cities as environments”, Urban Ecosystems, 1:3-19.
Bradford, M. and Charmichael, R.S. (eds.) (2007) "Notable natural disasters", Pasadena: Salem
Press.
Cavallo, E., Powell, A. and Becerra, O. (2010) "Estimating the direct economic damage of the
earthquake in Haiti", Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank.
CBD [Convention on Biological Diversity] (1992). http:// http://www.cbd.int/, accessed 6/3/2012.
Chege, L.W., C.J. Irene, R. Nadelman and B. Orr (2007) ‘Living with floods in Mozambique:
Urban impact in a context of chronic disaster’, case study prepared for UNHABITAT Global
Report on Human Settlements 2007.
CIA (2010) “The world factbook” Central Intelligence Agency,
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2012.html, accessed 6/3/2012.
Corvers, R. (2009) “Vulnerable to Flooding? Nature Development and ‘Room for the River’: A
Governance Perspective”, In U. Fra.Paleo (ed.). Building Safer Communities. Risk Governance,
Spatial Planning and Responses to Natural Hazards. Amsterdam: IOS Press. pp. 125-136.
Daniell, J. and Vervaeck, A. (2012) "Damaging earthquakes database 2011, the year in review",
CEDIM Earthquake Loss Estimation Series Research Report 2012-01, Karlsruhe: Center for
Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology.
Davis M. (2004), “Planet of slums, Urban involution and the informal proletariat”, New Left
Review, 26: 5–34.
Desinventar Indonesia, http://www.desinventar.net/, accessed 6/3/2012.
Depietri, Y., Renaud, F.G., and Kallis, G. (2012) Heat waves and floods in urban areas: a policy-
oriented reviewof ecosystem services Sustainability Science, 7:95–107.
Donnelly, R. and Marzluff, J.M. (2006) “Relative importance of habitat quantity, structure, and
spatial pattern to birds in urbanizing environments”, Urban Ecosystems, 9: 99–117.
EM-DAT “The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database”, Centre for Research on the
Epidemiology of Disasters, Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.
1
7
Espey, W.H., Jr., Morgan, C.W., Masch, F.D. (1965) “A study of some effects of urbanization on
storm runoff from a small watershed”, Technical Report 44D 07–6501 CRWR-2, Center for
Research in Water Resources, University of Texas, Austin.
Figuerola, E. and Pasten, R. (2008) “Forest and water: The value of native temperate forests in
supplying water for human consumption: A comment”, Ecological Economics, 67(2):153–156.
Fra.Paleo, U. (2009) “On exposure to natural hazards: Revisiting a neglected primal action. In U.
Fra.Paleo (ed.), Building Safer Communities. Risk Governance Spatial Planning and Responses to
Natural Hazards. Amsterdam: IOS Press. pp. 61-78.
Fra.Paleo, U. (2010) “Las dimensiones de las inundaciones históricas en Galicia en la comunicación
del riesgo”. In U. Fra.Paleo (ed.), Riesgos naturales en Galicia. Santiago de Compostela: University
of Santiago de Compostela Press. pp. 47-63.
Gandy, M. (2008) “Landscapes of disaster: water, modernity and urban fragmentation in Mumbai”,
Environment and Planning A, 40(1):108-140.
Garatwa, W. and Bollin, C (2001), “Disaster risk management: A working concept”, Eschborn:
Deutsche Gesellschaft für technische Zusammenarbeit.
Gholami, V., Mohseni, M., and Ahmadi, H. (2010) “Effects of impervious surfaces and urban
development on runoff generation and flood hazard in the Hajighoshan watershed”, Caspian Journal
of Environmental Sciences 8:1-12.
GDRC “Urban environmental management”, Global Development Research Centre (GDRC).
http://www.gdrc.org/uem/doc-intro.html, accessed 6/3/2012.
Global Forum on Local Development (2010) “Localizing the MDGs: what role for local
governments?”, In Global Forum on Local Development Report, Pursuing the MDGs through Local
Government, New York: UN Capital Development Fund. pp 17-29.
Guglielmino, J. (1997) “Greenways: paths to the future”, American Forests 103(3):26-27.
Hillsdon, M., Jones, A., and Coombes, E. (2009) “Green space access, green space use, physical
activity and overweight: a research summary”, Natural England,
http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/bristolgreenspacesummary_tcm6-12134.pdf, accessed
6/3/2012.
Johnson, C. et al. (2010) “Urban disaster trends”, in IFRC, World Disasters Report 2010: Focus on
urban risk, Geneva: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, pp. 10-29.
Kazmierczak, A. and Carter J. (2010) “Adaptation to climate change using green and blue
infrastructure, a database of case studies”, Manchester: University of Manchester.
Kühn I., Brandl R. and Klotz S. (2004). “The flora of German cities is naturally species rich”
Evolutionary Ecology Research, 6:749-764.
Lall, S.V. and Deichmann U. (2009), ”Density and disasters: economics of urban hazard risk”,
Washington D.C.: World Bank.
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (2006) "Reports of missing and Deceased",
http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/offices/page.asp?id=192&detail=5248, accessed 6/3/2012.
1
8
Lu, S.-Y.; Cheng J.D.; Brooks K.N. (2001) “Managing forests for watershed protection in
Taiwan”, Forest Ecology and Management 143:77-85.
McGranahan, G., P. Marcotullio, XM. Bai, D. Balk, T. Braga, I. Douglas, T. Elmqvist, W. Rees, D.
Satterthwaite, J. Songsore, H. Zlotnick, J. Eades, E. Ezcurra, A. Whyte. 2005. Urban systems. In:
Hassan R, Scholes R, and Ash N (Eds). Ecosystems and human well-being: current state and trends
(Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Series). Washington, DC: Island Press. pp.795-825.
McGranahan, G., Balk, D., Anderson, B. (2007). “The rising tide: assessing the risks of climate
change and human settlements in low elevation coastal zones”, Environment and Urbanization,
19(1): 17-37.
McPherson, E.G. (1994) “Energy-saving potential of trees in Chicago”, in E.G. McPherson et al.
(eds.) Chicago's urban forest ecosystem: results of the Chicago urban forest climate project, USDA,
Forest Service General Technical Report NE-186, pp. 95-114.
Meehl, G.A. and Tebaldi C. (2004) “More Intense, More Frequent, and Longer Lasting Heat Waves
in the 21st Century“, Science 305: 994-997.
Ministry of Environment, Government of Japan (2011) “Reforestation by public works for the
purpose of restoring ecosystem service in the Rokko Mountain Range, Japan” ,
http://www.env.go.jp/nature/satoyama/syuhourei/pdf/cje_4.pdf, accessed 3/6/2012.
Mitchell, J.K. (1999) “Crucibles of hazard: mega-cities and disasters in transition”, New York:
UNU Press.
Morrow, S., Smolen M., Stiegler J., and Cole J. (1995) “Using vegetation for erosion control on
construction sites”, Oklahoma State University, BAE-1514.
Mumford, L. (1938) “The culture of cities”, New York: Harcourt Brace & Company.
Munich Re (2004), “Megacities – Megarisks, trends and challenges for insurance and risk
management”, Münchener Rückversicherungs Gesellschaft.
New York City (2010). “NYC green infrastructure plan: A sustainable strategy for clean
waterways”. City of New York.
Nirupama, N. and Simonovic, S.P. (2006) “Increase of flood risk due to urbanisation: A Canadian
example”. Natural Hazards 40, 25-41.
Nowak, D.J. (1994) “Air pollution removal by Chicago's urban forest”, in E.G. McPherson et al.
(eds.) Chicago's urban forest ecosystem: results of the Chicago urban forest climate project, USDA
Forest Service General Technical Report NE-186. pp. 63-81.
Núñez et al. (2006) “Forests and water: The value of native temperate forests in supplying water for
human consumption” Ecological Economics 58: 606- 616.
OCHA (2009) "Labutta Township Profile, March 2009", at:
http://www.themimu.info/docs/Profile_Labutta%20Township_March%2009.pdf, accessed
12/3/2012.
Odum, E.P. (1971) “Fundamentals of ecology”, Philadelphia: Saunders.
1
9
O Globo (2011) "Número de mortos na Região Serrana já passa de 900 após chuvas de janeiro", at
http://oglobo.globo.com/rio/numero-de-mortos-na-regiao-serrana-ja-passa-de-900-apos-chuvas-de-
janeiro-2822331#ixzz1oMKQaJxi, accessed 6/3/2012.
PEDRR (2011) “Managing watersheds for urban resilience”, Partnership for Environment and
Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR) Policy Brief.
Pelling, M. (2003) “The Vulnerability of cities”, London: Earthscan.
Pereira, A.S. (2006) "The opportunity of a disaster: The economic impact of the 1755 Lisbon
earthquake", Discussion Paper 06/03, Centre for Historical Economics and Related Research at
York, York University.
Pickett S.T.A., Burch W.R. Jr, Dalton S.E., Foresman T.W., Grove J.M., Rowntree R. (1997) “A
conceptual framework for the study of human ecosystems in urban areas”, Urban Ecosystems
1:185–199.
Pickett, S.T.A., Cadenasso, M.L., Grove, J.M., Nilon, C.H., Pouyat, R.V., Zipperer, W.C. and
Costanza R. (2001) “Urban ecological systems: Linking terrestrial ecological, physical, and
socioeconomic components of metropolitan areas”, Annual Review of Ecological Systems 32:127-
157.
Pielke, Jr., R. A., Gratz, J., Landsea, C. W., Collins, D., Saunders, M., and Musulin, R. (2006)
"Normalized Hurricane Damages in the United States: 1900-2005",. Natural Hazards Review, 9(1):
29-42.
Pires, M. (2004) “Watershed protection for a world city: The case of New York” Land Use Policy
21(2):161–175.
Platt, R.H. (2006) “Urban watershed management. Sustainability, one stream at a time”
Environment 48(4):26-42.
Porter, R. (1994) "London: a social history", London: Hamish Hamilton.
Postel, S.L. and Thompson, B.H. (2005) “Watershed protection: Capturing the benefits of nature’s
water supply services”. Natural Resources Forum 29:98-108.
Satterthwaite, D. (2010) “Avoiding the urbanization of disasters”, in IFRC, World Disasters Report
2010: Focus on urban risk, Geneva: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies, pp. 10-29.
Showers K.B. (2002) “Water scarcity and urban Africa: An overview of urban-rural water
linkages”, World Development 30(4): 621-648.
Srinivas H., Shaw R. and Sharma A. (2009) “Future perspective of urban risk reduction”, in Shaw
R., Srinivas H. and Sharma A. (eds.), Urban risk reduction: an Asian perspective, Bingley: Emerald,
pp. 105-116.
Stolten, S., Dudley, N. and Randall, J. (2008). “Natural Security, Protected Areas and Hazard
Mitigation”. Gland: WWF and Equilibrium.
Strzepek, K.M. and Smith, J.B. (1995) "As climate changes: international impacts and implications"
New York: Cambridge University Press.
2
0
Surjan A.K. and Shaw R. (2009),” Essentials of urban disaster risk reduction”, in Shaw R. and
Krishnamurthy R.R. (eds.), Disaster management: global challenges and local solutions, Chennai:
Universities Press, pp. 543-555.
Tarr, J.A. (1997) “The city and the natural environment”, http://www.gdrc.org/uem/doc-tarr.html,
accessed 3/6/2012.
Teich, M., Bebi, P., (2009). “Evaluating the benefit of avalanche protection forest with GIS-based
risk analyses — A case study in Switzerland”. Forest Ecology and Management, 257: 1910–1919.
TEEB – The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (2011). TEEB Manual for Cities:
Ecosystem Services in Urban Management. http:// www.teebweb.org
The Guardian. 2011/11/03. “Trash, sewage boost disease risk in Bangkok floods”.
Tian, S, (2011) "Managing stormwater runoff with green infrastructure: Exploring practical
strategies to overcome barriers in citywide implementation”. Community and Regional Planning
Program: Student Projects and Theses. Paper 7. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/arch_crp_theses/7.
Tilling, R.I. (1985) "Volcanoes", USGS General Interest Publication.
Ulrich, R. (1984) “View through a window may influence recovery from surgery”, Science
224:420-421.
UNEP (2007) “Global Environmental Outlook 4: environment for development”, United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP).
UNESCAP (2005), “Urban environmental governance, for sustainable development in Asia and the
Pacific: A regional overview”, Bangkok: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for
Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
UN-HABITAT (2003) “Slums of the World: The face of urban poverty in the new millennium?”,
Nairobi: UN-HABITAT.
UN-HABITAT (2010), “State of the world’s cities 2008/2009, harmonious cities”, London:
Earthscan.
UNDESA (2007) “World urbanization prospects: The 2007 revision”, New York: United Nations
Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
UNDESA (2009) “World urbanization prospects: The 2009 revision”, New York: United Nations
Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
UNEP-WCMC (2006) “In the front line: Shoreline protection and other ecosystems services from
mangroves and coral reefs”, Cambridge: United Nations Environment Programme.
UNISDR (2009a) “Global Assessment Report 2009: Risk and poverty in a changing climate”,
Geneva: United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).
UNISDR (2009b) “Global Assessment Report 2009: Annex - Compiled Case studies”, Geneva:
United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).
2
1
UNISDR (2010) “Strategy outline for the 2010-2011 World Disaster Reduction Campaign on
making cities resilient, addressing urban risk”, Geneva: United Nations International Strategy for
Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).
UNISDR (2011) “Global Assessment Report 2011”, Geneva: United Nations International Strategy
for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).
Vale, L.J. and T.J. Campanella (eds.) (2005) “The resilient city”, New York: Oxford University
Press.
Vatsa, K.S. (2005) “Home for almost half the world”, in T. Jeggle (ed.), Know risk,
Geneva:UNISDR, pp. 282-285.
Vitousek, P.M. et al. (1997) “Human domination of Earth's ecosystems”, Science 277(5325): 494-
499.
Weems, J.E. "Galveston Hurricane of 1900", Handbook of Texas Online,
http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ydg02, accessed 6/3/2012.
Wilkie, K. and R. Roach (2004) “Green among the concrete: The benefits of urban natural capital”,
Calgary: Canada West Foundation.
Wisner, B. (1999) “There are worse things than earthquakes: Hazard vulnerability and mitigation
capacity in Greater Los Angeles”, in J.K. Mitchell (ed) Crucibles of Hazard: Mega-Cities and
Disasters in Transition, New York: UNU Press, pp. 375–427.
WWI (2004), “Residents of Rio's favelas face diverse risks”, WorldWatch Institute.
http://www.worldwatch.org/node/4756, accessed 6/3/2012.
... To reduce both the destructive force of a hazard event and the vulnerability of exposed people and infrastructure, environmental management solutions are increasingly being applied. Natural hazards, traditionally associated with rural contexts, are impacting increasingly on urban areas, especially in rapidly urbanizing developing and emerging countries (Guadagno et al. 2013). Population, and subsequently urban growths, as well as overexploitation of natural resources increase the pressure on ecosystems and lead to their loss or degradation, which often aggravates disaster risk, because the protective functions of ecosystems against natural hazards are negatively affected or in the worst case destroyed. ...
... In addition, hard engineering or 'grey' infrastructure solutions are still often preferred over 'green' or ecosystem-based ones for disaster management. Cities are usually dominated by built infrastructure; consequently, planning often overlooks ecosystem potentials and benefits in favor of pure engineered solutions to cope with disasters (Guadagno et al. 2013;Mercer et al. 2012). Attempts to control nature through dams, levees, and reclamation of swamps and wetlands were and still are popular and favored over ecosystem-based solutions, although non-properly planned engineered solutions may even increase the impacts of an event, e.g. the severity of flooding (Quarantelli 2003). ...
... Urban poor, often settling informally in the most vulnerable locations, are facing comparable high environmental risk from natural hazards and global environmental change (Pelling 2003(Pelling , 2012. Adapting urban infrastructure to the impacts of climate change and natural hazards by using ecosystem-based approaches, as many cities in developing and emerging countries are currently doing (Schauber 2014), could be a viable tool particularly for such informal settlers who often continue to rely on local natural resources (Guadagno et al. 2013). ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Ecosystem-based measures have a high potential to replace or build on engineered solutions for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), not only in rural but also in urban areas. Based on the case study of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this working paper reveals the potential for implementing such ecosystem-based measures to protect informal settlements. These so-called favelas are often located on steep slopes and therefore prone to landslides that are triggered by heavy rainfall events. Deforestation and land degradation, inadequate infrastructure and ongoing informal building activities are additionally exacerbating risks. Different-formal and informal-actors are already involved in urban disaster risk reduction; however, structural measures are mostly limited to engineered approaches and not yet aligned with the urban reforestation program. The two major constraints hindering a more efficient landslide risk management and the inclusion of ecosystem-based approaches that were detected in the study are a lack of coordination among the involved authorities as well as a lack of awareness of the potentials that ecosystem-based approaches offer. Investigations in the favelas Morro da Formiga and Morro dos Prazeres that are in the central and northern zone of Rio de Janeiro and severely affected by land and mudslides in the past, revealed a high potential for ecosystem-based measures for DRR and CCA that has hardly been tapped yet. Based on literature surveys, expert interviews and site visits, a portfolio of suitable ecosystem-based measures for urban DRR and CCA for selected marginal settlements in urban risk areas of Rio de Janeiro is compiled, with lessons for the city and beyond. The potentials detected range from household to urban level, and propose pure ecosystem-based measures, but also hybrid ones and social as well as administrative tools. About the Author(s) Lead researcher Wolfram Lange is currently working as a freelance consultant for projects of international cooperation for sustainable development, NGO and governmental institutions in Brazil. His expertise is in urban and social geography as well as regional planning and natural resources management focusing on land use management in rural and urban areas and socio-spatial analysis, climate change, and disaster risk reduction. Sandholz focuses on sustainable urban and regional development, particularly on urban regeneration, nature-based solutions for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, good governance and livelihood approaches, based on empirical social research methods.
... Other threats are geological disasters (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis) that can destroy cities suddenly, especially those around the Ring of Fire (Iuchi and Esnard 2008). Environmental degradation triggered by human activities also increases the risk of disasters in urban areas (Guadagno et al. 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
Building back better-based urban planning is an integral part of efforts to increase urban resilience. Therefore, urban physical growth needs to be monitored to prevent built-up areas from expanding into hazard zones. This study analyzed the dynamics of urban physical growth and its driving forces in tsunami-affected areas of Banda Aceh after the 2004 tsunami. Built-up areas were extracted from Landsat images. The annual growth rate equation was used to estimate the growth characteristics in the tsunami-affected and safe areas. In-depth interviews and extensive literature reviews were also conducted to identify the determinant factors of urban redevelopment in tsunami-affected areas. Results showed that the annual growth rate was high in the areas during the disaster recovery period (2005–2009). Nevertheless, urban physical growth dominated in the safe areas during 2009–2019. The study also identified several driving forces of urban physical growth in the hazard zones: (1) population growth, (2) spatial planning, (3) distance to old city center, (4) land ownership and prices, and (5) socio-economic factors. This study provided new insights for urban planners to reduce disaster risk in urban areas.
... As a consequence different global frameworks stress the importance of ecosystem-based, naturebased or green solutions for urban risk reduction, among them the 2016 New Urban Agenda which promotes 'nature-based solutions' [17]. Urban green spaces and urban protected areas can contribute to mitigate risk impacts and support climate change adaptation and mitigation [18][19][20][21][22]. However traditional measures for disasters prevention, mitigation and recovery focus on 'grey' infrastructure like containment walls, channelization of rivers and other technical solutions [23][24][25]. This is especially true in densely inhabited urban areas [26]. ...
Article
Ecosystem-based approaches are increasingly considered to reduce disaster risks (Eco-DRR) and adapt to climate change (EbA). Their consideration in some of the main global frameworks such as the IPCC report or the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction has raised additional attention. However, these approaches are still more associated with rural than urban areas, although many urban areas face a high risk of natural hazards and the benefits of ecosystem-based measures to reduce it have already been proven in different cities. A successful implementation of ecosystem-based approaches in urban areas is highly complex. Using the city of Rio de Janeiro as case study, we first examine on the municipality level the responsibilities of the different institutions involved in landslide risk reduction and their technical and organizational interfaces. In a second step we zoom into two marginal settlements to determine whether ecosystem-based measures for landslide risk reduction already exist and assess the potential to either implement or further increase their application. These so-called favelas are often constructed on or beneath steep and degraded slopes prone to landslides. Landslides are mainly triggered by heavy rainfall events which are likely to increase in the future due to the impacts of global climate change. Activities to reduce landslide risk are distributed between many different actors, such as civil defense, geological survey, urban planning, and environmental management, and the measures taken are predominantly engineered approaches with a focus on preparedness and response. The urban reforestation program which could provide additional ecosystem benefits is not yet aligned enough with risk reduction and faces several challenges. In addition, the consideration of informal settings in formal urban planning and management strategies can still be improved. Based on quantitative and qualitative data from interviews and secondary sources, site visits, and expert interviews with representatives from public authorities and other stakeholders, the research assesses the individual institutional approaches as well as the overall urban governance system with regard to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. The potential governance challenges for fostering ecosystem-based approaches are analyzed and clustered to provide an insight on paths that could facilitate the future consideration of Eco-DRR/EbA in Rio de Janeiro and beyond.
... A fundamental step of this type of assessments is the clear characterization of the groups relying or benefiting from the services (Berrouet et al. 2018). Table 3 builds on previous review studies authored or co-authored by the author (see Depietri 2015;Depietri et al. 2013aDepietri et al. , b, 2012Guadagno et al. 2013). The categories in the left column of the Table reflect the central part of the framework presented in Fig. 2. ...
Article
Full-text available
The impacts of natural hazards on local communities are increasing worldwide and are projected to rise further due to urban expansion and climate change. To address these threats, a large amount of literature has characterized and assessed the physical, social, economic and institutional dimensions of disaster risk. However, much less attention has been paid to the social–ecological dimension of vulnerability and risk. The lack of consideration of this dimension represents a major knowledge gap, especially when considering that environmental degradation is regarded as one of the primary drivers of risk to natural hazards worldwide. While the international community advocates for the restoration of ecosystems as an important strategy for disaster risk reduction, the relationship between environmental health, vulnerability and risk of populations is often overlooked in vulnerability and risk assessment, a precondition for the design and implementation of effective ecosystem-based adaptation strategies. Possible explanations for this gap are: (1) the contradictory results on the role of ecosystem health in determining risk of local communities; (2) the poor theoretical framing of the social–ecological dimension of vulnerability and risk to natural hazards; or (3) the lack of clarity regarding how to assess this dimension of risk. This paper addresses potential reasons (2) and (3). It first reviews the available literature related to social–ecological drivers of vulnerability and risk of local communities exposed to natural hazards. Second, it discusses and provides a definition of social–ecological vulnerability and risk. Third, it reviews assessment methods and, finally, it suggests an improved conceptual framework that illustrates the main interactions between natural hazards, the ecosystem and the social system.
... As EcoDRR evolves into an approach for locally empowering resilience building empowerment [29,42], its aspirations must include engaging local communities as co-adaptive managers. Accordingly, emerging literature elaborates on the need for community or local population participation for translating the overarching concept of EcoDRR to local action, according to local hazard risk manifestation patterns, the social setting and ecological conditions [6,31,43]. Furthermore, abandoned traditional and local practices such as Kasumi Dykes for flood control in Japan [53] and demi-lune (water retention holes) for droughts in Burkina Faso and Senegal [47] are being revived through EcoDRR. Such practices can inherently contribute to socioecological resilience building, within the means, knowledge, and capacities of the local communities and therefore sustained in the longer term [35]. ...
Article
Ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction, a concept that has recently evolved from the notion of employing ecosystem management approaches for reducing societal risks to disasters, requires active and inclusive involvement of a range of stakeholders in order to enhance the knowledge base, facilitate favourable policy mechanisms and inform suitable practices on the ground. The integration of different disciplines of knowledge, alignment of policies such as those related to natural resource management, disaster risk management and development, as well as execution of unified practices are necessary conditions in order to successfully harness the benefits of nature for protecting people from the impacts of disasters. Social learning is an iterative, collective learning process that can convene the wide range of stakeholders support co-creation of knowledge, enhance collective understanding of what action is needed as well as strengthen the willingness for joint action and advocacy. The paper explores opportunities in applying social learning for ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction, especially in light of the emerging challenges documented from early applications and in evolving literature. It also elaborates on the limitations of social learning itself and the research opportunities social learning for ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction holds.
... As a consequence different global frameworks stress the importance of ecosystem-based, naturebased or green solutions for urban risk reduction, among them the 2016 New Urban Agenda which promotes 'nature-based solutions' [17]. Urban green spaces and urban protected areas can contribute to mitigate risk impacts and support climate change adaptation and mitigation [18][19][20][21][22]. However traditional measures for disasters prevention, mitigation and recovery focus on 'grey' infrastructure like containment walls, channelization of rivers and other technical solutions [23][24][25]. This is especially true in densely inhabited urban areas [26]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Ecosystem-based approaches are increasingly considered to reduce disaster risks (Eco-DRR) and adapt to climate change (EbA). Their consideration in some of the main global frameworks such as the IPCC report or the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction has raised additional attention. However, these approaches are still more associated with rural than urban areas, although many urban areas face a high risk of natural hazards and the benefits of ecosystem-based measures to reduce it have already been proven in different cities. A successful implementation of ecosystem-based approaches in urban areas is highly complex. Using the city of Rio de Janeiro as case study, we first examine on the municipality level the responsibilities of the different institutions involved in landslide risk reduction and their technical and organizational interfaces. In a second step we zoom into two marginal settlements to determine whether ecosystem-based measures for landslide risk reduction already exist and assess the potential to either implement or further increase their application. These so-called favelas are often constructed on or beneath steep and degraded slopes prone to landslides. Landslides are mainly triggered by heavy rainfall events which are likely to increase in the future due to the impacts of global climate change. Activities to reduce landslide risk are distributed between many different actors, such as civil defense, geological survey, urban planning, and environmental management, and the measures taken are predominantly engineered approaches with a focus on preparedness and response. The urban reforestation program which could provide additional ecosystem benefits is not yet aligned enough with risk reduction and faces several challenges. In addition, the consideration of informal settings in formal urban planning and management strategies can still be improved.Based on quantitative and qualitative data from interviews and secondary sources, site visits, and expert interviews with representatives from public authorities and other stakeholders, the research assesses the individual institutional approaches as well as the overall urban governance system with regard to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. The potential governance challenges for fostering ecosystem-based approaches are analyzed and clustered to provide an insight on paths that could facilitate the future consideration of Eco-DRR/EbA in Rio de Janeiro and beyond.
... However, aspects such as climate change in relation to frequency, intensity, and possible changes in the dynamics of floods (IPCC 2007), or disasters and the environment (Shaw and Tran 2012), or ecosystem management for urban risk reduction (Guadagno et al. 2013;Renaud et al. 2013) are not considered within the risk management framework. In order to favor the construction of resilience, it would be pertinent to implement social learning strategies, based on existing local knowledge (López-Marredo and Tschakert 2011), with institutions that carry out research on disasters or instances that develop projects in communities, which would contribute to redefine and generate awareness (Beck et al. 2012) which through the articulation of public policies supports decision making. ...
... Until quite recently a small, well-managed town, it now sprawls up slopes and along mountain streams, encountering or creating ever-greater problems of drainage, untreated garbage, pollution, and overcrowding (Gyelmo, 2016). Such conditions are typical precursors of severe impacts in disasters (Guadagno, Depietri, & Urbano Fra Paleo, 2013). ...
... The process of urbanization has existed since ancient civilization and has become more latent after the industrialization period in the twentieth century. According to Guadagno et al. (2013), urban centers have always existed; however, the population of these centers Landslides are the most common natural catastrophe in mountainous terrains that change the landscape and damage life and property (Akgun and Turk 2010;Anbazhagan and Ramesh 2014). Still, according to these authors, landslides in mountainous regions are influenced by various causal factors and triggered by a number of external factors, such as intense rainfall, earthquakes, water level changes, storm waves and rapid erosion. ...
Article
Full-text available
Current human settlements are characterized by disorganized urbanization and high population densities, which can impact the landscape and the environment. Soil transport leads to erosion and aggradation of water bodies and increases landslide susceptibility in regions with more uneven topographies. Landslides are the most common environmental accidents and have caused the most deaths; one example is the incident that occurred in the mountainous region of the state of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in January 2011. Mapping the predisposition or susceptibility of components of the physical environment to landslides provides an integrated view of the characteristics and physical processes that act within a region. Therefore, the objective of this study is to evaluate the urban expansion proposal of Baptista (Avaliação da suscetibilidade aos movimentos de massa, erosão e escoamento superficial em Nova Friburgo, RJ, 2009) and compare it with the areas affected by the mega-disaster of 2011 using hierarchical decision analysis and a GIS toolkit. The results show that landslides did not affect the areas selected for urban expansion, i.e., the method was useful for identifying the areas that were most susceptible to landslides prior to the disaster.
Chapter
Full-text available
Cities are high emitters of greenhouse gases and are drivers of environmental modification, often leading to degradation and fragmentation of ecosystems at local and regional scales. Linked to these trends is a growing threat experienced by urban areas: the risk from hydro-meteorological and climatological hazards, further accentuated by climate change. Ecosystems and their services, though often overlooked or degraded, can provide multiple hazard regulating functions such as coastal and surface flood regulation, temperature regulation and erosion control. Engineering or grey approaches often do not tackle the root causes of risk and can increase the vulnerability of populations over the long-term. However, evidence of alternative approaches such as the role of healthy, functioning ecosystems in disaster risk reduction are still scarce, contentious, and with limited applicability in the urban context. This chapter explores the role of grey, green, and blue infrastructure and in particular hybrid approaches for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation to shed light on available sustainable adaptation opportunities in cities and urban areas. We highlight the dependence of cities on ecosystems as a key component of climate resilience building through case studies and literature review. At the same time, we highlight the limitation and drawbacks in the adoption of merely grey or merely green infrastructures. We suggest that an intermediate ‘hybrid’ approach, which combines both blue, green and grey approaches, may be the most effective strategy for reducing risk to hazards in the urban context.
Chapter
Full-text available
The Netherlands is vulnerable to flooding by the sea and major European rivers. Climate change, socio-economic developments in low-lying areas and continuing land subsidence have significantly increased the risk of flooding. Real problems are expected to arise if the sea level rises to such an extent that river water can no longer discharge into sea, leading to safety risks in large areas of the country. The flood protection policies for the rivers being developed by the Dutch government have recently shown a shift from building ever higher and stronger dikes towards nature development (habitat creation and repair) and giving rivers more space (the Room for the River programme), since a more natural river system is regarded as the best protection against climate change. The implementation of this major transformation in the area along and between the major Dutch rivers requires many different public authorities and private stakeholders to cooperate in such a way that their different values, beliefs, needs and interests merge into coordinated action. Attempts to realize the high policy ambitions for the area along the rivers have led to a regional, multi-stakeholder initiative. The underlying philosophy of this approach is governance, that is, coordinated action by actors representing the government, the business community and civil society to cope with complex societal problems. A Dutch project in the river basin of the Rhine –called Gelderse Poort– is used here as a case study to show what governance with respect to climate adaptation policies might mean in practice. The chapter also shows the impact of unexpected events such as extremely high water levels in rivers on ongoing planning and policy processes.
Article
As the magnitude of last year's events have become clear, some policy makers are beginning to recognize the role of human activities in worsening natural disasters. After an emergency meeting of Central America's environment ministers in January, Costa Rica's vice president Isabel Odio spoke eloquently of a new awareness of the disastrous toll that deforestation has taken in Central America. Environmental degradation, Odio said, is like a war in which the ultimate victim is the human species. She likened the wrath of the hurricane to a punishment by nature for the harm done to it by humankind. In China, government officials eventually acknowledged that the Yangtze floods were greatly exacerbated by logging in the upper Yangtze watershed. In Honduras, a new law was passed after the hurricane that forbids construction in 'high risk' areas. Yet if people are too poor to afford even modest rent or mortgage payments for newly constructed housing, where will they go but back to the marginal areas? The events of 1998 provided a lesson to all humanity: that any form of development which ignores ecological reality and social inequity is a prescription for disaster. Unless nations are able to build or rebuild along a path of sustainable development that emphasizes maintaining and restoring healthy ecosystems, they risk even greater exposure to the devastation of unnatural disasters in the future.
Article
Cities in the United States are facing the challenges of protecting water resources, drinking water and public health with a rapid pace of population growth and urban sprawl. Large quantities of stormwater runoff arising from increased imperviousness on urbanizing watershed will cause municipal sewer system overflow and discharge of untreated runoff into waterways, and as a result, pollute local water bodies and affect the quality of drinking water in the long run. It has been increasingly acknowledged that Green Infrastructure (GI) and Low Impact Development (LID) can be used as an effective tool to capture and retain stormwater on site before it enters the sewer system. Many cities have started taking measures to encourage the use of GI and LID in new development and redevelopment of public and private projects. However, the process is very slow and only few cities have adopted green stormwater management approaches at a significant scale due to barriers hindering the wide implementation of GI/LID practices. Identification of the barriers encountered by municipalities in implementation of GI/LID practices and possible strategies to overcome them is one of the first steps to scale up the use of GI/LID in stormwater management. The intent of the research in this thesis is to identify the barriers and create strategies by conducting a systematic review and analysis of a variety of previous studies in the green stormwater management field. The research reveals 10 barrier types under four categories: institutional, technical, financial, and managerial, and at least 46 strategies to overcome those barriers. Based upon the barrier typology and the list of strategies, stormwater management plans and other published government documents of seven American cities were evaluated to determine whether those strategies have been adopted by each municipality in their respective stormwater management programs. Advisor: Zhenghong Tang