Design Open Mic: Resilient Cities

Design Open Mic: Resilient Cities

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Apr 13, 2013
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Architecture for Humanity Program Coordinator, Audrey Galo, and Design Fellow, Yuko Okamura, review of the org's Resiliency Program: how Architecture for Humanity is taking leadership in resilient cities and community resilience, and the future of the resilient program.

The two lay out the argument for resiliency infrastructure in cities, and what it takes for a city to prepare for future disasters.

We've left a "track list" below for you to navigate the presentation.


Economic Interdependence. "No city is self reliant. Communities are constantly being affected by decisions and issues on other places."

Climate Change. "Globally about 26M have been displaced by natural disasters - about the pop. of Texas. By 2050 it will hit 150M, half the pop. of the US. A huge displacement of people – where will they go?"

Rapid Urbanization. "Rapid influx and exodus of a city's population dramatically affects its ability to adapt to the different types of changes."

"Resiliency is a balance of three factors: economy, social network and physical spaces"

"Resiliency for us is being able to adapt, and change to the factors affecting it…. We're not going to pretend that disasters won't affect cities, but do the system exist to support recovery and reconstruction?"

"City governments have the capacity to implement programs, but they don't understand disaster. And departments aren't really talking to one another, and are unaware of the resources available to them."

The good news:

Mexico City's 'Earthquake Risk Reduction' program a marked success. Since the program was introduced, Mexico City has reduced response time.

Sendai. Since the mid-60's have been working at different levels…to organize people around disasters. Neighborhood coordinators and city emergency management trainers.

San Francisco is involving civilian groups in disaster preparedness programs.

What can we do beforehand to prevent extreme post-disaster conditions?

We can build a worldwide coordinated disaster resiliency program with help from our chapters.

Chicago chapter respond to Harrisburg, IL, tornado damage. They work with community elders to plan a new senior center.

Disaster Grant Program works with five chapters on comprehensive plans in partnership with local AIA components - Seattle, Chicago, Washington DC, New York and Baltimore. Read the full update.

Growing and scaling the program. We're committed to developing the capacity of key chapters, and work toward training and orientation resources available to all chapters.