UNFPA’s 2007 State of the World Population1 report affirmed that for the first time in history, more than half of humanity is urban-based. This is expected to grow to 70% by 2050, represented by 6.4 billion people. The greatest amount of growth is expected to occur in secondary cities of developing countries, those with current populations below 500,000. Migration to cities will continue because of economic, political and social factors, especially among low-income countries2. Vulnerable, usually poor populations are like to settle in marginal and hazardous areas. To illustrate, the number of people living in floodplains of urban areas may rise, by 2060, from:
- East Asia - 18 million 45–67 million
- South-Central Asia - 35–59 million
- South East Asia - 7 million in 2000 to 30–49 million
- Africa - 26–36.
Cities across the globe, particularly those with urban poor communities, face long-term challenges in ensuring the well-being of their inhabitants. These challenges are partly a result of direct and indirect impacts of climate change, and are often compounded by preexisting vulnerability. Urban resilience is the capacity of cities to function, so that the people living and working in cities particularly the porr and vulnerable, survive and thrive no matter what stresses or shocks they encounter.
Signs of Climate Change
Source : www.motherearthnews.com
The concept of resilience has been useful in addressing climate risk and unexpected events, and in enhancing ef orts to survive and thrive in the context of climate change.3 Urban climate change resilience (UCCR) embraces climate change adaptation, mitigation actions, and disaster risk reduction while recognizing the complexity of rapidly growing urban areas and the uncertainty associated with climate change. This approach places greater emphasis on considering cities as dynamic systems capable of evolving and adapting to survive and even thrive in the face of volatile shocks or stresses.
Urban resilience is the ability of urban communities to recover from disasters and disturbances in a sustainable way, maintain a good quality of life and increase its coping capacity to reduce the damages from an unpredictable disaster or disturbance. Resilient urban communities are better prepared for uncertain and able to adapt to changing conditions.
On 2013, The World Economic Forum released its Global Risks Report and included a section on resilience in the report. It is the first such report of the forum that discusses the global risks from resilience perspective. The report identifies five components of national resilience that are very applicable for the urban context. What are the five components ?
The components are robustness, redundancy, resourcefulness, response and recovery (5R).4 Robustness refers to the ability to absorb and withstand disaster and disturbance. Redundancy is the excess capacity to enable the maintenance of core functions in the event of disasters and disturbances.
Resourcefulness involves the ability to adapt and respond flexibly to disaster and disturbances, and transform a negative impact into a positive one. Response means the ability to mobilize quickly in the face of disturbance. Recovery is the ability to regain normality after a disaster or disturbance.
Building urban resilience refers to the development of these five components in the urban system, including buildings, infrastructure and communities. Building urban resilience is a long term program and requires coordination among stakeholders in the city including government agencies, private companies and residents to prepare for, withstand and recover stronger from disaster, disruptions and chronic stresses.
In May 2013, the Rockefeller Foundation announced the Centennial Challenge of 100 Resilient Cities. The foundation received nearly 400 applications from cities around the world ranging from thousand-year-old cities to mega-cities dealing with rapid urbanization. A panel of judges, including former president Bill Clinton, reviewed the applications particularly on how the cities are approaching and planning for resilience and their commitment to building a resilient city.
On Dec. 3, the panel selected the first set of 33 cities for the foundation’s 100 Resilient Network. The 33 selected cities include Semarang, Melbourne, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Ramalah, Rotterdam, Rome, Rio de Jainero, Mexico City and Dakar. These cities have implemented innovative programs and demonstrated positive results for resilience.
For example, New Orleans had experience from dealing with and rebounding from hurricanes Katrina and Isaac and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and learned important lessons about being a resilient city. Similarly, New York City has learned valuable lessons from Hurricane Sandy and developed programs to protect its residents from coastal flooding and sea level rise that could lead to replicable models for other coastal cities.
Innovative programs for increasing resilience and lessons learned in recovering from disasters and catastrophes from those selected cities should be introduced to other cities for possible replication, including to Indonesian cities. Jakarta and other Indonesian cities should prepare for possible catastrophic disruptions and should develop systems to recover. Semarang was selected because it has innovative programs to address flash floods and tidal flooding. These include rainwater harvesting, vetiver grass plantation, mangrove rehabilitation and early warning system for floods and vector-borne diseases.
Semarang, Indonesia, became a part of the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN)5 programme, funded by Rockefeller Foundation, in 2009. The city’s government has worked to develop a Climate Resilience Strategy (CRS). This defines prioritised actions reducing vulnerability to climate change. A city working group (CWG) comprising government officials, local NGOs and academics, leads ACCCRN involvement. The Local Development Planning Board (BAPPEDA) oversees CWG management and responsibilities in planning, and use of public development funds. The CWG structure enables integration of ACCCRN activities into city planning processes and budget cycles.
Banjir Kanal Barat : an effort to tackle the flood in Semarang
Source : www.dotsemarang.com
The implementation of this integrated process and how it succeeded in incorporating climate change into city planning in Semarang. The key processes of resilience planning discussed here are similar to sister programs in another eight ACCCRN cities among three other countries. Yet there are a number of approaches that were key to facilitating the process in Indonesia, given local context:
- Active engagement with local government and NGOs from program inception: This engagement was significant in building government support and developing a platform for civil society engagement, which then eased integration of the CRS into city planning.
- Making sectoral studies relevant to city planning: This contributed significantly to legitimizing selection of local issues to be addressed.
- Regular Shared Learning Dialogues (SLDs): Cities held a large number of iterative SLDs, which facilitated identification of city needs that ACCCRN could address, and dissemination of related progress.
Adipura Park in Banjir Kanal Barat Semarang
Source : www.johansurya.com
Identifying key government officials able to remain in their positions long enough to lead a sustainable resilience planning process was a major challenge, among others. ACCCRN’s overall achievement has led the program to be recognized by local and national governments, and formed a platform for self-funded replication elsewhere by municipal governments. In Semarang, the CWG has since become responsible for climate projects outside ACCCRN. In recognition of this, Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment is considering designating Semarang a national pilot Resilient City.
In conclusion, building urban climate resilience needs an integrated partnership among the stakeholders. Other Indonesian cities should learn from Semarang and other selected cities and have systems in place to recover, persist or even thrive amid disruptions.
1United Nations Population Fund, The state of the world population report, 2007, United Nations Population Fund: New York
2Government Office For Science and Foresight, Foresight: Migration and global environmental change, 2011: London.
3Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network. 2013. ACCCRN City Projects
4Deden Rukmana. 2013. Building Urban Resilience. The Jakarta Post. http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/12/21/building-urban-resilience.html#sthash.P8J8e1BT.dpuf accessed on October 1, 2015.
This essay was written in order to open the discussion before joining the Asia-Pacific
Urban Youth Assembly (APUFY), 17-18 October 2015 in Jakarta.
Please visit www.apufy.org