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admin - Oct 28, 2019 10:01:26 am 86 Views Research

Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Disaster Mitigation in Middle Income Countries

Researcher : 

  • PI: Dr. Juan Miguel Kanai (University of Sheffield)

Team Member :

Sources of Funding :

  • Royal Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Development


Cities around the world rely on nature-based solutions (NBS) to increase resilience to natural and man-made disasters. High-income economies adopt green/blue infrastructure when expensive infrastructure investments prove ineffective. Low-income human settlements do not build such grey infrastructures due to resource constraints. Yet, cities in middle-income countries are still systematically use urban greenery and sustainably managed waterways instead of (or in combination with) constructed structures for hazards such as flooding, landslides, droughts/water insecurity and poor air quality. This project supports the development of an interdisciplinary network (including human geography, urban planning, landscape ecology, and environmental engineering) to address this gap and promote the incorporation of NBS to city resilience strategies.

The aim of this research is to synthesize NBS knowledge across lower-middle income/upper-middle income countries with the concrete objective of applying this learning to Bandung, Indonesia. Using an interdisciplinary, multi-scalar approach, we will establish a baseline of green/blue infrastructure resources, multi-hazard incidence, and barriers to NBS implementation. The results are intended to showcase our added value, begin informing policy, and inspire further South-South comparative analysis and collaborative learning.

For comparative purposes, we will investigate four additional cities of varying sizes and socio-ecological challenges across a spectrum of lower-middle income/upper-middle income countries: Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Cape Town (South Africa), Mumbai (India) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). We will contact government, NGO, community and academic stakeholders, seeking local inputs on the current and potential role of green/blue infrastructure. Potential barriers to be discussed include global South conditions of social vulnerability and informality in urban development. These findings will be integrated to a database containing (a) data on development patterns and land use/land cover change in urban regions; and (b) georeferenced disaster occurrences. The project will conclude with an international symposium in Bandung to compare city experiences, reach out to Indonesian policymakers, and plan a follow-up internationally comparative project.

Last updated 26 September 2020

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