In an article published recently in the Planeta Futuro website of the Spanish newspaper El País, Maíta Fernández-Armesto of UN-Habitat’s City Resilience Profiling Programme challenges city officials, urban planners and relief workers to strike a balance between the required emergency response to disasters and coordinated planning for better, more resilient, just and sustainable cities in the future.
Citing the recent experience of UN-Habitat in Ecuador after last April’s 7.8 earthquake, Ms. Fernández suggests that the rebuilding of damaged areas should be based on a multi-scale analysis that takes into consideration the distribution of activities and infrastructures throughout the urban environment, identifying deficits where these exist, and promoting the revitalization of the city’s social, economic and cultural life through reconstruction efforts.
Particularly important is the social integration of displaced communities. In Ms. Fernández’s opinion, efforts should be made to integrate these individuals and families into consolidated neighbourhoods through a sort of “urban acupuncture” approach. Alternatively, a strategy to revitalize land formerly in disuse as a place to locate housing for these communities can be successful, as long as the new area is well-connected to the rest of the urban fabric and cultivates conditions for a dynamic economic and social life.
Read the full article in Spanish here.