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Session Overview
MON4.6: Increasing disaster resilience through participative development of standards in land management, urban planning and construction
Time: Monday, 27/Aug/2012: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Location: Sanada 2

Workshop organized by RICSDMC


Increasing disaster resilience through participative development of standards in land management, urban planning and construction

Shailesh KATARIA1, Cassidy JOHNSON2, Douglas MURRAY-JONES1

1Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Disaster Mangement Commission, United Kingdom; 2Development Planning Unit, University College London

UNISDR’s 2011 Global Assessment Report (GAR) emphasised that effective land use planning and building regulations are critical for reducing the risk from disasters. However, such standards and regulations are either deficient or inadequately enforced in most developing countries. Recent Red Cross research on regulatory frameworks in several countries also demonstrated that in every case, the largest single regulatory constraint to improving access to legal housing was overly complex and time-consuming administrative procedures.

Planning regulations, building codes and land tenure systems are often too demanding for many vulnerable groups or even prevents incremental development of shelter, which often makes safe land and shelter unavailable or unaffordable to them. Simultaneously, such complex regulations put too much pressure on the governing administration, which often lack human and financial resources necessary to secure their effective implementation. Therefore, increasing number of people are excluded from formal land and housing markets and forced into areas of greater risk and to build informally without basic services, which escalates their individual as well as wider communities’ exposure and vulnerability to hazards.

Problems due to ineffective land, planning and building regulations become particularly acute in urban areas. UN-HABITAT reports that informal settlements currently accommodate one third of world’s urban population, with numbers growing rapidly, especially in higher risk developing coun-tries.

RICS Disaster Management Commission’s (DMC) initiatives have focused on identifying and promoting best practices from around the world for improving land management, urban planning and construction, including that for non-engineered buildings and informal settlements in Malawi, Haiti and Kenya.

The learning from these experiences has emphasised the critical importance of shifting away from ‘policing’ rigid technical models to a more ‘motivational’ model for promoting compliance. That re-quires more participative development of such standards with multi-stakeholder groups including government officials, private sector, civil society groups representing communities, as well as built environment professionals, and a much greater focus on increasing awareness and building local capacities.

The broad objective is to involve participants of GRF (governments, private sectors, NGOs, interna-tional development agencies, professional bodies, etc) to explore strategies for increasing prioritisation of such ‘motivational’ and participative approaches in development of standards that are more accessible, especially for more vulnerable groups in developing countries.

In Malawi, RICS DMC supported the Malawi government’s initiative to participatively develop Guidelines for Safe Construction of non-engineered homes which involved a variety of stakeholders including vulnerable communities, informal builders, built environment professionals, private sector and civil society groups. The success of this participative model can also enable more effective development of formal building codes, urban planning and land management regulations for Malawi.

In Haiti, RICS DMC advocated for participative development and implementation of locally appropri-ate building codes, including initiatives for retrofitting social infrastructure (especially schools) long before the devastating earthquake of 2010. That focused on providing technical assistance to the Haitian government, as well as promoting development of a local civil society platform to advocate for participative development of building codes and guidelines for non-engineered structures and prioritisation of ‘motivational’ (awareness raising, training, etc.) means for increasing compliance.

In Kenya, RICS DMC provided built environment and mapping professionals to work with local com-munities to combine satellite/GIS land mapping along with community mapping and participatory land use planning techniques to improve construction of sustainable shelter and reduce flood risk.

The aim is to increase prioritisation for participative development and implementation of locally appropriate land management, urban planning and construction standards and regulations based on best practices including recent RICS DMC initiatives.

Outcomes: (1) Increased understanding of importance of participative development of land man-agement, urban planning and construction standards and regulations for increasing disaster resili-ence. (2) Jointly agreed strategies for increasing participatory development of standards and regulations as a means of improving the quality of such standards and their compliance in developing countries. (3) Improved linkages between governments, communities, civil society groups and also built environment professionals and the private sector for development of more effective standards to increase disaster resilience.

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