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  • Writer's pictureIHS Alumni

“Urban Space and Disaster: Building Resilience with Communities”

What is resilience?

Resilience can be defined as the ability to foresee danger, minimize the effect and recover rapidly through adaptability and the evolution that we all face against change. Therefore, resilient communities diminish a disaster’s disturbance to everyday life and to local economies, which means not only to prevent the loss of life but also reducing material damage and restoring several essential services so that the people can return to their home, work and daily routines. (Community & Regional Resilience Institute, 2016)

A relevant study case on this topic is the earthquake that hit Nepal on the 25th of April 2015. The event was disastrous, since it killed almost 9000 people, injured around 22000 and left 3.5 million people homeless; moreover, it produced damage of around $10 billion, which is roughly half of Nepal’s nominal GDP (Colin Stark, 26 April 2015). This kind of earthquake is a periodic event in Nepal, the last one hitting the country in 1934; these facts show precisely how people fail to prepare sufficiently for a predictable event.

What affects resilience?

The rapid growth of population has created a series of needs for fast urbanization which, in most cases, have resulted in the production of the most dangerous housing environments due to cheap and unsafe material (concrete) and unsafe multi-storey buildings.

Nevertheless, since ¾ of deaths in earthquakes are a result of buildings that collapse and since low-cost buildings are the most likely to fall, it is obvious that earthquakes affect mostly the poorer fragment of a community, usually leaving them even poorer.

Nevertheless, the resources and capabilities to drastically reduce this immense rate of fatality are available; however they are not reaching the people and places that need it the most. Therefore, in order to make the first step to solve this issue, our society is required to plan a coordinated set of actions that should include all stakeholders, both private and public.

How IHS builds capacity to increase resilience?

At IHS, we believe in building resilience with communities wherein our upcoming refresher course in Nepal is focused on. The Refresher Course on “Urban Space and Disaster: Building Resilience with Communities” will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal from the 22nd of May until the 2nd of June 2017. The course aims to enable participants to identify the constraints and opportunities of disasters, while developing an in-depth understanding of community vulnerability by studying the case of post-earthquake Nepal.

The course will be divided in four modules: 1. Urban space and disaster; 2. the role of urban communities and places; 3. Building resilience with communities and 4. BHAP (Back Home Action Plan) Workshop.

Application details This course is intended for Netherlands Fellowship Program (NFP) alumni from Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and other countries from the Southern Asia region. The course is aimed at alumni whose current practice is related to the theme of the course. The participants will be chosen based on the quality and relevance of the motivation. To participate, apply before the 22nd of March, 2017.

To find out more about the application procedure and requirements, have a look at this link.

We look forward to receiving your applications!


About the author: Mihai Buca is a Marketing and Information Management Intern at IHS, who is passionate about urban development. He will graduate in July 2017 in Business & Economics from Universiteit van Amsterdam. He is currently working with Alumni Relations and hopes to contribute to reinforcing the impact of IHS on urban development, as well as the links of IHS with its alumni and partners.


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