Resilience and Risks Mitigation Strategies


The basic objective of the thematic group “Resilience and Risk Mitigation Strategies – RRMS” within the AESOP framework is to bring together, interrelate, enhance mutual understanding and coordinate education, research, policies and practices of Development and Spatial Planning on the one hand and Risk Governance / Management on the other. The intention is to serve both scientific and policy fields – i.e. both theory and practice.

The foundation and establishment of the RRMS thematic group coincided with AESOP’s Conference in Naples (2007) titled “Planning in the Risk Society”. This coincidence is not by chance. It has been the notion of Risk Society by Beck (1992) and ‘Global Modernization Risks’, especially the human generated threats with their effects already manifest (e.g. global warming and climatic change, accelerated erosion, depletion of vital resources, global terrorism, nuclear disasters etc.) which has incited  a growing pre-occupation of planners, practitioners and researchers, with risks and adversities. Indeed these theoretical advances and the obstacles to development perspectives posed by risks elevated the importance of what might be called Development and Spatial Planning to Avoid (risks), rather than the conventional planning goal of achieving a viable concrete result in the form of urban development ranging from plot to city scale.

Recognition of the importance of Development and Spatial Planning to Risk Management and vice versa has occurred in the 1990’s in parallel with the change of the prevailing paradigm of Risk Management from the remedial, post-event pattern of protection of victimized communities to the precautionary, preventive (proactive) pattern of disaster avoidance and risk mitigation. Significant landmarks of this theoretical and policy change have been the 1994 Yokohama and the 2005 Kobe International Conferences. In accordance with the new paradigm the UN has developed new bodies (e.g. ISDR) geared to mitigation policies and accordingly finances have been re-directed to the new mitigation agenda. However, this new agenda necessitated systematic integration of Development (and Spatial) Planning with Risk Mitigation meaning that Planners should act (amongst others) as Risk Managers, who in turn should think also as Planners. Nevertheless, Planning Education curricula rarely provide for this integration.

The first decade of the 21st century was marked by the discursive expansion of a new paradigm within the fields of spatial planning and risk management amongst others: Resilience. Resilience retains an emphasis upon risk prevention but some also claim that it shifts a significant amount of the responsibility for safety or security away from the state towards individuals, the community and their organizations (e.g. NGOs). The new paradigm has been envisaged among others to meet contemporary challenges of complexity and uncertainty in both spheres of environment and the society. For some it promises emancipation of scientists and policy-makers from laborious and largely incredible risk analyses and assessments as it seeks to enhance the capacity of the vulnerable to cope with, adapt to, shape change and learn to live with every aspect of uncertainty, contingency, crisis and surprise. The Resilience paradigm has its origins in ecology in the 1970’s as a descriptive and measurable tool but since then has expanded to an enhanced normative, but somewhat vague and malleable concept, and in the process “co-opting” several scientific disciplines among them psychology, economics, political science, sociology and planning.

A significant landmark as regards incorporation of Resilience into the Disaster and Risk discourses was the inclusion of the term into the glossary of the basic terms of Disaster Risk Reduction by ISDR (2004). Resilience has proved to be a widely welcome perspective and goal of governance structures dealing with climate change and sustainable development at all levels (from the international to the local). The promoters of the paradigm envisage operational resilience (unreachable yet) as a path toward autonomous, active, self-securing individuals, communities and/or institutions. On the contrary, critical perspectives view it as a means of de-politicizing and naturalizing risks, uncertainties and crises, transferring responsibility for safety to the community and the individual and promoting the ideal of adaptive, rather than resistant subjectivities. The individualization of risks may also be contradictory with the international disasters policy, which promotes sharing of responsibilities, frameworks of participation and collaboration of all stakeholders, public, private and civil society, in risk reduction.

Regardless of the validity of the views of proponents and critics Resilience as a hybrid concept (i.e. both descriptive and normative) and as a concept accepted by both the Planning and the Disaster Risk communities is a prominent field of concern for RRMS to foster communication between the two disciplines as well as with other contiguous fields (such as economics, sociology, political science etc.).

Call for submission: Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference (Oct 11-15, 2021)

Published at: 21 July 2021

Planners for Climate Action invites you to collaborate on the #Innovate4Cities Conference themed to promote the Global Research and Action Agenda will take place virtually 11-15 October 2021.  The I4C program will showcase the latest urban science and innovation from academia, city practitioners, policymakers, the private sector, and civil society, helping to bridge the gap between climate ambitions and results.  We are calling for submissions with a unique focus on urban research and innovation across the conference themes, inspired by the Global Research and Action Agenda. I4C is jointly sponsored by UN-Habitat and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. 

Learn more about the themes, sessions, and guidelines, and apply here:  The submission deadline is 4 August.  

Disaster Risk Reduction - Local Resilience in Europe and Central Asia (July 2nd, 10-11,30 am CET)

Published at: 30 June 2021

The event is organised by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Europe and Central Asia (UNDRR-ROECA) and the Regional Secretariat for Making Cities Resilient 2030 for Europe and Central Asia, in collaboration with Huddersfield University – UK, as a side event to the Introduction to Geospatial Technologies for Achieving SDGs – Demographic Considerations Summer School of CEU.

Key speakers: Prof. Dilanthi Amaratunga, Head, Global Disaster Resilience Centre Huddersfield University, UK;
Ms Helena Monteiro, MCR2030 Secretariat for Europe and Central Asia, UNDRR; 
Ms Olga Shashkina, Specialist on Local Resilience Building; UNDRR.

Follow the link for more details and free registration:

Reminder: Launch "Climate Action in Planning Education and Practice" (28th June, at 11.30 am UK / 12.30 pm EU)

Published at: 21 June 2021

Our team of AESOP Resilience and Risks Mitigation Strategies thematic group, working on the ‘Climate Action in Planning Education and Practice’ project, are looking for members of the AESOP Young Academics (YA) network to collaborate with us on an online survey and review of higher education programmes delivered by Planning Schools in European countries (plus Turkey) listed on the AESOP "members directory" website. The results will be presented in the upcoming World Urban Campaign ‘Urban Thinkers Campus’ on this topic in November 2021 and a potential journal publication.

If you are interested in collaborating in our project please join us on 28th of June at 11.30 am UK / 12.30 pm EU, on Zoom link:,
Meeting ID: 938 9343 8285

IRDR Humanitarian Summit 2021: Interrogating changing risks (16 June 2021, 10:00 am–4:00 pm)

Published at: 15 June 2021

The UCL Humanitarian Summit will debate and discuss how climate change, conflict and other global phenomena are shaping both the humanitarian sector and humanitarian studies as a field of research and teaching, and vice versa. Coming a few months ahead of COP26, the Humanitarian Summit will also discuss how feminist perspectives in particular might contribute to challenges and solutions.
Event is open to all and is free of cost. Formore details follow the link:

Join SDI at the 15th International Conference on Community-based Adaptation to Climate Change (CBA15)- 15th to 17th June

Published at: 14 June 2021

CBA15 brings together practitioners, grassroots representatives, local and national government planners, policymakers and donors working at all levels and scales to discuss how we can drive ambition for a climate-resilient future.It is a space to explore the importance and urgency of locally led adaptation and address this pivotal moment in climate action. Follow the link for registration and more details:

Rethinking Urban Risk and Resettlement in the Global South

Published at: 10 June 2021

An open access book on environmental changes that have significant impacts on people’s lives and livelihoods, particularly the urban poor and those living in informal settlements. This book is an outcome of collaboration between the Bartlett Development Planning Unit at UCL, the Indian Institute for Human Settlements and the Latin American Social Science Faculty.

Edited by Cassidy Johnson, Garima Jain, and Allan Lavell

Book pdf link:

Climate Action in Planning Education and Practice: Information Session and open call

Published at: 31 May 2021

AESOP’s Resilience and Risks Mitigation Strategies thematic group  are looking for members of the AESOP Young Academics (YA) network to collaborate on the ‘Climate Action in Planning Education and Practice’ project. This project is  will contribute to a World Urban Campaign ‘Urban Thinkers Campus’ on this topic in November 2021. To learn more about the project, join us on an informative  zoom session on 1st June at 11am UK time/12pm European time.

Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 992 8718 6029
Passcode: 696566

Governing the Pandemic: The Politics of Navigating a Mega-Crisis

Published at: 25 May 2021

Authors: Arjen Boin, Allan McConnell, Paul ‘t Hart. 

An open access book that offers unique insights into how governments and governing systems, particularly in advanced economies, have responded to the immense challenges of managing the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing disease COVID-19.

Book link:

Science for disaster risk management 2020: acting today, protecting tomorrow

Published at: 12 April 2021

Tackling the impacts on assets at risk, dealling with hazards of different natures, establishing links existing between hazards and vulnerabilities to support robust and effective action, a report on "Science for disaster risk management 2020: acting today, protecting tomorrow", presents solutions and approaches, describes several examples and cases, showing what the DRM community has learned from disastrous events while pointing out where the gaps in our knowledge are. Report is produced by European Commission Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre.

Report link: