The notion of “risk” is expressed as a complex product of several interacting components, such as the probability of hazardous events, local vulnerabilities, exposure to hazards, resilience and community preparedness (Paul, 2011). The thesis examines “nature-related” risks in Italy, a fragile country with a strong propensity to earthquake, landslides and floods. Supporting the call for more proactive approaches to risk reduction instead of post-disaster massively reactive measures, the ambition of the research is to investigate how ordinary urban planning and urban governance contribute in promoting innovative long-term risk reduction and resilience in risk-prone urban areas. Only apparently contradictorily, the thesis uses postdisasters contexts as case studies. Ruinous events are here questioned from a double point of view: on the one hand, catastrophic events are assumed as lens for analysing which are the interrelations and clashes between ordinary and extraordinary ways of intervention for risk reduction, looking at how ad-hoc plans and policies are shaped and implemented; on the other hand, the research looks at if and how disasters act as trigger events, windows of opportunity for enhancing the science-policy interface and socio-technical innovation for reducing the likelihood of future disasters in risk-prone territories (as it should be expected: Birkland, 2006). The author moves from Olshansky&Chang’s statement (2009): “Disasters are not instantaneous occurrences, but rather they are perturbations to urban systems that reflect longstanding environmental, economic and social issues. In turn, they exacerbate those issues in the years following the event”. The nature of this research is mainly exploratory-explanatory and positioned between the spheres of academic scientific research and planning policies and practices ‒ in their design and implementation, assuming the need to foster the continuum among academic science, local governance and practices. The research interfaces between different disciplinary borders, moving from an urban planning point of view, enriched by disaster studies and political studies, grounded in Italian and international literature. The methodology applied in this thesis is mainly qualitative, based on case studies, investigated through documental analysis, fieldworks, semi-structured interviews with qualified informants, participation in dedicated technical seminars and workshops. The “Italian Case” is investigated at the national level first through an exploratory viewpoint, retracing the evolution of legislation, policies and strategies addressing risk reduction and adaptation up to the most recent experiences, such as the activities of the national “Mission Structure ItaliaSicura” against hydrogeological risks. Secondly, the research addresses two case studies selected for their relevance – the cities of L’Aquila and Genoa – which allow access to grounded dimensions of the key issues of the research. Both cities are characterized by a history of shocks induced by nature-related risks but with patterns and practises of intervention currently put in question. L’Aquila, Capital City of Abruzzo Region, and other 56 surrounding municipalities were severely damaged by an earthquake in 2009, and a massive reconstruction process is still ongoing in the area. Genoa, the 6th largest city of Italy by population, has always been affected by a very high flood risk, and experienced two dramatic floods in 2011 and 2014: large projects for flood risk reduction are currently in progress in the east side of the city. The different nature of risks involving the case studies makes them complementary in the overall aim of the research, with the purpose of keeping a larger point of view (not just hazard-related) on the topic debated. The ongoing processes in Abruzzo and in Genoa highlight remarkable paradoxes of both ordinary and extraordinary policies, plans, technical norms and funding mechanisms for reducing nature-related risks, from the urban scale to the building scale. A heavy influence of pre-disaster paths, tools and norms (both the existing ones, both the missing ones) in shaping post-disaster choices – able equally to speed up or to undermine the transformative innovative potential of reconstruction processes – arises clearly among the research results: the work done “in time of peace” is a fundamental resource in future “emergency times” (inevitable in risky areas) when the windows of opportunities are compressed in time and space. The case studies demonstrate therefore the crucial necessities to invest in ordinary institutions, policies and tools for risk reduction in risk-prone cities and to optimize the science-policy interface in the field, not just for better protecting the territory and augment local resilience, but even for guiding more effectively the future extra-ordinary post-disaster scenarios and patterns of intervention.

Caged windows of opportunity for the reduction of "natural risks": urban planning and governance between disasters and resilience in Italian cities / Di Giovanni, Grazia. - (2019 Feb 19).

Caged windows of opportunity for the reduction of "natural risks": urban planning and governance between disasters and resilience in Italian cities

DI GIOVANNI, GRAZIA
2019-02-19

Abstract

The notion of “risk” is expressed as a complex product of several interacting components, such as the probability of hazardous events, local vulnerabilities, exposure to hazards, resilience and community preparedness (Paul, 2011). The thesis examines “nature-related” risks in Italy, a fragile country with a strong propensity to earthquake, landslides and floods. Supporting the call for more proactive approaches to risk reduction instead of post-disaster massively reactive measures, the ambition of the research is to investigate how ordinary urban planning and urban governance contribute in promoting innovative long-term risk reduction and resilience in risk-prone urban areas. Only apparently contradictorily, the thesis uses postdisasters contexts as case studies. Ruinous events are here questioned from a double point of view: on the one hand, catastrophic events are assumed as lens for analysing which are the interrelations and clashes between ordinary and extraordinary ways of intervention for risk reduction, looking at how ad-hoc plans and policies are shaped and implemented; on the other hand, the research looks at if and how disasters act as trigger events, windows of opportunity for enhancing the science-policy interface and socio-technical innovation for reducing the likelihood of future disasters in risk-prone territories (as it should be expected: Birkland, 2006). The author moves from Olshansky&Chang’s statement (2009): “Disasters are not instantaneous occurrences, but rather they are perturbations to urban systems that reflect longstanding environmental, economic and social issues. In turn, they exacerbate those issues in the years following the event”. The nature of this research is mainly exploratory-explanatory and positioned between the spheres of academic scientific research and planning policies and practices ‒ in their design and implementation, assuming the need to foster the continuum among academic science, local governance and practices. The research interfaces between different disciplinary borders, moving from an urban planning point of view, enriched by disaster studies and political studies, grounded in Italian and international literature. The methodology applied in this thesis is mainly qualitative, based on case studies, investigated through documental analysis, fieldworks, semi-structured interviews with qualified informants, participation in dedicated technical seminars and workshops. The “Italian Case” is investigated at the national level first through an exploratory viewpoint, retracing the evolution of legislation, policies and strategies addressing risk reduction and adaptation up to the most recent experiences, such as the activities of the national “Mission Structure ItaliaSicura” against hydrogeological risks. Secondly, the research addresses two case studies selected for their relevance – the cities of L’Aquila and Genoa – which allow access to grounded dimensions of the key issues of the research. Both cities are characterized by a history of shocks induced by nature-related risks but with patterns and practises of intervention currently put in question. L’Aquila, Capital City of Abruzzo Region, and other 56 surrounding municipalities were severely damaged by an earthquake in 2009, and a massive reconstruction process is still ongoing in the area. Genoa, the 6th largest city of Italy by population, has always been affected by a very high flood risk, and experienced two dramatic floods in 2011 and 2014: large projects for flood risk reduction are currently in progress in the east side of the city. The different nature of risks involving the case studies makes them complementary in the overall aim of the research, with the purpose of keeping a larger point of view (not just hazard-related) on the topic debated. The ongoing processes in Abruzzo and in Genoa highlight remarkable paradoxes of both ordinary and extraordinary policies, plans, technical norms and funding mechanisms for reducing nature-related risks, from the urban scale to the building scale. A heavy influence of pre-disaster paths, tools and norms (both the existing ones, both the missing ones) in shaping post-disaster choices – able equally to speed up or to undermine the transformative innovative potential of reconstruction processes – arises clearly among the research results: the work done “in time of peace” is a fundamental resource in future “emergency times” (inevitable in risky areas) when the windows of opportunities are compressed in time and space. The case studies demonstrate therefore the crucial necessities to invest in ordinary institutions, policies and tools for risk reduction in risk-prone cities and to optimize the science-policy interface in the field, not just for better protecting the territory and augment local resilience, but even for guiding more effectively the future extra-ordinary post-disaster scenarios and patterns of intervention.
Caged windows of opportunity for the reduction of "natural risks": urban planning and governance between disasters and resilience in Italian cities / Di Giovanni, Grazia. - (2019 Feb 19).
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
2019_PhDThesis_Di Giovanni.pdf

accesso aperto

Descrizione: Tesi di Dottorato
Licenza: Accesso gratuito
11.22 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12571/9695
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact