Design Workshop, Can Tho City, Vietnam, 23 – 25 July, 2014.
While many climate related hazards and impacts seem to concentrate in mega cities, major crises are to be expected in many of the world’s small and medium sized cities (SMSCs), who collectively host more than 70% of the world’s total urban population. Facing unprecedented urban growth and development, the future of many of these cities is decided in the coming decades. Are we going to learn from past mistakes that currently require major efforts and resources to be undone, or can we leapfrog our cities to a resilient and sustainable future?
The objective of the workshop is to learn from each other how to integrate, organize and develop flood resilience and green infrastructure in medium sized cities based case studies while creating multiple benefits. Why this is important? Increasingly more and more financing sources (mainly international donors and national governments in case of SMSCs in the global south) have started looking beyond traditional narrow-objective, structurally based project solutions to more mixed approach with broad range of benefits as well as wider stakeholder participation. Concepts like “greening” and improvement of “livability” have started to appear beside the terms like “economic development”.
In the context of this change, cities are often not adequately equipped to integrate adaptation in a meaningful way in their urban development. The result is often a sort of “superficial” adaptation – just to satisfy the donor and get the project approved. This does not produce desirable outcomes. Rather, it just places the ‘blue-green rubber stamp’ just because an external party (e.g. donor, national governments) require it.
The idea of this workshop (and hopefully many others like that in the future) is to help empower cities to think ahead of the donors. When donors come with money, cities should be in the driving seat to successfully prioritize, integrate and implement urban development and green/blue infrastructure. This not only benefits both parties, but is vital in successfully initiating a meaningful transition to leapfrog medium sized cities into the 21st century, combining resilience to natural hazards with sustainable solutions that enhance the quality of life.
The main sponsor of this workshop is the ProACC Project Phase II (http://proacc.unesco-ihe.org/) funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Development Cooperation (Directorate-General for International Cooperation — DGIS) through the UNESCO-IHE Partnership Research Fund. The workshop is organized as an outreach activity of the project.The content of the workshop is not been subjected to peer and/or policy review by DGIS or UNESCO-IHE, and, therefore, does not necessarily reflect the views of these institutions.