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Conferences and Workshops

Disaster Governance: The Urban Transition in Asia Print
Date: 07 Nov 2013 - 08 Nov 2013
Venue: Seminar Rooms A, B and C
AS7, Shaw Foundation Building, NUS @ Kent Ridge
Level 1, 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570
Organisers: Prof DOUGLASS Michael
Dr MILLER Michelle
   
Description:  

The transition to an increasingly urban world in the twenty-first century is accompanied by growing vulnerabilities for cities and urban residents. In Asia, around 1.5 billion people currently reside in urban areas and account for more than half of the global urban population, even though Asia remains one of the world’s least urbanized regions. Aging populations, rapid urban growth and ‘shrinking’ cities, infrastructural obstacles and health issues related to poor public service delivery have presented specific problems for urban spaces and residents. Disasters linked directly or indirectly to global warming and climate change have also become far more costly and prevalent worldwide, especially in Asia, where the urban transition has been marked by a coastal orientation that has left urban populations more exposed to floods, tsunamis and cyclones. The increasing frequency of these global disasters with cascading impacts has heightened awareness of the need for a more comprehensive approach to disaster governance, including a stronger emphasis on integrative risk management and financial preparedness for disaster. How cities adapt and respond to these events has import for the role of urban governance at the forefront of disaster response initiatives in an increasingly interconnected and urban planet.

This conference focuses on how Asia’s urban populations deal with disaster and its threat from a governance perspective, with governance understood as a process of social decision-making involving government, civil society and private enterprise. Remaining mindful of the blurred boundaries and frequent areas of overlap between ‘anthropogenic’ and ‘natural’ disasters in urban contexts, we take ‘disaster’ to denote any event that causes widespread destruction. Our central concern is with how the structures and processes of urban governance are working to develop more effective and inclusive initiatives to manage and prevent these large-scale destructive events.

We invite submission of papers from young and established scholars, policymakers, planners and development practitioners on the role of disaster governance in urban settlements and populations in Asia. In this, we encourage applicants to consider empirical case studies and theories within comparative Asian contexts, and what lessons might be learned from Asia for disaster governance in other urban areas in the world. Questions that will guide the conference proceedings to speak to related themes across disciplinary and geographical boundaries include:


• In what ways does Asia's urban transition change issues for governance in disaster preparedness, humanitarian assistance and/or resilience.
• What factors assist and impede the capacities of cities to prepare for disasters to make urban populations safer?
• What roles can neighbourhoods, communities and/or non-government organizations play in disaster governance?
• What kinds of cultural or social institutions contribute to disaster governance in urban contexts?
• What priorities are shaping disaster governance programs (e.g., cultural heritage, protection of vulnerable sections of society such as the urban poor and elderly)?
• How do vulnerabilities vary among cities, and urban populations more broadly, in disaster governance?
• How can urban heritage be more actively brought into disaster governance?
• What initiatives are successful in overcoming problems of coordination and collaboration among different state and societal actors?
• What good practices are emerging in the governance of disaster response initiatives in urban populations?
• To what extent are best practices in disaster governance travelling for emulation or replication by other cities?
• What networks of cooperation and collaboration are emerging within and between cities through disaster governance?


CONTACT DETAILS

Organizers
Prof Mike DOUGLASS
Asia Research Institute, and Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore
arimike@nus.edu.sg

Dr Michelle MILLER
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
arimam@nus.edu.sg

Secretariat
Mr Jonathan LEE
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
#10-01 Tower Block, 469A Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259770
Email: jonathan.lee@nus.edu.sg

   
Contact Person: Mr LEE Ming Yao, Jonathan
Email: arimike@nus.edu.sg, arimam@nus.edu.sg