The members of the inter- and transdisciplinary funding priority »Sustainable Development of Urban Regions« publish their research results in various types of publication, that are appropriate for the respective research and implementation. In addition, the funding priority itself issues different formats of publication in which the international researchers of SURE publish their results.

A chronologically ordered selection of SURE related publications can be found here. If you are interested in a comprehensive list, please visit the individual websites of the SURE projects!

Managed Retreat as Adaptation Option: Investigating Different Resettlement Approaches and Their Impacts – Lessons from Metro Manila

LIRLAP Publication 01 2021

Managed retreat has become a recommended adaptation strategy for hazard-prone coastal cities. The study aimed to improve considerations for the contextual factors that influence the success of managed retreat and resettlement projects in Metro Manila. Data were collected through a mixed-method approach consisting of a screening of relevant literature, a qualitative case analysis of resettlement projects, and a workshop series with Philippine stakeholders. It turned out that the resettlement of informal settlers is a central element of urban development. Though in-city resettlement is preferred, the majority of existing and planned projects are developed in off-city locations.

The findings present a nuanced view of different retreat approaches. Not all in-city resettlements are successful, and the unpopular off-city projects have a potentially important role for urban and regional development. A strategic planning thread to develop concepts for qualitative off-city settlements that counteract uncontrolled urban sprawl with monofunctional residential areas for urban poor people was deduced. The other thread asks for pathways for inner-city development with innovative, vertical, in-city projects. A final observation was that climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are worsening the situation in informal settlements, thus strengthening the argument for the planned decentralization of Metro Manila’s congested urban areas.

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Reclaiming On-Site Upgrading as a Viable Resilience Strategy-Viabilities and Scenarios through the Lens of Disaster-Prone Informal Settlements in Metro Manila

LIRLAP Publication 2020

The Philippines is argued as the only Southeast Asian country where informal settlers’ communities have been self-organized and produced discernible impacts on the country’s urban policies. As one of the high risk countries, fifty percent of the country’s informal settlements are located in danger and disaster-prone areas. However, informal settlement upgrading has not reached its significance in disaster mitigation and community resilience building. At the national level, on-site upgrading is not established in disaster risk management or climate change adaptation strategies, which explains the lack of strategic approaches for local implementation. Metro Manila serves as a suitable backdrop in this sense to study informal settlement upgrading under the condition of high risk and rapid urbanization with a high civil society engagement.

This study investigates the underlined reasons why upgrading strategically falls short in addressing disaster mitigation and community resilience building. Theoretically, it questions what on-site upgrading is about. Empirically, two hazard-prone informal settlement communities within Metro Manila are examined with their different risk profiles, community development needs and resilience priorities. The core issues of upgrading are, therefore, differentiated at the settlement level with communities’ innate socio-economic and eco-spatial features over time. Meanwhile, the paper heightens the necessity of tackling on-site upgrading at the settlement level and articulating settlements’ spatial correlations with the city development, so as to sustain upgrading outcomes. In addition, this study attempts at setting up a range of scenarios conditioned with COVID pandemic fallout. It endeavors to provide another facet of how to deal with adaptation and resilience. This includes the urgent strategy shift in the housing sector and its financial sustainability, innovative mechanisms to manage uncertainty and risks, lessons for post-COVID planning, etc.

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Institutional Preparedness for Multiple Risks in Yangon/Myanmar

Publikation MYrisk Institutional Preparedness

Myanmar is among the most vulnerable states with respect to many kinds of natural hazards. Since 2008, when the Tropical Cyclone Nargis had such a disastrous impact, public awareness to natural hazards has been increasing. It was thus not unexpected that in 2009 the Myanmar Action Plan on Disaster Risk Reduction was introduced (last updated in 2017) and in 2013 the Natural Disaster Management Law was passed. In the Action Plan of 2017, 32 priority actions were established and related responsibilities defined for different administrative and spatial levels. Structures were defined for the specific functions and duties, and in particular for the methods and forms of collaboration between the institutions on different levels. But implementation remains weak. Moreover, the goals set for the first phase (until 2020), for instance that disaster management bodies at all levels should then be fully functional, seem somewhat optimistic.

Based on this situation, the joint Myanmar and German research project aims to understand institutional preparedness and awareness for multiple natural risks – in particular cyclone, flood and earthquake risks – in the megacity Yangon. Against the background of risk governance as a key component of successful disaster risk management, the focus is on the following institutional aspects and arrangements: the structural concept of responsibilities, the institutional situation according to disaster preparedness and awareness, and collaborative issues and circumstances related to a disaster.
The research employs qualitative methods to analyse 26 expert interviews (by using the software programme MAXQDA). Institutions in Yangon involved in disaster risk management were asked about their involvement and how they evaluate their preparedness and awareness.

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Remote sensing in urban planning: Contributions towards ecologically sound policies?

Publication 1 1

Remote sensing has evolved to become a key tool for various fields of environmental analysis, thus actively informing policy across areas and domains. To evaluate the degree to which remote sensing is contributing to the science of ecologically-oriented urban planning, we carried out a systematic literature review using the SCOPUS database, searching for articles integrating knowledge in urban planning, remote sensing and ecology. We reviewed 186 articles, analysing various issues in urban environments worldwide.

Key findings include that the level of integration between the three disciplines is limited, with only 12% of the papers fully integrating ecology, remote sensing and planning while 24% of the studies use specific methods from one domain only. The vast majority of studies is oriented towards contributing to the knowledge base or monitoring the impacts of existing policies. Few studies are directly policy relevant by either contributing to direct issues in planning and making specific design suggestions or evaluations. The accessibility of the scientific findings remains limited, as the majority of journal articles are not open access and proprietary software and data are frequently used. To overcome these issues, we suggest three future avenues for science as well as three potential entry points for remote sensing into applied urban planning. By doing so, remote sensing data could become a vital tool actively contributing to policies, civil engagement and concrete planning measures by providing independent and cost effective environmental analyses.

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