Background Phillipines


Linking disaster risk governance and land-use planning: the case of informal settlements in hazard prone areas in The Philippines

LIRLAP focuses on informal settlements in the Philippines and lowers the risk for residents to bear the consequences of environmental disasters. LIRLAP produces climate adaptive enhancement and resettlement programmes together with the local residents in order to improve their livelihoods. Locally viable strategies for upgrading and resettlement are integrated into resilience planning.

Project Objectives

The LIRLAP project focuses on three objectives.

  1. Urban development approaches for resettlement and upgrading will be developed based on pilot projects in selected areas of Metro Manila.
  2. Climate adaptive evaluation and resettlement approaches will be co-produced with local residents to improve their livelihoods.
  3. LIRLAP plans to mainstream locally sustainable upgrading and resettlement strategies and to integrate resilient planning through training programmes and dual doctorates between Dortmund and the School of Urban and Regional Planning – University of the Philippines.

Addressed Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations

quality education
reduced inequalities
sustainable cities and communities
climate action
Partnerships for the goals
Example of an informal settlement in a flood-prone area



Example of an informal settlement in a flood-prone area


Worldwide, rapid urbanization of urban regions is contributing to an increase in disaster risks. The phenomenon of informal settlements in hazardous areas poses a particular challenge. While focusing on global city competition and urban economy efficiency, extremely marginalised urban poor have often been excluded from national planning agendas, including those in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries. »Urban risk governance«, risk-based land use planning to reduce the inhabitants’ socio-economic vulnerability and improving their adaptability – those are the main goals of LIRLAP. As poorly managed urbanisation is a major driver of disaster risk and poor people are often the ones most severely affected by disasters, it is imperative to introduce risk-informed spatial planning mechanisms in areas where the urban poor mainly live.

Focus Topics

Research in Action

Site visit in one of the rese-lement schemes in Manila. LIRLAP team with local stakeholders and partners from Vietnam and Thailand 2020


Flood control table at a bridge


Street scene in Tumana


Research Approach and Methods

LIRLAP takes a dynamic perspective and assesses the impact of future urban growth and densification scenarios in Metro Manila, especially for informal settlements. It takes into account the urban morphology, the socio-economic factor and the future availability of land suitable for resettlement. This is deepened in field work on upgrading and resettlement of informal settlements, complemented by knowledge transfer to and from Thailand and Vietnam. This leads to two pilot studies for resilient upgrading and resettlement designs in the field and application guidelines. The aim is to embed upgrading and resettlement strategies into urban risk management. The same applies to tailor-made training courses and a joint PhD programme in which knowledge and solutions are generated, transferred and disseminated.

Infografik LIRLAP

Infografik LIRLAP


Infografik LIRLAP

Expected Solutions and Innovations

All results of the R&D phase are transferable to partner countries and countries with similar development contexts. The R&D phase aims to develop urban growth models under different resettlement or in-situ upgrade options for Metro Manila and transfer the risk trend model to partner cities in Thailand and Vietnam. A cross-country analysis will be developed on these topics. Pilot studies with upgrade design guidelines will be politically approved at the end of the R&D phase. They will be replicated at other upgrade sites of informal high-risk settlements in Metro Manila. Concrete upgrade measures will be tested in the implementation phase and are expected to lead to commercial follow-up activities for »KaiserIngenieure«. A resettlement policy will address a strategy of selective resettlement. Mainstreaming activities will influence policy and decision-making at different planning levels in the Philippines. In particular, it will promote risk-based spatial planning involving multiple stakeholders and institutions. Building on the themes of LIRLAP, training and a PhD programme will be conducted.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Greiving

Prof. Dr. Stefan Greiving



Prof. Dr. Stefan Greiving

In many countries of the Global South, residents of informal settlements tend to be more vulnerable to climate events due to very limited risk-reducing infrastructure, poor housing quality and limited capacity to cope. Therefore, mainstreaming urban risk governance and risk-based land use planning is necessary to reduce the socio-economic vulnerability of residents and improve the resilience capacity of communities.

Dina Cartagena Magnaye

Dina Cartagena Magnaye, SURP-LIRLAP



The Philippines advocates the building of safe, resilient, and sustainable communities. Human settlements are planned to be responsive to the public health system, adherent to hazard and safety standards, and adaptable to the shelter needs of the low-income and vulnerable market. For empowering stakeholders of informal and hazard-exposed human settlements urban risk governance and risk-based land use planning become particularly relevant.

Download Project Profile

Project Profile LIRLAP

Download Project Paper

LIRLAP Fieldwork March 2022

LIRLAP Workshops and Fieldwork Sept.- Oct. 2022

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Project coordination

Prof. Dr. Stefan Greiving

Prof. Dr. Stefan Greiving



Prof. Dr. Stefan Greiving
TU Dortmund, Institute for Spatial Planning