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SESSION THEME | Visions - Climate change


A vision for risk-informed urban development - transferring science to planning practice

Thursday 2 April,  

A vision for risk-informed urban development - transferring science to planning practice

New Zealand needs to take a much more active stance on reducing risks from natural hazards in planning and investment decisions. Historically we have developed many of our urban settlements along rivers and coastlines with high exposure to natural hazards. Climate change is exacerbating this exposure. Our buildings and infrastructure are not generally designed to adapt to frequent flooding, storms, liquefaction or sea level rise. High population growth, densification of urban areas, and government policy to fast-track housing supply is increasing pressure to develop marginal land. Therefore planners need to better understand disaster risk - hazard, exposure and vulnerability - and how to integrate risk reduction into planning practice. Bridging the divide between science and practice is a perpetual challenge. This paper presents a range of innovative solutions from planners across Asia and New Zealand around how hazards science can be useful, useable and used to achieve risk-informed urban development. These solutions include:  multi-stakeholder projects where science providers work together with end users; establishment of collaborative risk governance frameworks; use of new technology to share data and better communicate risk; use of risk modelling to quantify economic and social impacts; valuing historical and indigenous knowledge about risk; and the use of adaptive planning processes. Planners can also take a leadership role as knowledge brokers and champion the critical community conversations needed around reducing existing risk and avoiding future risk.


Presenter:  Pam Johnston

Planning & Risk Reduction Consultant, Consultant

Pam Johnston is a Planning and Risk Reduction Consultant with experience in natural hazards and resource management policy. She holds masters degrees in planning and in property studies. She has worked on the reform of the RMA at the Ministry for the Environment, natural hazard risk reduction at the Earthquake Commission, and managed earthquake engineering guidance projects at MBIE. She also consults to the Asian Development Bank on risk reduction through land use planning. 

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