The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Disrupting urban 'risk traps': Bridging finance and knowledge for climate resilient planning in Lima

22 April 2015

Urban Risk Traps: JCM

Born out of Learning Lima, new DPU research explores the conditions that produce and reproduce urban ‘risk traps’. How and where do they materialise and with what consequences for women and men living in informal or marginalised settlements?

Beyond this, the project – entitled cLIMA sin Riesgo – looks at potential ways of disrupting cycles of risk through connected actions and investments by local communities and state agencies.

Urban risk traps

We understand ‘risk traps’ as the cycles through which environmental hazards and repetitive and often unrecorded small-scale disasters accumulate in particular localities. In Lima, bio-physical and socio-economic risk drivers are deeply entangled, consequently producing cycles of unequal risk exposure and displacement. This has severe impacts on the everyday lives, livelihoods and assets of the urban poor and the city’s ecological and socio-economic future.

Urban ‘risk traps’ undermine the efforts and investments made by the urban poor and state agencies to mitigate risk, just as urban poverty traps are produced through combined aspects of urban deprivation that undermine the potential benefits offered by cities.

Working with local communities in Barrios Altos and Jose Carlos Mariátegui, the project aims to enhance spatial knowledge, assess ongoing investments and efforts to mitigate and reduce risk, and create evidence-based tools to inform climate resilient funding mechanisms and ultimately disrupt these 'risk traps.

Continuation of collaborative research in Lima

The project is the latest continuation of our engagement with local groups and organisations in Lima through research. The Learning Lima platform synthesises these, and is a fantastic resource for those interested in urban-based research into environmental risk in the region.

Since 2013 DPU students of MSc Environment and Sustainable Development have been visiting Lima annually to conduct action-research into how local populations are experiences and responding to threats of urban risk and environmental injustice. In 2014 we collaborated with Foro Ciudades para la Vida, the UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) and Drone Adventures to experiment with innovative digital mapping techniques in the lomas on the periphery of the city in our Mapping Beyond the Palimpsest project.

cLIMA sin Riesgo Project team

Our latest project is led by Prof. Adriana Allen in collaboration with:

  • Rita Lambert, Rossana Poblet, Teresa Belkow and Sohel Ahmed at DPU UCL (UK)
  • Liliana Miranda and Linda Zilbert at Foro Ciudades Para La Vida (FCPLV) (Peru)
  • Silvia de los Rios at Centro de Investigación, Documentación y Asesoría Poblacional (CIDAP) (Peru)
  • Carlos Estrada Escalante at Instituto de Desarrollo Urbano (CENCA) (Peru)
  • Prof Muki Haklay at Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, UCL (UK)
  • Prof Andy Hudson-Smith at The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, UCL (UK)
  • Marco Kamiya at UN-HABITAT (Kenya)

DPU research on risk

The DPU is pioneering new thinking on urban risk through a series of projects and initiatives. We are a key partner in the Urban Africa Risk Knowledge research consortium. Over the next three years this project examines the links between urbanisation, poverty and disasters in sub-Saharan Africa.

We have recently published a literature review for DFID on humanitarian response in urban settings, and in July of this year will be hosting the 7th International i-Rec conference on Reconstruction and Recovery in Urban Contexts.

cLIMA sin Riesgo funding

This project is funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), a programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Netherlands Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) for the benefit of developing countries.

CDKN aims to help decision-makers in developing countries design and deliver climate compatible development. They do this by combining research, advisory services and knowledge management in support of locally owned and managed policy processes; working in partnership with decision-makers in the public, private and non-governmental sectors nationally, regionally and globally.