On September 22, 2019, the Observatory on Latin America (OLA) joined a pool of 450 changemakers at the Building a Resilient Future day-long event organized by the Global Resilience Partnership. The day after the event a headline message was put forward to the UN Climate Summit that took place the day after. Under a unified message the Partnership insisted that “incremental change is insufficient. Our collective work is not just about rethinking adaptation and mitigation but redoing them. In other words, practicing, accelerating and escalating resilience action.” There was not a better venue for this book presentation, where the authors and editors of the book were able to share working resilience practices in several cities across Latin America with an audience of government officials, recognized scholars and prominent community leaders.
The book Facing Risk: New Urban Resilience Practices in Latin America is the result of a collaboration agreement between the OLA and the Latin America Development Bank CAF. The authors of this book -most of them graduate students from the Schools for Public Engagement at The New School- had the opportunity to do field research in six cities across South America: Manizales, in Colombia, La Paz, in Bolivia, Cuenca, in Ecuador, Santa Fe and Pilar in Argentina, and Cubatão in Brazil.
Margarita Gutman OLA Codirector, opened the event explaining the nature and origins of this project. Timon McPhearson, faculty and Director of the Urban Systems Lab at The New School, offered some contextual comments about different climate change scenarios, warming projections, and scope of current actions. Then, Bart Orr spoke about the SETS approach (McPhearson, 2015) and some definitions of resilience (Pelling, 2011). Following, three of the seven researchers, shared the highlights from the city they studied: Maria Carrizosa on Manizales, Colombia; David Lopez, on La Paz, Bolivia, and Lena Simet on Santa Fe, Argentina. Then, Michael Cohen, OLA Codirector and Milano PhD Director, briefly summarized the main transversal conclusions from the study.
Among the questions raised, the audience showed interest in unpacking the meaning of the “culture of risk” term, challenges to food security, and about the collective insurance system deployed in Colombia.
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