Resilient cities, Norwegian links / Columns / The Foreigner

Resilient cities, Norwegian links. Floods, fires, snowstorms, car crashes, fog, a runaway train, and terrorism. These are examples of disasters which Oslo has contended with in recent years. Norway's capital is not alone in dealing with urban disasters. In September, Oslo forged improved links to international networks for exchanging information and actions on becoming more disaster resilient.       Backed by Conservative (H) Mayor Fabian Stang, Oslo became the 1,504th city in the world and the first in Norway – to join the United Nations' Making Cities Resilient campaign. Mayor Stang referred particularly to the events of 22 July 2011 in indicating the need for Oslo to improve its resilience, but dozens of other risks are being analysed.

climatechange, norwayclimate



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Resilient cities, Norwegian links

Published on Sunday, 3rd November, 2013 at 08:12 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

Floods, fires, snowstorms, car crashes, fog, a runaway train, and terrorism. These are examples of disasters which Oslo has contended with in recent years.

Oslo City Hall
Oslo has joined Making Cities ResilientOslo City Hall
Photo: Ilan Kelman


Norway's capital is not alone in dealing with urban disasters. In September, Oslo forged improved links to international networks for exchanging information and actions on becoming more disaster resilient.      

Backed by Conservative (H) Mayor Fabian Stang, Oslo became the 1,504th city in the world and the first in Norway – to join the United Nations' Making Cities Resilient campaign. Mayor Stang referred particularly to the events of 22 July 2011 in indicating the need for Oslo to improve its resilience, but dozens of other risks are being analysed.

Making Cities Resilient has been running for 3.5 years. It showed results in October when the most powerful cyclone to hit India in a decade slammed into the east coast.

128 Indian cities are part of the UN's campaign, with a cluster right in the cyclone-affected area. Preparations ensured that the population was well-informed of the cyclone threat, with hundreds of thousands evacuated from low-lying areas.

Only a few dozen people died despite extensive damage and disruption. That is orders of magnitude below previous death tolls. A storm which hit farther north in 1999 killed about 10,000.

Fortunately, thousands of storm deaths are unlikely in Oslo. But there are always ways to increase resilience.

Emergency services and other government workers need training and equipment for action and for management, so that they can deal with any hazard. That might be as rare as a tsunami or meteorite strike, or as long-term as climate change.

Individuals and families should think about making themselves and their neighbourhood more resilient. Many of the measures improve quality of life, such as creating green spaces to absorb flood water and keeping streets and drains free from litter.

A resilient city is not about worrying what will happen next. It is about maintaining a safe and healthy community to which everyone contributes.

Ilan Kelman is a Reader in Risk, Resilience and Global Health at University College London and a Senior Research Fellow at NUPI in Oslo.



Published on Sunday, 3rd November, 2013 at 08:12 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

This post has the following tags: climatechange, norwayclimate.





  
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