In addition to rapidly rising housing costs, cities around the world are facing complex and fast-changing challenges. In this situation, building resilience is a matter of urgency. "Negotiating Resilience with Hard and Soft City" takes a holistic view of the concept of resilience, highlighting in particular the tensions between "hard" (i.e. built) and "soft" (i.e. emerging from social interactions) cities. The book is the result of extensive research coordinated by the Department for Building and Environment at the University for Continuing Education Krems.
How can cities become resilient through soft and hard factors? The new Routledge anthology is based on extensive research and, in view of the increasingly urgent debate on the affordability of urban housing in Europe, takes a look at those regions of the world that already have a great deal of experience with precarious housing, such as India and Ethiopia.
The anthology is based on extensive research. In view of the increasingly urgent debate on the affordability of urban housing in Europe, it takes a look at those regions of the world that already have a lot of experience with precarious housing, such as India or Ethiopia. "It may sound very provocative,” says co-editor Tania Berger, "but on closer inspection, slums, as in India, are not so much the problem as part of a possible solution; they offer low-income residents what they cannot find anywhere else: affordable housing!" The challenge, therefore, is to make living in such neighborhoods more livable, for example by improving connections to urban utilities, said Berger, who heads the Social Space-based Research in Built Environment (SPACE) cluster at the University for Continuing Education Krems, Department for Building and Environment.
Basic infrastructure - such as water and electricity supplies - is crucial to protecting large sections of the population from acute damage to life and health in the face of climate change impacts such as extreme heat or flooding after heavy rainfall, Berger emphasizes.
Europe's cities also need more resilience
According to the main thrust of the publication, European and Austrian cities must also become more resilient, in particular by not excluding their weakest and most vulnerable residents and by not leaving it solely to the forces of the housing market to provide decent housing for these groups as well.
The anthology presents the results of extensive research and case studies to analyze the interactions between the physical, structural and social aspects of urban resilience - this concerns precarious housing in the Global South as well as the unequal distribution of stressful housing situations in European cities. It shows that both "hard" infrastructure such as buildings, roads and energy supplies and "soft" factors such as social networks, governance structures and cultural identity need to be included in negotiation processes to strengthen resilience. "Negotiating Resilience with Hard and Soft City” not only provides theoretical insights into the concept of resilience, but also presents practical recommendations for action for urban planners, policy makers, local governments, and other stakeholders.
Singh, B., Berger, T., & Parmar, M. (Eds.) (2023). Southern Urbanism: Vol. 3. Negotiating Resilience with Hard and Soft City (1st): Routledge.
ISBN 9781032440378 (Paperback)
ISBN 9781032289434 (Hardback)