The urban transition of environmental disaster governance in Asia

The increasing frequency and severity of environmental disasters in Asia are highly correlated with the rapid urban transition now taking place in this world region. Five types of urban transition effects are identified to explain how the urbanization of disasters calls for fundamental changes in approaches to disaster prevention, response, adaptation and resilience. The effects include agglomeration and the formation of mega-urban regions, spatial polarization in high-risk zones, new forms and magnitudes of vulnerability, compound disasters, and the expanding ecological reach of cities. Taken together, they call for a shift from expert-centered disaster management to participatory disaster governance as the framework for society-wide engagement in all phases of disaster experiences and responses. Three spatial scales of governance – neighborhood, city region, and transborder riparian region – are among the most critical to be included in the search for innovations in disaster governance.

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