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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

Quan Lau

Climate Change Resilience in Slum Communities

This paper investigates the resilience of slums to flocx:ling. Climate change is expected
to increase the frequency and magnitude of floods in the future, and the urban poor
who reside in slum settlements around the world are particularly exposed to climate
change-induced flood risk. Effective action on climate change will require building
the resilience of communities who are most vulnerable to its adverse impacts. This
paper proposes a slum resilience framework that can be used to assess the resilience
of slums. In contrast to conventional engineering understandings of resilience that
focus on maintaining system functionality, this framework defines resilience as
consisting of three complementary dimensions: absorptive, restorative and adaptive
resilience. These dimensions are measured across five livelihood assets. Application
of the fran1ework to a case study of Kampala, Uganda found that slums there
demonstrate low absorptive and restorative resilience, but relatively strong adaptive
resilience. Actions that would improve the flood-risk resilience of slums include:
inclusive government policies and better management of urbanisation; drainage
solutions to increase run-off conveyance and infi ltration; improvements in critical
infrastructure and services within slums; and embracing participatory pla1ming and
working with existing NGOs and community groups to identity resilience-building
initiatives.