Session: Urban Resilience and Regeneration

Urban Sustainability Stream


Day 1, Parallel Session 1A: 11:00am – 12:30pm

Location: Storey Hall (Building 16) – Conference Room 2, Level 7, Room 8

Chair: Dr Liam Magee (RMIT University)


Felicity CahillFelicity CahillElizabeth RyanElizabeth Ryan  The Resettlement of Vila Chocolatão: A Quest for Citizenship

  • Presenter: Elizabeth Ryan (UN Global Compact Cities Programme)
  • Main author: Felicity Cahill (UN Global Compact Cities Programme)
  • Co-authors: Dr Liam Magee (RMIT) and Elizabeth Ryan (UN Global Compact Cities Programme)
  • Abstract: Progress in developing economies such as Brazil is frequently marked by a parallel rise in urban poverty and informal settlements. Globally, development-induced resettlements are increasing, often resulting in displaced persons suffering further impoverishment and disadvantage. Devising approaches to dealing with slums is one of the biggest challenges to emerge from the unprecedented and rapid process of urbanisation in the twenty-first century. Current international ‘best practice’ approaches recommend resettlement of slum communities be avoided where feasible. This presentation examines the resettlement of the Vila Chocolatão community in Porto Alegre, Brazil; a paradoxical case in which relocation was accompanied by a form of participatory practice and citizen engagement. After a decade long preparatory process, in May 2011 approximately 800 residents of inner city Vila Chocolatão were re-housed in the newly constructed Residencial Nova Chocolatão. Initiated through Porto Alegre’s recognised participatory budgeting process, and supported through a long standing cross-sectoral network group, the rehousing project aimed to incorporate employment, early childhood services and education facilities. While it is too early to evaluate the project’s results, we examine this unusual hybrid of urban resettlement and public participatory processes, and further consider possibilities for whether citizenship can be sustained and even recuperated amongst resettlement participants. We also explore the role of collaboration and partnership in community transformation.
  • About Felicity: Felicity’s research on the resettlement of the Chocolatão community was undertaken in her role as a postgraduate researcher with the UN Global Compact Cities Programme and as part of her recently completed Master of International Development degree at RMIT University. Her research, which contributed to her Master’s minor thesis (When Urban Resettlement Meets Public Participatory Processes: A Case Study of the Resettlement of the Chocolatão Slum Community in Porto Alegre, Brazil), involved mapping the history of the project and developing a report. Felicity had the opportunity to visit the Chocolatão community in June 2012 as part of a Cities Programme trip to South America for the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In recent years, Felicity has worked as an Associate Lecturer at RMIT and a lawyer at the Supreme Court of Victoria and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Queensland. In addition to her Masters, Felicity has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts (Class I Honours) from the University of Queensland.
  • About Elizabeth: Elizabeth Ryan is the Deputy Director of the UN Global Compact Cities Programme. She is responsible for the management of the Cities Programme’s Operations: international liaison and partnerships; engagement of participant cities; expansion of the Programme; its communications and resource base. Elizabeth has over ten years’ experience in partnership development, project management, business development and stakeholder engagement, bringing together cross sectoral groups for social and economic development projects and mutually beneficial outcomes. She has particular expertise and interest in facilitating cross sectoral partnerships that draw on collective resources for the benefit of society and the broader whole. She has Spanish language skills and keen interest in Latin American sustainable development, demonstrated with recent UNGCCP expansion in Brazil and Colombia. 
Susana Gavidia-Payne Focussing on the People: How Children and their Mothers Construct Resilience in a Peruvian Urban Setting

  • Presenter and main author: Associate Professor Susana Gavidia-Payne (RMIT University)
  • Abstract: The resilience of individuals and families is essential to strengthen the social fabric of communities, particularly those that experience social and economic disadvantage. This premise becomes particularly important in working towards a common understanding of what it means transforming the future with and for communities so they are resilient themselves. This presentation reports on a qualitative study which forms part of larger research collaboration between Universidad Ricardo Palma (Lima, Peru) and RMIT University’s School of Health Sciences. Using Bronfenbrenner (1994)’s ecological model of human development as an interpretative conceptual framework, the study focuses on the various aspects of resilience and associated risk and protective factors as experienced by families in an urban setting. Interviews with eleven children and their mothers who live in a context of high risk in terms of social violence, low economic resources and overall unfavourable social environments were conducted. Findings reveal the intertwining of individual and family factors and a range of other social and community influences. Mothers and children reported on the experiences that gave meaning to their lives such as a harmonious family environment, and hope for a better educational and financial future.  They also conveyed the stress experienced on a daily basis in the form of violence in their neighbourhoods, drug use, theft and frequent assaults, and the effects of prevailing gangs.  Findings will be discussed in the context of the meaning of individual and community resilience in urban settings and how this can be used to strengthen the well-being of individuals, families and communities who experience disadvantage.
  • Co-authors: Profesora Nelly Ugarriza (Universidad Ricardo Palma), Maria del Carmen Espinoza (Universidad Ricardo Palma)
  • About the presenter: Susana is an Associate Professor in Health Sciences at RMIT University.She has been involved for approximately thirty years in working with young children with and without disabilities and their families as a practicing psychologist and researcher. She has considerable expertise in developing, delivering, and evaluating early intervention programs that strengthen children’s socio-emotional and behavioural development and family functioning. For the last five years, Susana’s research work has focused on the examination of the factors that promote or hinder children’s and family resilience outcomes, particularly in disadvantaged and vulnerable populations so evidence-based supports and interventions are effectively developed and implemented in community-based settings.
Christophe Lalande

Christophe Lalande

Natalie Sham

Natalie Sham

Sustainable Housing Rehabilitation for Inclusive Cities

  • Presenters: Christophe Lalande (UN-Habitat) and Natalie Sham (UN-Habitat/The University of Waterloo)
  • Abstract: Sustainable housing is a key component to providing social integration for inclusive cities, adequate housing for all, and equal opportunities for the urban poor. In many cities of the world, policymakers are facing housing rehabilitation issues in diverse contexts. Housing rehabilitation must be looked through the perspective of building inclusive cities and providing sustainable housing. This presentation will explore three key contexts for sustainable housing rehabilitation: cultural heritage, post-crisis, and social housing. These are analyzed according to the four pillars of housing sustainability: social, economic, cultural, and environmental. The research project on sustainable housing rehabilitation for inclusive urban development employs a methodology that bridges the gap between scientifically based research and participatory research strategies, involving crowd sourcing and gathering field data.  Housing rehabilitation policies and performance are evaluated through measurement approaches of a sustainable typology index for countries in the five world regions, to measure factors of social-economic well being against development indicators. Policy recommendations and context-specific principles are generated from the data collected on the evaluation of performance measurements of housing rehabilitation. A sustainable housing rehabilitation strategy at the national level would inform inter-ministerial policy guidelines, which would contribute to the Global Housing Strategy led by UN-Habitat.
  • Co-Authors: Christophe Lalande (UN-Habitat) and Natalie Sham (UN-Habitat/The University of Waterloo)
  • About Christophe: Christophe Lalande is the Housing Unit Leader at UN-Habitat. Christophe’s professional experience is in housing policy and development, in particular in the design and implementation of inclusive and sustainable housing policies and programmes in developing countries. His work at UN-Habitat is supporting the formulation of the new UN Global Housing Strategy, through producing policy guidelines, methodologies and tools to address the specific challenges faced by the urban poor, indigenous peoples and the most vulnerable groups in cities in the realisation of their right to adequate housing. Christophe is a national of France. He holds a Bachelor degree in Political Sciences (2001) and a Masters in Public Policy and Political Sociology (2003) from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris. 
  • About Natalie: Natalie Sham works in the Housing and Slum Upgrading Branch at UN-Habitat, in developing a strategy for sustainable and inclusive housing rehabilitation, and contributing to the UN Global Housing Strategy. She is a student in the School of Planning, Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. Natalie has professional experience in urban rehabilitation projects particularly in developing countries, with the Aga Khan Development Network on initiating an inclusive urban design project, architectural restoration in Haiti, and cultural regeneration projects with the UW School of Architecture in Rome. She has received two international experience awards for her work in Kenya, and will be working in Palestine this summer on rehabilitating a UNESCO nominated World Heritage Site.