Dr Claudia Loggia and Mr Viloshin Govender, on behalf of the ISUlabantu team, attended the World Social Science Forum held in Fukuoka between September 25th-28th 2018. The International Forum promoted multidisciplinary discussions and exchanges of ideas and research findings on the theme ‘Security and Equality for Sustainable Futures’.
Claudia and Viloshin presented both a poster and a paper on ‘Co-producing spatial maps for risk management and disaster response in informal settlements in South Africa’, during the topical session focused on involving communities in disaster response.
The study proposes the application of a hybrid methodology for mapping informal settlements, which combines drone imagery and collaborative mapping. Claudia and Viloshin have been working on developing this methodology since last year and have already tested it in three case studies in Durban. The overarching aim of this study is to map and characterize vulnerability to natural hazards in informal settlements in South Africa. This new approach seeks to enhance community resilience and co-produce practical strategies for disaster management in spontaneous and unplanned settlements. The research argues that vulnerability and resilience can co-exist in informal settlements and it is fundamental to understand this collaborating with local dwellers.
The presentation stimulated a vigorous discussion on the importance of applying more inclusive, people-centric systems to empower local communities affected by natural disasters. All the participants agreed that resilience can start from awareness and local governments should support and empower communities for a more effective disaster response.