Category: 2020

Public transport in times of (post) Covid

In April 2020, Jeffrey E. Harris, a professor of Economics at the MIT, published a study placing responsibility for the Covid spread on the NYC subway, said to be “a major disseminator, if not the principal transmission vehicle”(1). Though highly criticized for its questionable methodology, and though there is no evidence of such correlation in […]

Urban resilience and Culture in times of Covid

A new paradigm is emerging: the nature and scale of risks are changing. The assumption that past observations may help to better appraise future developments becomes questionable due to an anthropogenic metabolism of systemic risks making obsolete our linear way of thinking (1). The abnormal becomes the new norm, shifting to a deadly scenario of […]

The Sense of Vulnerability

The Anthropocene awareness and its induced damages strengthen the concept of (urban) resilience, often presented as the new panacea for improving our daily lives. Much has been written on resilience, be it from the engineering or socio-ecological point of view; but the notion of vulnerability, often too quickly seen as the opposite of resilience, is […]

Droughts: the ultimate challenge

More than 800 million people in the world lack basic drinking water. Government budgets may increase; still, the UN 2019 report highlights financial resources as a major constraint to achieve appropriate investments (1). Inevitably, this unacceptable figure questions the scope of institutional statements recognizing “the right to safe and clean drinking water as a human […]

How resilient is cultural heritage?

Far from mass tourism attractions, a narrow cobble-stoned Parisian alley tells us the story of carpenters who came from Holland and Germany during the sixteenth century to settle in the Saint-Antoine district.  A hidden pathway possibly witnessing the “raison d’être” of a community: a stamp-varnishing master, a manufacture built in 1886 converted in artists’ studios, […]

Chelsea, NYC, 24th street.

If the Enlightment is recognized for an outstanding intellectual and philosophical development, its emergence coincided with theories “from another time”. In her review (1) on “contagions, public health and social links in the United Kingdom during the 18th century”, French sociologist Anne Marcovich recalls the principle of the so called “intermediary space”, defended by JC […]

Connecting art, urban grid and vulnerability

Little attention is given to the way urban morphology echoes resilience and how urban fabric can be linked to social construction. The connection between urban and social forms is often descriptive, elaborating on the homogeneity between the space and its occupation by various social/ethnic groups. But as underlined by A. Levy (1), the sense of […]

Is NYC retreat inevitable?

Irene, Sandy, Andrea, Arthur, Bill, Bonnie, Matthew, Cindy, Jose, Maria, Philippe, Gordon, Michael. Thirteen names for thirteen cyclones during the past decade amongst a list of eighty-four that have affected the state of New York since the 17th century (1). New Yorkers are currently overwhelmed by the Covid 19 disaster. But the worst would be […]

When Hollings meets Kandinsky

Identifying and managing risks is nowadays key in any strategic planning. Under the wording risk management, companies aim to control and minimize the risk level that could impact their short or long-term profitability. In cities, risk management is expected to drive urban planning safety approach and better integrate hazards occurrence. It is based on procedural […]

Detroit resilience, from reporting lines to desire lines

On July 18th, 2013, the City of Detroit made U.S. history with the largest municipal bankruptcy in the country to date. “There is no roadmap for Detroit’s recovery,” declared the New York Times. Less than a decade later, the city is recognized amongst the leading ones for its urban resilience initiatives: numerous publications have detailed […]

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