DISASTER AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: new challenges for urban areas

In the recent years across the word the number of natural disasters has been grown, and therefore it is urgent that the urban studies pay more attention to the natural risk issues and the social implications related to  disaster cycle.  Indeed in each phases of the natural disaster (preparation, response, recovery and mitigation) place as well as local communities assume a greater centrality. As the critical debate of Disaster Studies had underlined to understand the concurring factors of a natural disaster, it is also important to consider how the social system is affected.  A natural disaster indeed is unequal and the population is affected differently. There is an important relationship between natural elements and the cultural, social and economic organizations of the affected society. Indeed, the probability of a disaster having more devastating effects in one place than another depends on the local vulnerability of the place and its urban justice. And therefore, there is a correlation between the potential risk and resistance and reliance of a specific place. Also in the recovery phase the political, social, economic and physical capital of the community might facilitate or obstacle the process. While the concept of local vulnerabity looks at features of the social systems for a potential harm, the idea of resilience includes those inherent conditions that allow the system to absorb impacts  and cope with an event, as well as postevent, adaptive processes that facilitate the ability of the social system to re-organize, change, and learn in response to a threat. Putting forward the approach which stresses the multi-dimensionality  of disaster’s effects helps to highlight the latent social conflicts and the social justice of affected community and  place.  The panel will welcome

  • Theoretical contributions and paper presenting international empirical researches
  • A short abstract presenting audiovisual materials for organizing an exhibition


Davide Olori, Bologna University davide.olori@unibo.it

Silvia Mugnano, Milano-Bicocca University silvia.mugnano@unimib.it