Fast Company writer Dianna Budds questions how quickly urban areas can rebound after natural disasters. We've seen hurricanes Katrina and Sandy or flooding in Southeast Asia devastate whole cities. But while many large cities can invest time and money into big resiliency projects, what happens to informal settlements and low-income neighborhoods—areas that grew organically without traditional city planning—when a big storm hits? One company is putting forth effort to protect these areas:
In 2014, Ideo.org (the nonprofit arm of the global design firm Ideo) and the U.K. Department for International Development embarked on a five-year partnership to develop a new model for aid projects called Amplify. "It's applying design to the places where it's most absent," says Shauna Carey, the Amplify program director at Ideo.org. For the urban resiliency challenge, Amplify partnered with the Global Resilience Partnership, the Rockefeller Foundation, USAID, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency to find and fund new projects that creatively tackle resiliency in informal settlement. From about 350 submissions, eight finalists were selected. For example, one group is retrofitting structurally unsound houses in the Philippines; another is building a mobile app to help residents in Indonesia connect and find what they need post disaster; while another is mapping informal settlements in South Africa to understand how best to provide basic services like water and ambulances.
Continue reading to see how this company is fostering resiliency innovation around the world.