Urban Crisis Management – By Dr. Solmaz Rezaei

By Dr. Solmaz Rezaei

Ph.D. in Geography and Urban Planning

Urban crisis management
About 75% of the world’s population lives in areas that have experienced one of the four causes of death in the last decade, which include earthquakes, droughts, storms and floods. The casualties are directly related to development processes, especially in cities, which, if the infrastructure standards an principles of sustainable development are not met, they will exacerbate the effects of these incidents. In other words, the extent of the damage caused by such natural and sometimes human disasters does not depend solely on their type and destructive power, but many urban planning approaches will have a great impact on this. In a vision of the future, survival depends on the lack of negligence and the success is the reward of surprising. On this basis, in 1989, the United Nations called the 1990s to 2000 decade a decade of natural disaster effects, which aimed to increase the readiness of countries to deal with inevitable events. In other words, the organization described the culture of awareness and protection as more effective than the reaction after the events.
Due to the unexpected nature of different of natural and human events, and the need for rapid and effective decision-making, knowledge of crisis management has been introduces. Crisis Management is a set of measures that are taken before and after the occurrence of accidents, to reduce the consequences and losses caused by accidents. The importance of in urban areas is important given that the harmful effects of incidents are a combination of physical degradation and urban dysfunction. Hence, the urban crisis management requires many prerequisites that can only be achieved through a long-term, comprehensive planning. Due to the overlapping of some of the urban management tasks with other city managements, the existence of an effective communication between management systems is essential in all time segmentations of accidents. In the event of any natural disaster or man-made mistake, human and urban monuments are the categories that should be considered and planned for preventing or reducing potential harm. The human component can be prepared by providing proper training and awareness, and urban structures continuously require standardization and monitoring. Basically, crises occur when the responsible management ignores many of the problems that can be solved over time, which creates and aggregates problems that are hard to solve and become a crisis.
Based on existing standards in urban planning, the crisis management process includes 5 stages:
۱- Moments of crisis occurrence (within seconds to one minute) 2- Escape and shelter 3. Temporary accommodation (may take up to several months) 4. Removal of ruins
Also, the stages of urban crisis management are categorized into four:
۱- Prevention: Includes all actions that reduce the effects of the crisis before the occurrence, such as the rehabilitation of facilities and buildings. Considering that prevention is an important part of the crisis management cycle, the relevant managers should consider this category in the planning of national development and national crisis management policies.
۲- Preparation: Many incidents do not occur by human choice, but their effects can be minimized. Preparedness includes increased operational capability and the ability to respond effectively at the time of the incident.
۳- Resistance: Includes all actions that take place before to after the occurrence to reduce losses and save lives and increase the effectiveness of the reconstruction.
۴- Reconstruction: Provide minimum facilities for the affected people in the short term and meet the basic needs and restore the damaged area to a better condition than before.
Iran is considered an accident prone country due to its geographical, continental and geological location. The existence of deteriorated areas, the lack of attention to natural and environmental conditions in the quality, design and construction of facilities and buildings in many cities of the country increase the damage caused by natural disasters and human-induced events. In the late seventies, the Center for Environmental Earthquake Studies in Tehran was formed in the Tehran Municipality and began the sub zoning studies of Tehran seismology in collaboration with the International Cooperation Agency in Japan. Also, a collection called the Secretariat of the Tehran Crisis Management Master Plan was created in the Tehran Municipality, which merged in the 80’s and the Center for the Prevention of Crisis Management in Tehran, and subsequently improved to organization in terms of structure. The crisis management structure for a city such as Tehran has been identified in a normal and critical environment, and now the Crisis Management Coordination Office has been established in all 22 districts of the Tehran Municipality.

Solmaz Rezai
Ph.D. in Geography and Urban Planning