Planning the Contemporary Risk City: Exploring Emerging Practices and Theories

Proceedings of The International Conference on Innovation in Renewable Energy and Power

Year: 2018 | Page No:36-64


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Planning the Contemporary Risk City: Exploring Emerging Practices and Theories

Yosef Jabareen



The rise of the mounting levels of evolving risk and vulnerability stemming from climate change is challenging the nexus between already existing planning theories and the new emerging practices. Strikingly, there is a lack of theorization in the planning field that helps identify, characterize, and conceptualize the emerging risk-oriented practices. Consequently, this paper aims to build a framework for understanding the risk-oriented practices and to identify and apply this framework to the case of the one of the most ambitious recent planning of New York City. More specifically, the empirical work examines the decisive role of risk resulting from climate change in framing and forging the planning practices of NYC, and to identify the major practices in coping with climate change anticipated threats. This paper conceptualizes the contemporary city as a risk city, which is articulated through two interrelated logics: (1) The logic of risk directs and shapes public opinion regarding the principal risk(s) that a city faces. (2) The fantasmatic logic captures the motives behind the desire to change the current insecure conditions and having better peaceful and resilient future for the city and its residents. These logics induce social and spatial practices aiming at coping with anticipated threats and risk. This paper concludes that planning practices are not mere objects, but responsive, logical, functional, and imaginary. The risk-oriented practices are responsive to the urban targeted risk and have an imaginary function for reducing risk and filling security gaps aiming at achieving a more resilient and sustainable city. It concludes also that risk stemming from climate change and its uncertainties presents new challenges to the existing concepts, procedures, and approaches to the planning and design of cities.