• Vol 9, No 5 (2018)
  • Editorial

The Role of Technology in Building a Resilient City: Managing Natural Disasters

Mohammed Ali Berawi

Cite this article as:
Berawi, M.A., 2018. The Role of Technology in Building a Resilient City: Managing Natural Disasters. International Journal of Technology. Volume 9(5), pp. 862-865
Mohammed Ali Berawi Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, Kampus UI Depok, Depok 16424, Indonesia
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Catastrophic losses, as a result of natural disasters, have caused fatalities and destroyed urban areas. Therefore, there must be well-established approaches to planning an adaptation to climate change. Well-prepared urban plans, (re)development, operations, and maintenance after a natural disaster are necessary to build a resilient city.

In coming decades, this will be essential for urban developmental policy. Climate change will have a serious impact on cities if it is not properly managed. Climate forecasting and modeling should be employed to identify the impacted developmental sectors, in order to reduce vulnerability, as well as to develop a robust infrastructure that is able to withstand future stress. The development of urban ecosystems and green infrastructure are necessary assets to build a sustainable and supple city.

Rendering cities safe from disaster is a concern for all parties. Governments, the private sector, professionals, as well as citizens need to be engaged and contribute to building urban areas that can overcome natural disasters. Better policies and tools are required to anticipate these problems and to ensure urban development sustainability. Urban sustainability provides continual reasons to upgrade the public infrastructure, produce renewable energy, food, and water security, increase safety, and leads to urban renewal.

The development of a strong city requires continual commitment and support from the government and engagement of the public in response to disaster mitigation and prevention. Participatory budgeting, monitoring, and planning are required to enable the allocation of funding, after identifying vulnerable urban areas. Citizen empowerment is crucial in mitigating disaster impact, including the ability to adapt to shocks and stresses, and to quickly respond to a changing environment. The choice of land and environment to build new urban developments and the enforcement of effective building codes is required.

Although there are dedicated financial supports for such causes, the utilization of public-private partnerships can be employed to reduce further financial constraints. There are opportunities to involve the private sector. For instance, the government and private sectors could develop infrastructure in which the utilization of modern technology is employed, which results in savings of operational costs and better service.

The Use of Technology in Mitigating Disaster

The cities are required to update their public policies and urban development standards. By considering an urban area's economic, environmental, and social well-being, cities are expected to have better preparation for climate change. A contingency plan is required to anticipate unpredictable disasters, which involves an increase in capacity to manage natural disasters--particularly for shelter, food, water, and energy--the basic needs.

Understanding disaster in its various dimensions, such as the vulnerability it exposes and its impact, is  necessary  to  implement  effective  policies and  practices  for disaster  management,  including appropriate preparedness and an effective response. The technology that is required encompasses disaster prediction, monitoring, mitigation, in addition to rescue operations and rehabilitation management.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) contribute a significant role in disaster prevention, mitigation, and management. ICTs can be utilized as tools to dispatch early warning information, as well as to track and communicate during emergency situations and post-disaster periods. Timely, predictable, and effective information is required by government agencies and stakeholders that are involved in rescue operations and decision-making processes. The technological advancement that employs urban development datasets (e.g., infrastructure, environmental area locators, weather and seismic wave predictors, and real-time monitoring) has enabled the construction of models to predict damages and fatalities, as well as identification of areas that can flourish from city redevelopment.

For instance, Indonesia, and other countries, are prone to earthquakes, floods, and tsunamis, and therefore require resilient urban area and infrastructure development. The devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake that was followed by a tsunami on Sulawesi Island in Indonesia last month demonstrates that quick responses from the government, disaster relief organizations, and the local and international community of Indonesia has enabled better stakeholder coordination with regards to mitigating the disaster impact. The use of different information and communication technologies, including satellite imagery through the Geographic Information Systems (GIS), radio and television, mobile networks, drones, the internet, and social media contributes to enhancing capacity and reducing vulnerability. Immediate information regarding damaged areas and the location of people who remain stranded, as well as emergency management to develop more targeted response plans, has been conducted with technological advancements.

Learning from catastrophes around the world, there should be a greater emphasis on the development of novel technologies for disaster mitigation and further construction of stronger cities. Disaster preparedness and management is the only effective method of mitigating the impact of future catastrophes.

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