Incorporating Children's Perspectives in the Management of Urban Risks

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:45
Location: Hörsaal 46 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Ana DELICADO, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Ana NUNES DE ALMEIDA, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Jussara ROWLAND, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Susana FONSECA, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Addressing risk has long ceased to be the sole prevail of experts and policy makers. Public engagement and governance of risk approaches rely on integrating the perspectives of different stakeholders, as well as contextual factors (legal, political, social, values) in decision-making.

Children and young people make up a substantial proposition of urban population. However, they are usually relegated to the role of vulnerable population or potential victims in urban risk management. Although schools and school aged children are the main targets of disasters risk reduction education programs, these programs tend to see children in terms of their role as future adults, often ignoring their lives as children. Their specific perspectives could provide valuable insights in responding to risk.

This paper aims to assess the roles assigned to children in urban strategies of coping with risk and identify ways of increasing their engagement and participation in Portugal. It addresses this subject at both the national level (legislative and institutional framework, national programmes and initiatives, implementation of international policies, such as the Hyogo framework for action) and at the local level, with case studies of four cities susceptible to different kinds of risk (earthquakes, floods, industrial accidents) and with diverse urban and sociodemographic profiles (the capital city, a suburban city, a medium-sized agrarian city and a medium-sized industrial city). Empirical data for this paper stems from document analysis and interviews with key informants.

This paper is based on the Horizon 2020 funded project CUIDAR Cultures of Disaster Resilience Amongst Children and Young People, coordinated by the University of Lancaster.