Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015
Making development sustainable: The future of disaster risk management

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Part III - Chapter 11
sprawling urban expansion results in major additional costs: the cost of providing utilities and public services can increase by 10-30 per cent, while costs for transport and travel can increase by up to 50 per cent (Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, 2014

Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. 2014,Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report, Washington, D.C.: World Resources Institute.. .
The combination of speculative urban development and weak regulatory capacity discussed in GAR13 (UNISDR, 2013a

UNISDR. 2013a,Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction: From Shared Risk to Shared Value: the Business Case for Disaster Risk Reduction, Geneva, Switzerland: UNISDR.. .
) leads to an increasingly social and spatial segregation of risk in cities, in particular in low and middle-income countries. Such conditions can contribute to the proliferation of other shocks and stresses, such as crime, high youth unemployment and political instability, all of which exacerbate vulnerabilities and social tensions. What results is a vicious cycle of risk generation (UN-Habitat, 2014a).
This problem takes a number of different forms. The apartheid laws of South Africa were an extreme case of large-scale, government-sanctioned spatial segregation. However, other cases reveal more subtle forms of segregation: One example is the Brazilian government’s destruction of favelas in the 1960s, when inhabitants were removed to other segregated locations. On a smaller scale, more than 2,000 low-income families were evicted from high and middleincome residential areas in Santiago, Chile, between 1979 and 1985 with the stated objective of creating neighbourhoods that were uniform by socioeconomic group (Greenstein et al., 2000

Greenstein, Rosalind, Francisco Sabatini and Martim Smolka. 2000,Urban Spatial Segregation: Forces, Consequences, and Policy Responses, Land Lines, Vol. 12, No. 6 (November).. .
The application of land-use and building standards that exclude low-income households is a common method of encoding social segregation into apparently technical planning criteria. For example, until its revision in the mid-1990s, the main building code system in Kenya continued the application of top-down colonial standards and paid too little attention to the affordability of the regulatory provisions. Prior to the enactment of “Code 95”, the cost of conventional building
materials was beyond reach for low-income and vulnerable groups, many of whom did not have access to housing finance and credit (UN-Habitat, 2014a). More recently, voluntary segregation has become a growing force, with the proliferation of gated communities and the concentration of commerce in new shopping and business centres providing increased security against crime but also minimizing the residents’ interaction with other social groups in the city.
Cities have always been characterized by inequality. The Manchester of the mid-nineteenth century (Engels, 1845

Engels, Friedrich. 1845,The Condition of the Working Class in England, First published in Germany, 1845. English translation first published in 1886; republished with some revisions, and edited by Victor Kiernan. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1987: 171-184.. .
) offered horrific conditions of everyday risk for the majority of its inhabitants. Nowadays, most cities in higher-income countries are able to provide their residents with infrastructure, services and safety nets in a way that minimizes their disaster risk and strengthens their resilience (except in pockets of extreme deprivation like Calton, Glasgow). As cities grow wealthier, investments are made in infrastructure and services that reduce extensive risks and increase resilience. Engels would certainly not recognize the Manchester of the twentyfirst century. However, in many cities inequality is increasing rather than decreasing, and it is estimated that around two-thirds of the global urban population now lives in cities where inequality has risen continuously since the 1980s (UN-Habitat, 2014b).
In many lower-income countries, city governments do not have the resource base or the political leverage to provide land and infrastructure for low-income households, with the result that a large part of urban development occurs informally and a variable proportion of the urban population (from 30 per cent in most middle-income countries to 90 per cent in many low-income countries) live in unsafe housing, on hazardexposed sites and with little or no provision of services and infrastructure. This significantly increases their risk compared to better-off areas in the same cities.
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