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Megacity development and the inherent risks and opportunities for humans and the environment is a theme of growing urgency in the 21st century. Focusing on Latin America where urbanization is most advanced, this book studies the complexity of a ‘mega-urban system’ and explores interrelations between sectors and issues by providing an in-depths study of one particular city, Santiago de Chile. The book attempts to (i) focus on the emergence of risk in megacities by analyzing risk elements, (ii) evaluate the extent and severity of risks, (iii) develop strategies to cope with adverse risks, and (iv) to guide urban development by combining concepts with empirical evidence.
Drawing on the work of an interdisciplinary and international consortium of academic and professional partners, the book is written for scholars in cross-cutting areas of urban, sustainability, hazard, governance and planning research as well as practitioners from local, regional and international organizations.



A challenge for research and implementation

Chapter 1. Introduction: Megacities in Latin America as Risk Habitat

While the world has stepped into the century of cities, the emergence of the megacity is perhaps the most visible expression of the mega-trend urbanization. This introductory chapter discusses some features that characterize the megacity beyond its extraordinary population size. Furthermore, it outlines the main objectives of this book, discusses the key concepts risk, sustainability and governance and further elaborates on why and to what extent megacities are places of opportunities and risks. The chapter describes the geographical focus – Latin America – with Santiago de Chile as an anchor city and closes with a brief overview of the book.
Dirk Heinrichs, Kerstin Krellenberg, Bernd Hansjürgens

Chapter 2. Megacities in Latin America: Role and Challenges

This chapter discusses the primary issues and challenges of urban sustainability that have come to light in six Latin American metropolises. It identifies leading urbanization trends in Latin America and their relevance to the selected city regions. Furthermore, it presents stylized facts from each city under review and summarizes the work of the recently developed Regional Panorama Latina America – Megacities and Sustainability, which evaluates urban risks along sustainability criteria.
Ricardo Jordán, Johannes Rehner, Joseluis Samaniego

Developing the conceptual framework

Chapter 3. Mechanisms of Systematic Risk Production

The concentration and densification of social processes is the quintessential feature of cities in general. This offers manifold opportunities: in a material/factual dimension they sustain functional processes for the provision of basic human needs such as energy, food, water and housing; in a temporal dimension they organize and coordinate the numerous municipal processes required to achieve synchronization; in a social dimension they implement measures to include the population at structural and normative levels with regard to participation in functional system services. We argue that while reproducing these functions, megacities, in particular, simultaneously create conditions that jeopardize them with what we call systematic risk production mechanisms. Using four distinctions (Attraction/Exposure, Metabolization/Deterioration, Synchronization/Desynchronization, Inclusion/Exclusion) we analyse their development in order to exemplify the non-linear dynamics and self-enforcing, mutually amplifying processes of such complex research objects as megacities. Our ultimate goal is to produce a heuristic for interdisciplinary research and create a scientific approach with a common frame of reference for the different research disciplines involved.
Christian Büscher, Aldo Mascareño

Chapter 4. Sustainable Urban Development in Santiago de Chile: Background – Concept – Challenges

The main objective of this chapter is to reflect on one element of the conceptual frame for urban development analysis – the goal dimension of the sustainability vision – and its application to the case of Santiago de Chile. The chapter provides essential insights into the sustainability concept in general and the current situation, debates and controversies in Santiago de Chile in particular. Basic sustainability documents are discussed in terms of their local applicability and potential for associated programmes and activities. For the case of Santiago, political and institutional characteristics and current thematic priorities are outlined. The Helmholtz Integrative Sustainability Concept is tendered as an appropriate tool for sustainability analysis. Using indicators as a basic tool, application of the concept to the Santiago case within a broader conceptual landscape provides orientation for a variety of decision-makers. Initial findings on the translation of the concept into indicators and its application to several thematic fields are presented and the most urgent sustainability performance deficits, defined as risks for future development, are highlighted. Based on an overview of the current sustainability policy in the Santiago Metropolitan Region, future challenges are identified and practical recommendations put forward.
Jonathan R. Barton, Jürgen Kopfmüller

Chapter 5. Megacity Governance: Concepts and Challenges

The exploration of governance issues with regard to the sustainable development of and risk mitigation in megacities is crucial, as it provides knowledge on the feasibility of urban development strategies and insights into – actual and potential – risk-creating policies and practices. This chapter therefore introduces the most salient aspects of urban governance in Latin America in general and Santiago de Chile in particular. It outlines a framework for the analysis of urban governance and presents the findings obtained by applying this framework to the case of Santiago. These findings hint at some particularly notable governance challenges – primarily the weak position of both local and regional authorities, as well as the sometimes overly strong interest coalitions between public and private partners. It is likewise evident, however, that there is no universal solution to these challenges. Chapter 15 will further explore the implications of the arguments presented in this chapter.
Henning Nuissl, Carolin Höhnke, Michael Lukas, Gustavo Durán, Claudia Rodriguez Seeger

Exploring policy fields

Chapter 6. Earthquake Risks: Hazard Assessment of the City of Santiago de Chile

Santiago de Chile is located at the top of a deep sedimentary basin close to the active tectonic San Ramón Fault. In the case of rupture, this fault at the eastern edge of the city can generate earthquakes with a magnitude of up to 7.1. As seen in past earthquakes, the soil characteristics within the Santiago basin change the level of seismic hazard, since they heavily modify the level of ground shaking over short distances. This chapter takes a closer look at the relationship between these parameters and their influence on local site conditions. The methodology it presents to provide a rough estimate of the seismic hazard combines a high resolution map of the fundamental resonance frequency of the soil and a 3D shear wave velocity model for the northern part of the city. By comparing the results with mapped intensities of recent events, the chapter estimates the areas of the city that are more endangered and recommends a more thorough investigation for these parts of the basin. Although the findings cannot be generalized for all possible earthquakes affecting the city, it concludes with some practical recommendations such as retrofitting the existing building stock in areas particularly under threat of seismic hazard.
Marco Pilz, Stefano Parolai, Joachim Zschau, Adriana Perez, Jaime Campos

Chapter 7. Land-Use Change, Risk and Land-Use Management

This chapter focuses on flood risk analysis and risk prevention in Santiago de Chile. It presents a conceptual framework for flood risk analysis in urban areas and demonstrates the utility of a mixed set of methods, including remote sensing and GIS techniques, to improve the methodological basis for flood risk assessment and risk prevention. Population growth and land-use changes are analysed as key elements of urban development and indicators of flood risk production. A conceptual framework comprising the core elements of exposure, elements at risk and vulnerability serves as a tool for risk analysis and risk assessment, and is applied to the municipalities of La Reina and Peñalolén. The chapter reviews existing institutional responses to land-use and risk management and, based on expert interviews, detects their deficits. As a conclusion, recommendations to improve flood risk prevention in Santiago de Chile are made. The absence of a systemic view of flood risk resulting from complex ecological and social processes is the chief weakness of current risk prevention in Santiago de Chile.
Ellen Banzhaf, Annegret Kindler, Annemarie Müller, Karin Metz, Sonia Reyes-Paecke, Ulrike Weiland

Chapter 8. Socio-spatial Differentiation: Drivers, Risks and Opportunities

The unmistakeable pattern that has long divided Santiago de Chile into the ‘rich’ northeastern municipalities and the ‘poor’ rest of the city has recently begun to change. Little is known about the mechanisms that drive these processes of socio-spatial differentiation and their associated opportunities and risks. This chapter explores three trends in socio-spatial change for 39 municipalities of the Greater Metropolitan Area of Santiago: demographic variables such as population trends and intra-metropolitan migration streams, housing and land market trends with respect to construction volume, building permits and land prices, and finally state housing policy with particular reference to social housing programmes. The analysis shows that in combination, these trends have supported the formation of two extreme types of socio-spatial conditions in various locations throughout the city. The chapter stresses the prominent role of state housing programmes. While the contemporary debate on these aspects focuses to a large extent on the agglomeration of low-income groups in social housing schemes on the periphery, the results suggest that the housing policy should give attention to some of the more central locations, where the move towards gentrification could cause the displacement of low-income groups in the future.
Sigrun Kabisch, Dirk Heinrichs, Kerstin Krellenberg, Juliane Welz, Jorge Rodriguez Vignoli, Francisco Sabatini, Alejandra Rasse

Chapter 9. Energy Systems

Almost entirely dependent on energy imports from outside, cities are the key driving force behind the demand for energy, which is an essential resource for industries, households and services. Up to now, the Chilean energy system has met Santiago’s needs satisfactorily. However, development trends in the current energy system pose significant risks to its future. Using selected energy indicators and a distance-to-target approach, a detailed sustainability analysis of the energy sector in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, and of Chile as a whole was conducted. Risks to the sustainable development of the energy sector were detected, such as increasing concentration in the energy sector, import dependency on fossil fuels and rising CO2 emissions due to energy consumption. Alternative options were assessed for a more sustainable development of the megacity Santiago within the frame of the national Chilean energy system, such as enhancement of energy efficiency and greater use of renewable energies.
Sonja Simon, Volker Stelzer, Luis Vargas, Gonzalo Paredes, Adriana Quintero, Jürgen Kopfmüller

Chapter 10. Santiago 2030: Perspectives on the Urban Transport System

This chapter summarizes recent developments in Santiago’s urban public and private transport system and outlines perspectives for the year 2030. The analysis is conducted with a set of indicators: motorization rate, current and expected congestion levels, level of service, modal split and accessibility levels. For each indicator the expected values for 2030 are estimated and analysed to determine the feasibility of a more sustainable urban transport system in Santiago. Assumptions regarding economic and demographic growth for the Metropolitan Area of Santiago, as well as infrastructural projects and operational adjustments are considered. Indicator quantification is achieved with mathematical economic models for transport and land use. Based on the indicator values, conclusions are drawn about the perspectives on Santiago’s urban transport system. Finally, recommendations for further policy action in the field are discussed.
Andreas Justen, Francisco Martínez, Barbara Lenz, Cristián Cortés

Chapter 11. Air Quality and Health: A Hazardous Combination of Environmental Risks

This chapter addresses the link between Santiago’s transport sector and its corresponding emissions, on the one hand, and the impact on the health of its citizens, on the other. The dispersion of pollutants at the micro and meso scale is based on an integrated approach that incorporates different platforms – satellite data, in situ measurements and emission data. Specific attention is paid to traffic emission estimates based on the traffic flow, fleet composition and emission factors in the Metropolitan Area of Santiago de Chile. Health-related indicators such as PM10, O3 and NOx are discussed and their dispersion throughout the city analysed in order to arrive at a comprehensive health impact assessment. The possible development of PM10 levels forms the basis of a detailed discussion on adverse health effects in the future.
Peter Suppan, Ulrich Franck, Rainer Schmitz, Frank Baier

Chapter 12. Risks and Opportunities for Sustainable Management of Water Resources and Services in Santiago de Chile

This chapter analyses the sustainability performance of water resource and water service management in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago de Chile, adopting water resource and water service perspectives. By comparing the targets with the current situation, we address sustainability deficits and identify potential risks to and opportunities for sustainable development. On the basis of this assessment, we summarize some of the most pressing issues that pose risks to sustainability and suggest mitigation alternatives. On the basis of population projections and historical fresh water data, we find that per capita availability could decrease from 767 to 1,100 today to 575–825 m3 per capita and year by 2030 for a normal water year, shifting Santiago de Chile from a position of water stress to one of water scarcity. This could become critical for semi-rural localities surrounding the urban core, which are currently outside the concession area of the major drinking water utilities. Although sewage treatment has improved considerably in the last 10 years, several reaches of natural streams remain at risk as a result of unregulated liquid emissions and solid waste disposal. Storm water management is still mostly confined to the development of a vast collection and disposal infrastructure, without significant investment in distributed management systems. Hence the risk of flooding in the lower areas of the city remains high, compounding other social problems in the city.
Helmut Lehn, James McPhee, Joachim Vogdt, Gerhard Schleenstein, Laura Simon, Gerhard Strauch, Cristian Hernàn Godoy Barbieri, Cristobal Gatica, Yarko Niño

Chapter 13. Municipal Solid Waste Management in Santiago de Chile: Challenges and Perspectives towards Sustainability

This chapter gives an overview of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago de Chile (RMS). On the basis of this data, MSW management in RMS is assessed with selected sustainability indicators and their corresponding target values. In addition, the most urgent problems are identified. To evaluate options for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from landfills, the results of model calculations are presented, taking into account the segregated collection of the organic fraction of MSW in RMS.
Klaus-Rainer Bräutigam, Tahnee Gonzalez, Marcel Szanto, Helmut Seifert, Joachim Vogdt

Synthesis and perspectives

Chapter 14. How Sustainable is Santiago?

The objective of this chapter is to measure the performance of the Santiago Metropolitan Region and to demonstrate how the Helmholtz Integrative Sustainability Concept and a set of indicators can serve as a tool to support decision-making by public, private and civil society actors for sustainable development. The chapter combines results for selected headline indicators with those of sustainability performance in the various fields presented in more detail in Chaps. 6–13 of this volume. The exercise of setting target values as necessary reference lines to identify existing strengths and weaknesses is clearly an incentive to goal-oriented policy and planning. The analysis reveals positive trends for some of the indicators, which deserve continued support, but also tremendous challenges in others bearing negative trends. The chapter concludes with a synthesis of the sustainability challenges ahead. This includes reflections on the conceptual and methodological dimensions of this exercise, and suitable institutional responses.
Jürgen Kopfmüller, Jonathan R. Barton, Alejandra Salas

Chapter 15. Dealing with Risks: A Governance Perspective on Santiago de Chile

Governance is required to manage risks that occur in the course of urban development, but it can also become a source of risk. For this reason, sustainable urban development presupposes knowledge on governance-driven risks. In gathering such knowledge, this chapter combines empirical material, research results and conceptual considerations from different sources: firstly, the findings we obtained from an empirical study of stakeholders in Santiago; secondly, observations we made on how the governance matters of decentralization, privatization, participation and informality (outlined in Chap. 5) actually fall into place in Santiago; thirdly, our reflections on the key tasks in various urban policy fields (cf. Chaps. 6–13 ). In sum, as crucial sources of – governance-driven – risks, we can identify the extensive power of the private sector and clientelism, over-centralization and coordination deficits, the predominance of technocratic and neoliberal thinking, and low civil society engagement. Finally, we come up with recommendations on how to deal with these risks. They include an increase in private sector regulations, facilitation of multi-level governance strategies, empowerment of civil society and transformation of the political culture in Chile.
Corinna Hölzl, Henning Nuissl, Carolin Höhnke, Michael Lukas, Claudia Rodriguez Seeger

Chapter 16. Synthesis: An Integrative Perspective on Risks in Megacities

The central motivation for this book was the observation that megacities are places of inherent opportunity and risk. The book combines the empirical study of urban sectors in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago de Chile with theoretical considerations of risk and explores several common risk concepts. This final chapter provides a discussion and some conclusions to key questions. Firstly, it provides a systematic review of the extent to which different approaches to risk help to understand the Risk Habitat Megacity. Secondly, it considers what research methods and approaches are appropriate to understand the complex system that the Megacity is and provides orientation and action knowledge. Finally, and with special reference to the case of the Metropolitan Area of Santiago, it discusses what forms and strategies of governance constitute an adequate response to these challenges.
Dirk Heinrichs, Kerstin Krellenberg, Bernd Hansjürgens, Francisco Martínez
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