David Sanderson

Judith Neilson Chair of Architecture at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia

'Resilience before and after disaster - the real need'

August 16, 2017
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Accelerating urbanization worldwide means more urban-centred disasters. Floods, earthquakes, storms and conflicts affecting densely populated areas produce significant losses in lives, livelihoods and the built environment, especially in comparison to rural areas. Poor urban dwellers, the most vulnerable, too often bear the brunt. Aid agencies and urban professionals have been slow to adapt to these new conditions, but older models and practices hinder the most effective engagements.

This talk explores the nature of resilience, in particular efforts made by humanitarian actors both before and after disasters – beforehand, to reduce or even prevent such events happening; and afterwards, efforts that assist effective recovery. Drawing on recent examples from Haiti, the Philippines, India, Pakistan and Nepal, the talk asks, what are the best interventions that make for the most effective resilience-building actions, before and after disasters occur?

David has over 25 years experience working across the world in development and emergencies. David worked for eight years for the NGO CARE International UK, as Head of Policy and subsequently Regional Manager for Southern and West Africa.

From 2006 to 2013 David was Director of CENDEP, a centre at Oxford Brookes University focusing on development and emergencies. Between 2013 and 2014, he was a Visiting Professor at Harvard University, and in 2014 to 2015, a Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

David was appointed the Inaugural Judith Neilson Chair of Architecture at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia in February 2016. He is a member of several NGO boards and committees, including the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), where he chairs the Funding Committee. David is editor of the 2016 IFRC World Disasters Report, which focused on resilience. David was originally trained in architecture and holds a PhD in urban vulnerability and livelihoods.