W. Dorner, L. Ramirez Camargo, P. Hofmann
Focal areas
Natural hazards
Linked project

Can geoinformation help better protect informal settlements? A concept for the city of Medellín

New contributions to disaster research need to address the increasing vulnerability of informal settlements in a changing climate situation. Informal settlements are frequently built in hazardous areas and are often left out of traditional disaster risk management concepts. Hence, formal and informal societal structures, as well as technical systems to warn against, handle or mitigate natural hazards, need to evolve.

Within the project Inform@Risk we are addressing these issues based on a case study in Medellín (Colombia). Here, as a result of civil conflicts informal dwellings were partly constructed by people displaced from rural areas. They are mainly located in the urban peripheral areas along steep and unstable slopes, where the resettlement of all inhabitants at risk of landslides is unfeasible. This contribution presents the technical infrastructure and the concept to incorporate geodata from different sources in an integrated landslide early warning system for some selected informal settlements of Medellin. Special attention is given to possibilities on how building societal institutions, supported by information systems, increases local resilience. Using geoformation as a basis, we will combine classical participatory planning methods with digitally assisted concepts. These include combining satellite and UAS based remote sensing data with terrestrial sensor networks, crowd sourcing and citizen science to collect volunteered geographic information about the settlement and its environmental parameters, as well as distribute this information and disseminate warnings to the local population..