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Understanding the conducive space for social learning in the context of flood risk management: a case study of the city of Cali, Colombia
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 80 credits / 120 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The potential occurrence of natural disasters associated with hydro-climatological hazards poses challenges to urban SES. Considering the urbanization trend worldwide and the uncertainty linked to the manifestation of such hazards, these challenges are expected to increase. Faced with these conditions, social domains of urban systems are tasked to enhance their ability to anticipate, prepare or deal with the disruptions caused by natural disasters. Social learning, understood as a socialised process of learning, can foster the capacity of social domains to prepare for change.  


Cali, Colombia was considerably affected by the floods associated with the Rainy-Season 2010-2011 that the country experienced due to La Niña phenomenon. This is a case study carried-out in the city of Cali in relation to flood risk management. The study provides an exploration of the environment conducive for social learning. Such environment was unpacked in terms of relational spaces and attributes of interaction. 


Results show that an ad-hoc organization called The Adaptation Fund and a recently- enacted disaster risk management policy accounts for formal relational spaces, which play a predominant role in fostering stakeholder dialogue and knowledge exchange around natural disasters risk. Likewise, actors converging into the configuration of a community of practice and actors configuring a network are a nuanced indication of informal relational spaces. Trust and reciprocity, as attributes qualifying interactions, appeared to explain informal spaces. Such attributes, however, are not adhered to the public sphere where the formal spaces are embedded.


The findings draw attention to the challenges posed by context-specific conditions where formal spaces are crucial for fostering processes of engagement between stakeholders, but where lack of attributes qualifying interactions in a positive way can undermine effectiveness. It also calls attention to the convenience of enhancing connections between actors whose understandings and competences revolve around disaster risk management and those with technical expertise on matters that are pertinent to the issue of flooding.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 15 p.
Keyword [en]
social learning, floods, natural disaster, formal space, informal space, disaster risk management, trust, reciprocity, Cali, Colombia
National Category
Environmental Sciences Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-105720OAI: diva2:730898
Available from: 2014-06-30 Created: 2014-06-30 Last updated: 2014-06-30Bibliographically approved

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