Linkages between population dynamics, urbanization processes and disaster risks: a regional vision of Latin America
The paper describes the characteristics and consequences of the situation in Latin America, covering: population projections and scenario building for planning; population growth, urbanisation and their drivers; and public policy, population dynamics and risk reduction. Key findings include the following.
- Urbanisation will continue, more through organic growth than migration, requiring diversification efforts.
- The poor will represent the largest proportion of urban growth and the growth of slums will amplify risk, making disaster risks ever more urban-centric.
- Local losses are largely associated with flood impacts and hydro-meteorological hazards.
- Weak governance structures contribute to disaster risk through an absence of planning and growth management, leading to informal settlements, substandard housing, lack of services and poverty.
- Demographic analysis is not well integrated into urban planning or disaster risk reduction; careful study of demographic trends and the creation of scenarios should form secure foundations of prospective plans.
- Urban growth should be directed to the identification and development of areas with basic facilities, in the context of disaster risk reduction.
- Small- and medium-sized urban centres provide the greatest opportunities in planning for growth; it is necessary to invest in the technical capacity of such centres, since they often have fewer resources than those in larger urban areas.
- Social housing policy offers significant opportunities that can increase the resilience of vulnerable groups.