Planning the Risk City

Emerging practices

Authored by: Yosef Jabareen

The New Companion to Urban Design

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138302129
eBook ISBN: 9780203731932
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter conceptualizes the contemporary city in the context of risk, explains how risk affects the planning of cities, and identifies emerging urban design and planning practices that seek to mitigate risk. Accordingly, this chapter aims to build a framework for understanding the risk-oriented practices and to apply it to the case of the recent planning of New York City. More specifically, it examines the decisive role of risk resulting from climate change in framing and forging the planning practices of New York City. Theoretically, this chapter conceptualizes the contemporary city as a risk city. The risk city framework is articulated through two interrelated logics: one that directs and shapes public opinion regarding the principal risk(s) that a city faces; and the other that captures the collective desire to redress the current insecurities and create a more resilient future for the city and its residents. These logics impel social and spatial practices to cope with anticipated threats and risk. Based on an in-depth review of New York City’s recent planning, the chapter concludes that New York City is a city at risk, which applies new planning and design practical approaches aiming at countering climate change impacts, adapting the city to future uncertainties, and physically protecting residents from environmental hazards. Risk perceptions play a central role in how planners and urban designers formulate the problem, set visions and goals, and develop planning practices.

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