Building Urban Resilience of Public Places in Volos (Greece). Perspectives and possibilities of related contribution of digital tools.

Tatiana Ruchinskaya
March 1 to March 31, 2018

This Case Study contains two sections: scientific reviews of resilience and a Case Study of public places for building urban resilience in Volos (Greece). Section 1 provides an overview of different concepts, qualities and approaches to resilience and its integration with sustainability targets. It argues that public places can be considered as useful tools for risk mitigation, emergency response, recovery and adaptation if they have social, economic and environmental capacities. Strengthening social capacity of public spaces and building place capital through inclusive practices contribute to their resilience to face climate and social risks. During an emergency time, public spaces are mainly used as places for shelter, gathering and distribution of services, goods and information. In cases of social crises public spaces shape the relationship between local community and affected social groups.
Section 2 is a Case Study of public places in Volos. It is based on the framework provided in section 1 and it argues that there is a deficiency of risk mitigation and emergency response practices in Volos,
and low capacity to adapt to different anticipated and unexpected risks. Xenokratis Plan is the only existing risk mitigation and emergency framework for Volos. It facilitates partial resilience of the city,
focusing mainly on administrative procedures for evacuation during earthquakes. Xenokratis does not have spatial dimensions expressed in maps etc., apart of a list of roads and open spaces to be used. A
Preliminary Hazard Risk Assessment for Volos was conducted and other risks, not covered by Xenocratis, were identified the most important of which, being floods. An analytical Plan of Volos was
then drawned, showing the distribution of public places for evacuation, proposed in Xenocratis, and their vulnerability if case of floods. Public spaces in Volos were visited and inspected. During the site
visits it was noted that there are public spaces available, which are able to contribute to city resilience, and are not mentioned in Xenokratis. A typology of public spaces for resilience is proposed, with their
images, locations and condition. These public spaces should be also considered in Xenocratis Plan for gathering and evacuation.
This Case Study argues that the majority of public places in Volos do not support different city needs.
They fail to deliver the sustainable qualities of resilience, including reflectiveness, integration, robustness, resourcefulness and flexibility to deal with multiple threats facing the city. There is poor diversity, uneven distribution and a low provision of public open spaces in Volos in particular in periphery. The high density of buildings, in relation to the relative lack of open spaces is the characteristic of the recent urban fabric of Volos. Social role of the public places in Volos in risk
mitigation, risk management and adaptation in Volos is also undervalued. There are no community events and social groups associated with public places in place in Volos. In this section, a strategy toreinforce the resilience of public places in Volos is proposed. It is argued that in order to increase an adaptive capacity of Volos to mitigate all risks, selection of public places for evacuation should be based on building ratio of the area, available space, accessibility and connectivity to the main collector roads.