Malalgoda, Chamindi, Amaratunga, Dilanthi and Haigh, Richard (2013) Empowering local governments to make a disaster resilient built environment within Sri Lankan Cities. In: 2013 International Conference on Building Resilience, 17th-19th September 2013, Heritance Ahungalla, Sri Lanka.

Urban areas are growing very rapidly all over the world, particularly in developing countries.
As a result of rapid urbanisation, the world’s population is increasingly concentrated in large
cities leading to unplanned urban development with inappropriate and poor quality housing,
infrastructure and services. This excessive unplanned urban growth leads to various physical,
social and economic vulnerabilities. As a result, the consequences of disasters are highly
detrimental when they occur in urban environments. Thus, it has become necessary to
strengthen the resilience of cities to disasters. The built environment provides a core to many
human activities and plays a critical role in any city. Thus, it is necessary to develop the built
environment with an effective degree of resilience, in order to withstand and adapt to the
threats of disasters. This requires a serious effort to be made by various stakeholders including
governmental and non-governmental institutions. As local governments are responsible for
local area development, they have a key role to play in achieving the resilience of the cities
under their jurisdiction. Even though there is a growing concern on the role of the local
governments in making cities resilient, several incidents have been reported on the inadequate
contribution of local governments in taking the lead role of initiating risk reduction. In this
context, the research aims to explore and propose mechanisms to empower the local
governments to make cities resilient to disasters within the context of the built environment.
Accordingly this paper intends to analyse the challenges faced by the Sri Lankan local
governments in creating a disaster resilient built environment within their cities and to propose
the ways and means of addressing the challenges faced by the local governments. As such, the
paper proposes a set of recommendations to empower the Sri Lankan local governments in
facilitating city resilience building initiatives in the built environment context

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