In the reconstruction of Acapulco, law 2023/11/14 must prevail

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The present and future are marked by climate uncertainty and human settlements have become epicenters of vulnerability. When an event impacts them, multidimensional crises, inequalities in societies, as well as disorderly or no urban planning inevitably emerge.

In this context, we must understand that urban space planning aims to structure land use and establish the rules for the formation, transformation and conservation of territories, which allows efficient management of urban growth and development. In addition to this, a coherent distribution of infrastructure and resources must be ensured, to not only maximize economic growth, but also to achieve environmental sustainability and social equity.

Thus, in the face of devastation caused by catastrophic storms, massive floods and extreme weather events, urban planning provides the instruments to rebuild resilient cities and populations.

And urban resilience refers to a city's ability to resist, adapt and recover from adverse impacts, such as natural disasters, economic crises or climate change. According to UN Habitat, “assess, plan and act to prepare and respond to all types of obstacles, whether sudden or slow in origin, expected or unexpected… cities are better prepared to protect and improve the lives of their inhabitants.”

The theory is very clear, but, in practice, there is a risk of repairing damage or repeating mistakes, when the point is to overcome the disaster and resist future events. And the reconstruction of Acapulco, a coastal city with a tourist vocation, recently devastated by the fury of Otisa category 5 hurricane, and not the concurrence of severe rain and strong winds.

Rebuilding Acapulco involves knowing and respecting the precepts of federal and state laws on human settlements, territorial planning and urban development.

But in this port urban development has been chaotic. The construction of tourist areas and private subdivisions was prioritized, there was a change in land use, alteration of biodiversity, irregular settlements and social polarization. AND Otis It exposed inequalities and exacerbated deficiencies.

Although in the country the issue of public space and resilience was raised to the highest priority, thanks to the fact that the General Law of Human Settlements, Territorial Planning and Urban Development contains a chapter on the matter, many entities have not yet updated their legislation. states, this shows negligence when catastrophic climate events occur, “because not only have they not started to build resistant infrastructure, but they do not have the regulatory framework to make it the great public policy priority that is required by law,” said Marco Martínez. O'Daly, urban economist.

A resilient city must be based on prevention and cover the basic elements of urban planning and survival, because technologies, economic development and high-value employment are of little use if every time it rains the city comes to a standstill and the heritage and People's lives are put at risk,” said the Friedrich Naumann Foundation advisor in an interview.

A great window of opportunity could open to build Acapulco as a smart city. But it would require a new paradigm.

For Martínez O'Daly, a smart city recovers historical knowledge, for example, ensuring that places susceptible to flooding are not urbanized, green infrastructure is built with compatible elements for rainwater harvesting, having recreational spaces, such as green areas. , “that when they flood nothing happens and the rest of the time they protect against poor urbanization.”

After a disaster or a moment of suffering and concern, citizens are willing to experiment with new mechanisms.

“Acapulco is at that moment to propose new intervention mechanisms…beyond political leadership, I think it is an opportunity where technicians, colleges of architects and universities, where the knowledge is, have to come together and propose a change of model.” ”, he assured.

The transformations of a city, he explained, require the private sector, a well-organized system for public benefit, in addition to managing federal and state support.

This implies - he continued - that private investment for urbanization and construction, when paying their taxes or development rights, the money is used in a transparent manner for the complementary construction of water infrastructure, public spaces, large green infrastructures necessary to channel water during rain events - such as dikes, first dunes and seawalls - but that is achieved with trusts, with development councils, with planning institutes that have well-designed plans and programs, "investors are willing to assume the cost because there are benefits.”

As can be seen, at the intersection between need and opportunity, resilient urban planning stands as the key to building cities that not only survive climate events, but that respect the environment and thrive in an increasingly unpredictable world.

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