International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Issue: 13/2006- 12/2006 - 11/2005 - 10/2005 - 9/2004 - 8/2003 - 7/2003 - 6/2002 - 5/2002 - 4/2001- 3/2001

Partners in Action


Twenty-third Forum of ARQUISUR
Seventh International Congress: “Architecture in High-Risk Areas”

In the context of the 23rd Forum of ARQUISUR (Association of State Architecture Schools in MERCOSUR countries –Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil- and Chile), held in the Province of San Juan, Argentina, the 7th International Congress entitled “Architecture in High-Risk Areas” was carried out on October 27-30, 2004. This event was organized by the School of Architecture, Urban Development and Design of the San Juan National University and the School of Architecture, Design and Urban Development of the National Littoral University of Argentina.

The Congress was declared of provincial interest by the local government and the legislature of San Juan, and was sponsored by the National University of San Juan, the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), the Unit for Sustainable Development and the Environment of the OAS, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), the Network of Social Studies on Disaster Prevention (LA RED), and the XIV Network, Habitat at Risk.

The general goal of the Congress was to analyze the current status of architecture in areas exposed to natural disasters, and formulate future courses of action related to research, higher education, including graduate and postgraduate studies; and architecture as a career that might contribute to an effective and integrated risk management.

Specific goals set for this event included: identify and promote risk mitigation strategies through the use of architecture, and promote the participation of architecture schools in human resource training on integrated risk management in different geographic regions.

The structure of this Congress was designed to hold four different types of sessions:

I) Special Conferences. Goal: Incorporate interdisciplinary contributions in order to address, from an architectural perspective and with a holistic approach, risk issues in areas exposed to different natural phenomena.

Guest speakers: Professors, researchers on different disciplines, experts in risks and disasters. Specifically, Dr. Manuel Arguello Rodríguez (Costa Rica), Dr. Elizabeth Mansilla (Mexico), Dr. Hilda Herzer (Argentina), Dr. Allan Lavell (Costa Rica), and Architect Stephen Bender (EEUU).
II) Informative Conferences. Goal: Provide information about current plans, programs and projects that promote actions for natural disaster risk reduction in human settlements.
Guest speakers: Representatives of different national and international organizations that promote disaster reduction: UN-ISDR, PAHO, UDSMA, INPRES, La RED and the XIV Network.

III) Oral Presentations. Goal: Present on existing hazards and contributions of current responses –from an architectural approach-, to natural hazards. These presentations also included scientific research and specific actions taken in high-risk areas, as well as information on graduate and postgraduate studies, university outreach and management programs. Guest speakers: architects who presented on the work done in a given timeframe, as accepted by the Scientific Committee.

IV) A Poster Exhibition. Goal: Display posters related to the work done, as accepted by the Scientific Committee, in two different fields: research conducted and actions taken in different areas as a contribution of architecture to natural disaster prevention and mitigation.
Participants: people who displayed their posters, at a date, time and place specified in the Congress’ agenda.

The event gathered 270 participants, including students, professors, professionals and experts in different fields, public officials, NGOs, the media and the general public.

The following are some of the future courses of action recommended by the participants:

Integrate risk management into current curricula of architecture schools, at all level of their programs.
• Set priorities related to research on risk-related issues in
different regions.
• In the context of university outreach programs, promote the
participation of civil society, States and the private sector in
an interdisciplinary, inter-institutional and multidisciplinary
process for risk management.
• As architecture schools, promote the formulation of policies,
programs and projects that may contribute to risk reduction.