The Organizers and Scientific Committee invite participants all over the world to attend the International Conference on Resilience and Sustainability of Cities in Hazardous Environments during 26-30 November 2018 in Naples, Italy. The conference includes keynote speakers, oral talks, poster presentations, workshops, panel discussions, and excursions to Vesuvius and Campi Flegrei volcanoes, tour of world’s cultural heritage sites of Herculaneum and Pompeii, tour of urban habitats in the Neapolitan area, conference dinner with Neapolitan entertainment, and publication of conference papers.
Cities can concentrate disaster risk not only due to the aggregation of people, infrastructure, assets, expansion, and inadequate management, but also from the surrounding hazardous environments. Cities on volcanoes and on geologic faults, cities exposed to meteorological and climatological conditions, cities in the vicinity of nuclear, chemical and biological facilities, and cities neighboring hazardous landfills can be found all over the world, and their resilience and sustainability is difficult to achieve. The achievement of sustainability in hazardous environments is, however, illusive to most city planners, dwellers, and authorities, because this requires visionary long-term planning and interdisciplinary collaboration that is not easily understood nor accepted by the professionals and populations. The development of resilient human habitats in hazardous environments is, however, more readily perceived because it can offer more immediate solutions while paving the pathways for the development of sustainable communities. Today more than half of the world’s population lives in cities and by the middle of this century an additional two billion people will join the urban dwellers. The cities in the developing countries will experience most rapid urbanization and thus experience the fastest rate of increase in the incidents of disasters. On average some 100,000 people are killed annually by disasters and when the people are concentrated in cities massive evacuations and displacements become problematic for the authorities because this can imbalance socio-political structures and drain national resources. Naples and its surrounding towns on the Campanian Plain is home to some 3,000,000 people and its unique natural hazards include two large and active volcanic complexes, Vesuvius and Campi Flegrei, earthquakes from the collision of African and Euro-Asian continents, and burials of household and radiologic waste in the surrounding illicit landfills. San Francisco, Istanbul, Tokyo, Rabaul, Mexico City, and many others are all situated in active geologic areas, whereas the coastal cities of North and South America, West Africa, Mediterranean, Bay of Bengal, South China Sea are exposed to tropical storms, hurricanes, typhoons, inundations, and tsunamis. The global warming will increase the potential hazards from the sea-level rise and changes in atmospheric circulations. Many nuclear power stations and chemical and biological facilities are today located too close to large metropolitan areas without safety nets and this problem will proliferate with the need to double the energy supply for humanity by the middle of this century and the development of the African Continent. For the most part the city habitats have not been designed for the maximal strengths of potential hazards, have not been properly assessed for their vulnerabilities, nor their governances have been structured to avoid future disasters.
Producing possible pathways to resilience and sustainability of cities in hazardous environments is an urgency that should not be underestimated by civil societies and considerable efforts should be directed at convincing the local and national authorities to support the developments of appropriate risk reducing feasibility studies by city planners, architects, environmentalists, engineers, economists, civil response organizations, and the exposed populations. Professional feasibility studies take decades to develop and their implementations considerably longer because the territorial intervention must be accomplished simultaneously with the normal continuation of city life. The central goal of the International Conference on Resilience and Sustainability of Cities in Hazardous Environments is to bring urgency to the unique problems that many cities in hazardous environments are facing and will be increasingly facing with the rising populations and changes of natural environments, and to define possible pathways leading to resilience and sustainability of these urban habitats.