Resilience Design for Water and Landscapes: The Story of the Sponge Village of Atego
This primer is designed to support those working in humanitarian and development contexts by highlighting a design process for increasing community resilience to shocks and stresses ranging from social and economic upheaval to natural disasters, such as floods, drought, increased heat and aridity, loss of living soils and biodiversity, and compromised ecosystem services due to degenerative land practices.
The climate crisis, widespread ecological degradation, erratic rainfall, extreme temperatures and unpredictable weather patterns threaten their crop and livestock production. Compounding the effects of climate change is land degradation, which severely impedes a landscape’s capacity to buffer extremes and contributes to the recurring flood and drought cycles experienced by many communities. Land degradation, soil erosion and biodiversity loss curtail the ecosystem services that provide stability and resilience to a landscape. Restoring ecosystem services is critical to creating a resilient and long-lasting relationship between people and the landscape upon which they rely.
Through a conscious resilience design process, humanitarian and development programming positively affect the way that communities experience climate and weather extremes by mitigating land degradation and rebuilding their ecological support systems. This approach opens opportunities for new livelihoods based upon organic food systems while buffering communities from the impacts of weather and climate-related shocks and stresses.