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Understanding Risk BC 2020

About this Event

Connect and collaborate to enhance resilience and improve disaster recovery

Understanding Risk (UR) BC 2020 is an online, collaborative event series that will foster place-based risk reduction strategies to proactively enhance resilience and improve disaster recovery pathways in BC.

Join an exceptional community of planners, policy-makers and researchers who will interact through online workshops and dialogues.


Register for one fee to access 18 events

Purchase one ticket for all the URBC online events. After purchasing your ticket, you will receive an email with a link to our Eventbrite event page. This page has details about all the URBC events as well as a link for each event’s respective Zoom link. Participants must register via these Zoom links for EACH session they wish to attend.

Volunteer! Please contact the organizers if you would like to request a waiver for registration fees and/or would like to volunteer in place of paying the registration fee.


URBC 2020 Events in November

FREE. URBC November Launch & Canada’s Emergency Management Strategy & National Risk Profile: Exploring Federal-Provincial Collaboration

November 2, 2020, 9 am - 12 pm (interactive session)

Convened by Malaika Ulmi (NRCan)

Reflect on what we’ve heard so far in during URBC 2020, get a preview of upcoming sessions, and be inspired by freestyle rap artist Rup Sidhu.

This session will also explore the National Risk Profile, an intergovernmental and whole-of-society approach to identify, analyze, and address risks and capability gaps. In its first stages of implementation, it is enhancing our understanding of the risks posed by floods, wildfires and earthquakes. This session will examine the hazard and risk landscape in BC, socialize the work taking place as part of the federal hazard-specific initiatives within the National Risk Profile, and connect the work of the various pieces and initiatives with the audience..


FREE. Grounding our Resilience through Indigenous Approaches to Wellness: Teachings on Cedar as a Sacred Medicine

November 2, 2020, 1 pm - 2:30 pm (interactive session)

Convened by Emily Dicken (First Nations Health Authority)

Perspectives on Indigenous resilience are as varied and diverse as the distinct communities where this knowledge is held. Narratives of resilience are rooted in culturally unique concepts that are nested within the richness of Indigenous languages, protocols and knowledge. Through the sharing of teachings on cedar as a sacred medicine, this session aims to honour a space of wellness through a dialogue grounded in strategies of Indigenous resilience.


Test-driving a Rapid Disaster Modelling Methodology for British Columbia Earthquakes

November 3, 2020, 9 am - 11 am (interactive session)

Convened by Tiegan Hobbs (NRCan) and Gurdeep Singh (Province of BC- GeoBC)

In this session, NRCan and GeoBC will present a new initiative to develop a rapid disaster model for earthquakes in British Columbia (BC). We will explore best practice and the feasibility of using rapidly available seismic data in the existing OpenQuake Canada framework to report on key metrics for early response: collapsed buildings, entrapment injuries, hospital demand surge, roadway debris which may block response, and immediate mass care needs like shelter requirements. These indicators, which would likely be available within an hour of the earthquake, will be ported to the GeoBC Common Operating Picture, the online portal for authoritative and coordinated distribution of emergency management information in the province..


Finance in Focus- Incentives for Investment in Risk Reduction and Adaptation

November 3, 2020, 1 pm - 2:30 pm (panel dialogue)

With Ujala Qadir (Climate Bonds), Dan Oprescu (BC Financial Services Authority), Richard Freund (Climate Disclosure Project- CDP) and Matt Osler (City of Surrey), Moderated by Puninda Thind (Delphi Group & Global Shapers Community)

This session will focus on funding and financial incentives for risk reduction/adaptation. Based on the tensions and incentives identified in the initiatives in focus sessions, what are the ‘big moves’ when it comes to funding/financing risk reduction and CCA efforts and projects? While climate risk disclosures and resilience ratings will drive the market, how do we ensure equitable shares in resilience dividends?


Resilient Infrastructure in the Age of the Anthropocene

November 10, 2020, 1 pm - 12:30 pm (panel dialogue )

With Roy Brooke (Municipal Natural Assets Initiative-MNAI), Mikhail V Chester (School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Arizona State University), Deb Carlson (West Coast Environmental Law), David Bristow (University of Victoria, Cities and Infrastructure Systems Lab), Moderated by Kristy McConnel (Mott MacDonald & PIBCs 2020 award winner for Young Professional Leadership)

This session will look at infrastructure through the lens of the multiple challenges and opportunities we currently face in an era of unprecedented change: from funding and asset management, governance of centralized grids, multihazard considerations in the Lower Mainland (flood and seismic risk reduction/resilience) and the collaboration and innovation required to foster resilient infrastructure through approaches such as decentralization and shoring up blue-green assets.


Towards Best Practices in Developing Coastal Flood Scenarios for Adaptation and Risk Reduction

November 17, 2020, 9 am - 11 am (interactive session)

Convened by Jackie Yip (NRCan) & Nicky Hastings (NRCan), With Enda Murphy (National Research Council), Nikki Elliott (Capital Regional District), Olympia Koziatek (City Of Victoria Emergency Management), David Forde (Associated Engineering), Silja Hund (Ebbwater Consulting), and Keith Orchiston (District of Tofino)

The capacity for coastal flood risk assessment to inform decision-making is largely dictated by the range and magnitude of the flood scenarios considered. This session will showcase coastal flood risk assessments completed by several distinctly different communities, with a focus on the scenario selection process, associated challenges, resources and effort required, and the capacity to support decision-making related to current and future coastal flood risk. Feedback provided by participants will help shape and enhance the applicability of a number of flood-related guidelines currently being developed.


A Profile of Earthquake Risk in Canada

November 17, 2020, 1 pm - 3 pm (interactive session)

Convened by Murray Journeay (NRCan), With Tiegan Hobbs (NRCan), Jackie Yipp (NRCan), Vitor Silva (Global Earthquake Model Foundation) & Anirudh Rao (Global Earthquake Model Foundation)

Natural Resources Canada is developing an earthquake risk model for Canada that will establish a base of evidence to inform disaster resilience planning in accordance with policy and technical implementation guidelines established as part of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR). The model is implemented using GEM’s OpenQuake Engine. It extends the scope of probabilistic seismic hazard models currently used to inform Canada’s National Building Code (NBCC) by introducing a structured framework of indicators that profile physical, social and economic dimensions of earthquake risk at the neighbourhood scale. Indicators are aligned with the SFDRR monitoring framework and are used to both analyze existing baseline conditions of earthquake risk, and evaluate opportunities for risk reduction through proactive investments in seismic mitigation.


FREE. Exploration and Feedback on Risk Modelling Platform: OpenDRR Risk Profiler

November 24, 2020, 9 am - 11 am (interactive session)

Convened by Murray Journeay (NRCan)

This session specifically addresses some of the recommendations coming from previous UR sessions about the use of web-based platforms and information visualization to help promote a shared understanding of risk to support a broad range of risk management decisions by individuals, businesses and organizations. NRCan is in the process of developing the RiskProfiler application and is intending to use this session as a means of giving the end user communities an opportunity to help shape the final outputs.


FREE. URBC 2020 Report Back, Celebration and Exploring the Path to Regional Resiliency

November 24, 2020, 1 pm - 4 pm (interactive session)

Featuring storytelling by Councillor Chris Lewis (Squamish Nation), and improv drama performance by Jacques Lalond.

Closing reflections from Andrew Pape-Salmon (BC Government), Johanna Wagstaffe (CBC News) Jennifer Cutbill (Lateral Agency), & Murray Journeay (Understanding Risk BC Organizing Committee)

Hosted by Susanna Haas Lyons (UR Organizing Committee), with Jessica Shoubridge (UR Organizing Committee) & representatives from each ‘Initiative in Focus' session

Hear traditional Squamish stories about community resilience and the Great Flood.

Learn about next steps for regional resilience in BC, emerging from URBC 2020 sessions convened by government agencies, planners and engineers, non-profits, FN health authority, and more. Session convenors will report on key highlights.

Be entertained by comedy improv on the theme of disaster risk reduction.

Featured speakers will reflect on URBC outcomes and how ‘big moves ‘ can be implemented to advance a less risky, more resilient future for Southwest BC. Together we’ll consider a road map for continuing to advance collaboration and innovation.


URBC 2020 Events in September & October

FREE: URBC 2020 Event Series Kick-off: Big Moves to Reduce Risk & Build Resilience in Southwest BC. Presentations, Dialogue, Ignite talks and Arts!

September 14, 2020, 1 pm - 4 pm

With Jessica Shoubridge (UR Organizing Committee), Murray Journeay (NRCan) and Tamsin Lyle (Ebbwater)

Join us for URBC's interactive and entertaining kick-off event. Tap into the context for this year's URBC symposium, including a look at the global, national and regional research and practices shaping this field.

  • Learn about about leading risk reduction ‘big moves’ that URBC will further explore to support pathways to a resilient 2050 in the Lower Mainland.
  • Hear short talks about each of the upcoming online workshops. Local artists will contribute to launching our work together.
  • And, the last portion of the kick off will feature "fireside chats" to connect with leading colleagues, without an agenda.


City of Vancouver Seismic Policy & Provincial Existing Building Strategy

September 15, 2020, 1 pm - 3 pm (interactive session)

Convened by Micah Hilt (City of Vancouver) & Andrew Pape-Salmon (Province of BC)

This interactive session will provide an overview of the current regulatory context for buildings in British Columbia as it relates to seismic risk reduction and will explore potential policy tools and approaches for vulnerable buildings.

Participants will explore seismic risk reduction in the context of transformational opportunities, where the nexus of issues of affordability, potential displacement or disruption of residents, and cost, among other intersections, are at work.


Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy: Reducing Flood Risk in BC’s Lower Mainland.

September 22, 2020, 9 am - 11 am (interactive session)

Convened by Steve Litke (Fraser Basin Council), and Frances Woo (Fraser Basin Council)

This session will collaboratively explore highlights of a draft strategy that is being developed in partnership with over fifty organizations to reduce Fraser River and coastal flood risk in the Lower Mainland. Key findings on flood hazard and risk analysis will be presented along with draft recommendations to reduce risk. Participants will provide feedback on the draft strategy.


Low Carbon, Resilient Buildings

September 22, 2020, 1 pm- 2:30 pm (panel dialogue)

With Dale Mikkelsen (SFU-Community Trust), Carlos Molina Hutt (UBC & EERI BC), Ilana Judah, (UBC), Tamsin Lyle (Ebbwater), Matt Strand (QUADReal), Moderated by George Benson (Vancouver Economic Commission, Sector Lead- Built Environment)

This panel will explore the ins and outs of enhancing low-carbon resilience in both new and existing buildings in BC, including lessons learned from; implementing the Living Building/Living Community Challenges at SFU, seismic retrofitting projects in San Francisco, a developer’s perspective on incorporating a business process for integrating climate change risk into global investment decisions, and a variety of perspectives regarding how we fund/finance the transformative investments needed.


Shaping our Future: A Resilient Metro Vancouver 2050- Exploring Synergies Across Regional Strategies

September 29, 2020, 9 am - 11 am (interactive session)

Convened by Edward Nichol & James Stiver (Metro Vancouver)

Three major long-range planning initiatives are currently being developed to address land use and growth management, climate change, and transportation at the regional scale – Metro 2050, Climate 2050 and Transport 2050. This session invite participants to explore opportunities to integrate resilience into these regional-scale plans by identifying data and implementation gaps, and generating “big ideas” that can bring us closer to a resilient region by 2050 through shared strategies and policies.


Beyond Death, Dollars and Downtime: Exploring Functional Recovery

September 29, 2020, 1 pm - 2:30 pm (panel dialogue)

With David Bonowitz (EERI Distinguished Lecturer 2020), Laurie Johnson, Angie Woo (Fraser Health), John Sherstobitoff (Ausenco, SEABC, NBCC Code Committee), moderated by Micah Hilt (City of Vancouver)

Hear from a panel of practitioners, local and US-based, how they are thinking about and implementing performance-based approaches to enhancing resilience in the built environment and how this influences recovery trajectories. This session is hosted in collaboration with the local chapter of EERI (EERI-BC), featuring this year’s distinguished lecturer, David Bonowitz.


Black Swans over Vancouver: Insights from Disaster Risk and Recovery Modelling of the Lower Mainland Region

October 13, 2020, 9 am - 11 am (interactive session)

Convened by Murray Journeay, NRCAN & DRR Pathways Project.

Take part in a guided exploration of how the physical impacts of severe earthquake and flood events are likely to strain existing social fabrics -- with the intent of identifying specific interventions and related risk reduction targets that would result in a more desirable recovery outcome.


The Role of the BC DRR Hub in Enhancing Use of Risk Information in Disaster and Climate Risk Reduction

October 20, 2020, 1 pm - 3 pm (interactive session)

Convened by Sahar Safaie (Sage Consulting and DRR Pathways Project)

Explore the proposed design for "BC DRR Hub" as a mechanism to strengthen the governance of disaster and climate risk management. Participants will share insights and suggestions on the challenges, expectations, and good approaches to enhancing use of risk information in designing resilience policies and plans.


Pre-Symposium Summer Sessions

Socio-economic Equity in an all-hazards Approach to DRR: Challenges and Opportunities Identified through COVID Response and Recovery

August 6, 2020, 10 am - 12 pm (webinar)

Convened by Sahar Safaie (Sage On Earth Consulting and DRR Pathways Project Team) and Nicole Spence (PHSA)

Capturing lessons learned from the challenges faced during COVID-19 pandemic response rooted in socioeconomic inequality and opportunities for building equity in recovery post pandemic. Drawing connections with CCA and all-hazards approach to DRR.

A video recording of this session is now available.


Understanding Economic Impacts of Disasters and Economic Resilience Building

August 13, 2020, 10 am - 12 pm (webinar)

Convened by Sahar Safaie (Sage Consulting and DRR Pathways Project Team)

In this session, Dr. Adam Rose (Price School of Public Policy at University of Southern California) will share research findings and learnings from understanding direct/indirect economic impacts of disasters and best practices in building economic resilience. Speakers from relevant governmental and private sector representatives will discuss economic recovery planning post COVID pandemic.

A video recording of this session is now available.


The Understanding Risk Community

Understanding Risk (UR) is an open and global community of over 6,500 experts and practitioners interested and active in disaster risk identification. UR community members share knowledge and experience, collaborate, and discuss innovation and best practice in risk assessment and risk communication and how to apply risk assessment in service of risk reduction and building resilience.

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Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

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