The research and implementation project entitled “Climate Change Adaptation in Informal Settings: Understanding and Reinforcing Bottom-Up Initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean,” proposed by the Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Reconstruction Research Alliance (Œuvre Durable) is funded by the International Development Research Center (IDRC).

To read the final report, click here.

News from key members and partners.

 [+] Article: Community-based response to climate events (Sept. 2022)
Article: Respuesta a eventos climáticos desde la base comunitaria

This article on the case study of Salgar, published in the magazine "Pesquisa Javeriana", talks about the material reconstruction after a tragedy caused by a natural phenomenon, which is an obvious necessity, but the reconstruction of society is a difficult challenge to overcome. Salgar, in Antioquia, comes back to life after one of these episodes.

To read the full article click here.


 [+] Video: Bogota is also rural. Bogota foodie (Aug. 2022)
This video is an interactive contribution in which the Universidad Javeriana contributes with @CanalCapital to the scales of recognition and representation of the peripheral urban rural territories of the city of Bogota. A joint effort to raise awareness among the inhabitants of the capital district about those inhabitants who, being peasants, live in the city.

To watch the video click here.


 [+] Article: The problem of doing more. (February, 2022)
Title: The problem of doing more: success and paradoxes in scaling up informal initiatives for disaster risk reduction and climate action.

Authors: Lizarralde G., Bornstein L., Herazo B., Burdiles R., Araneda C., Páez H., Diaz J., Fauveaud G., Olivera A., Gonzalez G., López O., López A., and Dharb T.

Journal: Canadian Journal of Development Studies

Climate change action is based on the principle that we need to do more. But doing more without a clear ethical framework and deep engagement in implementation is often problematic in DRR and climate action. We must reflect much more on the pertinence of ideas within local conditions, and we need to respect local struggles within their own historical and social context.

To read the full article click here.


 [+] ADAPTO Final Technical Report (August, 2021)
Responses to Risk and Climate Change in Informal Settings in Latin America and the Caribbean: The Importance of Bottom-up Initiatives and Structured Dialogue

Executive Summary:
By virtue of its impact, budget, and number of participants, ADAPTO is one of the most ambitious recent research and implementation initiatives in the area of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate response in informal urban settings in Latin America and the Caribbean. The project (also known as “Climate Change Adaptation in Informal Settings: Understanding and Reinforcing Bottom-Up Initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean”) was conducted from 2017 to 2021 by a multidisciplinary group of researchers from five universities and one NGO. It was funded by the International Development Research Centre of Canada and coordinated by the Canadian Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Reconstruction Research Alliance (L’Observatoire universitaire de la vulnérabilité, de la résilience et de la reconstruction durable, or OEuvre Durable, in French). The researchers explored responses to climate change and variability in informal settings in Colombia, Chile, Haiti, and Cuba.

To read the complete report, click here.

 [+] Book: Unnatural Disasters by Gonzalo Lizarralde (July 2021)
Unnatural Disasters: Why Most Responses to Risk and Climate Change Fail But Some Succeed

Gonzalo Lizarralde.

Unnatural Disasters offers a new perspective on our most pressing environmental and social challenges, revealing the gaps between abstract concepts like sustainability, resilience, and innovation and the real-world experiences of the people living at risk. Gonzalo Lizarralde explains how the causes of disasters are not natural but all too human: inequality, segregation, marginalization, colonialism, neoliberalism, racism, and unrestrained capitalism. He tells the stories of Latin American migrants, Haitian earthquake survivors, Canadian climate activists, African slum dwellers, and other people resisting social and environmental injustices around the world. Lizarralde shows that most reconstruction and risk-reduction efforts exacerbate social inequalities. Some responses do produce meaningful changes, but they are rarely the ones powerful leaders have in mind.

To buy the book, click here.

 [+] Awarding of scholarships to students from ADAPTO partner universities (June 2021)
As part of the training and dissemination activities of the ADAPTO project, 20 scholarships were awarded to students from the universities participating in the research. Students from disciplines such as architecture, ecology, sociology, civil engineering, among others, will analyze the different adaptations to climate change in urban settlements in their degree projects.


 [+] Presentation of Salgar's Microprojects at the Solidarity Economy Forum (Feb. 2021)
On 13 February, Ana Milena González presented the final results of the two microprojects developed in Salgar at the Solidarity Economy and Climate Change Forum. The microprojects are carried out jointly with the Javeriana University and the Antioquia Presente Corporation.

To watch the video of the forum click here. (Microprojects from 1h40min onwards)

 [+] Article on the lessons of Haiti's reconstruction Interview with AM Petter (Dec. 2020)
Lessons from Haiti: How to build safer cities

PhD candidate Anne-Marie Petter gave an interview for an article produced by the international development media platform Devex. This article contributes to the public debate on reconstruction and urban planning in Haiti, a topic and a territory on which the ADAPTO project focuses.

To read the full article click here.

 [+] Article on globalization, urbanization, and health (Sept. 2020)
Globalization, Urbanization, and Health: Impacts of COVID-19

The article focuses on the contradictions of globalized urbanization within the pandemic disaster. It is hypothesized that the impact of COVID-19 is reshaping urbanization processes and that health and human welfare cannot coexist with inequity, inequality, and exclusion. Documentary research methods were used to study the interrelation between globalization, urbanization and health and the impact COVID-19 has had in Cuba as well as a global context.

To read the complete article, click here.

 [+] Publication of results ADAPTO - Disaster risk management Cuba (June 2020)
El desafío de la gestión del riesgo de desastre en la sostenibilidad

The article proposes to address the challenge of disaster risk management through policy integration and contextualized implementation. A case study method is used in the village of Carahatas to analyze tensions in the period of recovery and adjustment after Hurricane Irma in 2017 as well as the catastrophe’s influence on sustainability.

To see the full article, click here.

 [+] Publication of results ADAPTO. Narratives in Colombia (July 2020)
We said, they said: Disconnected narratives in disaster risk reduction in Colombia.

Narratives of social change, aspirations and social status are increasingly masked in disaster risk explanations. Tensions are also concealed, including those regarding the winners and losers of interventions and the responsibilities for disaster risk reduction.

To read the full article click here.

 [+] Honorable Mention "Low-Cost House Design Competition" (July 2020)
The Team of ADAPTO-Cuba is awarded an Honorable Mention in the international "Low-Cost House Design Competition". Results announced on July 15, 2020 at

The event was organized by the International Architecture Competitions Platform and the ArchDaily portal. The objective was to promote alternative housing solutions made from affordable units with limited size and budget for the urgent demands of social housing. A challenging context was provided to incite solutions through architectural design and construction technology.

For more information, click here.

 [+] Publication of results ADAPTO. Coastal communities of Cuba (June 2020)
The language of risk and the risk of language: Social struggles in coastal communities in Cuba.

The results of this longitudinal case study reveal how citizens resist relocation and struggle for continuity in a marginalized context. Most residents fear relocation more than sea level rise and prefer to maintain their livelihoods and traditions. Local voices reflect particular attention to the risks of daily life.

To view the full article, click here.

 [+] Publication of results ADAPTO. Profile of Canaan, Haiti in Journal Cities (May 2020)
City profile: Canaan, Haiti - A new post disaster city.

Researchers of the Haiti case study published an article that reveals gaps between different perceptions of Canaan. Exposing the case of this new city sheds light on the impacts that disasters can have on the dynamics of urbanization. This profile invites readers to reflect on the positive and negative effects that the State, the Aid Industry and citizens can have on peri-urban development in the global South.

To see the full article, click here.

 [+] Disasters: Deconstructed Podcast - Spanish version - (March 2020)
An open dialogue (in Spanish) between Gonzalo Lizarralde, Holmes Páez and Claudia González about the relationships among neoliberalism, vulnerability, informality and disaster response in Latin America and the Caribbean.

To listen to the full podcast click here.

 [+] Researcher Andrés Olivera appointed Professor Emeritus at UCLV (March 2020)
This honor was awarded to Professor Olivera for "having distinguished himself by his exemplary dedication and the results obtained in academic activities in higher education, with historical ties to the Universidad Central de las Villas; being an example of the trainer of generations of students and professionals and maintaining an active position in defense of ethical principles and values".

Born in Havana, Professor Olivera graduated from the Universidad Tecnológica de la Habana "José Antonio Hecheverría" (CUJAE) in 1975. He went to work in Las Villas after refusing to teach in the capital and has been linked to teaching for almost 44 years. See the complete review here.

 [+] Message from IDRC to its grantees regarding COVID-19 (March 13th 2020)
"The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is closely monitoring the evolution and impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We are taking action to support not only our employees, but also our grant recipients who undertake the important work that IDRC supports around the world."

See the full announcement here.

 [+] Publications by Adriana López and Oswaldo López of Uni Valle in two books (March 2020)
The book "Sustainability and Environment in the representation of the project" has just been published in a digital format. Adapto reserachers Adriana López and Oswaldo López are included among the authors. To download the book in PDF formatclick here.

" Planeamiento urbano sostenible par la adaptación al cambio climático" by Oswaldo López is also available in digital format.

Download the complete book here.

 [+] Publication of Adriana López from Uni Valle in Natural Hazards Journal (February 2020)
This article analyzes an ongoing green infrastructure project in the city of Cali, Colombia. The article present the assessment methodology and identifies the main benefits and vulnerability reduction possibilities resulting from the intervention.

See the full article here.

 [+] Publication of results ADAPTO U Bío-Bío in Mexican journal (January 2020)
The students and professors of the Bío-Bío University published an article that addresses the local knowledge of women who cope with and adapt to climate disasters. The publication studied the production of local memory regarding the last major floods in the Nonguén Valley in Concepción (Chile).

See the full article (in Spanish) here.

 [+] ADAPTO participation in the COP25 Madrid Conference (December 2019)
Professors Lisa Bornstein (McGill University member of the Œuvre Durable Observatory) and Holmes Páez (Javeriana University, Colombia and member of the ADAPTO project) travelled to Madrid to participate in the 25th Climate Change Conference. These researchers contributed to the development of strategies during the “Capacity Building - Knowledge to Action” Panel and they also participated in debates about the commitment of universities to create global warming solutions. Watch the video of the conference here.

 [+] Funds for architecture workshop (November 2019)
The International Affairs Department of the University of Montreal awarded a mobility grant for the 15 Master of Architecture students in the "Ethics and Practices" workshop. This scholarship allows students to pay a part of the trip, scheduled for March 2020. The workshop will also include the participation of students from Chile, Colombia and Cuba.

 [+]Change Agents Training in Carahatas, Cuba (November 6-9 2019)
The researcher and social coordinator of Corporacion Antioquia Presente, Elsa Monsalve, directed the training for Change Agents in Carahatas, Cuba. See the activities carried out in this workshop here.

 [+] Seminar International University of Catalonia: UIC Barcelona (October 21-24 2019)
The International University of Catalonia invited Professor Lizarralde to give a workshop to the students of the Master of International Cooperation Sustainable Emergency Architecture. The workshop, entitled "UNNATURAL DISASTERS: Controversies in Low-Cost Housing and Post-Disaster Reconstruction", was attended by 15 master's students. Likewise, Professor Lizarralde presented a conference to more than 40 professors and students of the School of Architecture.

 [+] International Forum on Climate Change and Health Challenges (September 9-10 2019)
Roberto Burdiles of the University del Bío Bío (Chile), Marcela Ochoa of the Antioquia Presente Corporation (Medellín) and Andrés Olivera of the Central University "Marta Abreu" de Las Villas (Cuba) represented the ADAPTO project at the International Forum on Climate Change and Health Challenges, held at the University of Antioquia, Medellín on September 9 and 10.

Click here for more details

 [+] Disasters: Deconstructed Podcast (September 2019)
An open dialogue between Gonzalo Lizarralde, Jason Von Mending and Ksenia Chmutina about the relationships among neoliberalism, vulnerability, informality and disaster response in Latin America and the Caribbean.

To listen to the full podcast click here.

 [+] Professor Lizarralde receives a mention from the Ministry of Education of Cuba. 2019
The Ministry of Education of Cuba and the Central University Marta Abreu de las Villas have granted a special mention to Gonzalo Lizarralde, head of the Fayolle-Magil Construction Chair and Director of the Oeuvre Durable Observatory. The professor has received a tribute for his academic career and his contribution to the struggle for social justice in Cuba and Latin America. The mention was granted by the rector of the Marta Abreu University, in Santa Clara, Cuba, during the International Scientific Congress 2019, in which Prof. Lizarralde was the main speaker. For more information click here.  

 [+] Radial interview with our researcher Adriana López (June 2019)
Professor Adriana López from Universidad del Valle was interviewed for the radio program OUR OXYGEN - Actions against climate change. Listen to the full interview here.  

 [+] Training of Agents of Change in Yumbo, Colombia (April 2019)
The researcher and Social Coordinator of the Antioquia Presente Corporation, Elsa Monsalve, directed the training to the "Agents of Change" in the city of Yumbo, Colombia. See the activities carried out in this workshop here.  

 [+] Exhibition of projects carried out in the Workshop Cuba (April 2019)
On Monday, April 15, thirteen Master of Architecture students of the University of Montreal, presented the results of the "Ethics and practice(s) of architecture projects" workshop. Approximately a hundred guests attended the exhibition, which took place in the Faculty of Architecture. The students had the opportunity to work with architecture students from other Latin-American universities.

To see a video of the exposition click here.

 [+] Gonzalo Lizarralde at MIT (April 2019)
On April 4, the head of the Fayolle-Magil Construction Chair and Director of the Sustainable Work Observatory was invited to participate in a workshop organized by the DesignX group of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Gonzalo Lizarralde presented the challenges of innovation in informal neighborhoods of the Global South.

 [+] UBB has been distinguished for teaching excellence with Taller de Barrios (2019)
The academic group Taller de Barrios, (from the Faculty of Construction and Architecture Design of UBío-Bío), received the UBB 2018 award for Excellence in Teaching in the category: Training and development of team work. The award ceremony was held at the University on Thursday, April 11 in Concepción, as part of the institution's 72 anniversary celebration.

For more information click here.

 [+] Œuvre durable launches the 9th student competition of i-Rec Architecture
The Observatory launches the 9th International Student Contest that will be held in conjunction with the i-Rec Conference in Gainesville, USA in June 2019. The objective of the competition is to identify the appropriate solutions to reduce the vulnerabilities and risks related to disasters.

Click here for more information.

 [+] 3rd ADAPTO Workshop: Adaptation to Climate Change. Santa Clara, Cuba (March 2019)
The second workshop in the ADAPTO project, funded by IDRC, was held in Cali, Colombia in March 2018. The event was organized to share experiences in the implementation of micro-projects in informal settlements. The workshop brought together 45 researchers and students from the University of Montreal, McGill University (Canada), the Universities of Valle and Javeriana (Colombia), the University of Bio-Bio (Chile), the Central University of Cuba and the State University of Haiti. To see more details click here.

 [+] G. Lizarralde, jury of the Redevelopment Contest of the Andalien River Basin, Chile.
Professor Lizarralde was invited to participate as a jury in the selection of projects for the redevelopment of the Andalién river basin in Chile. The contest is organized by the government of Chile in association with several international organizations and Chilean universities. Its objective is to reduce the risks related to floods in the basin and in the city of Concepción.

 [+] Creation of the Territorial Observatory of Climate Change in the Biobío region
The initiative was signed by municipalities, universities (UBB) and private companies and aims to minimize the effects of climate change, mitigate risks and seek the social benefit and common good of the cities of the Biobío region. This initiative also involves the society and aims to have a transversal organization that evaluates climate change over time and monitors it permanently.

See the full report here.

 [+] Interview in Catalan newspaper to Gonzalo Lizarralde (February 2019)
The Catalan newspaper Societat interviewed Prof. Lizarralde about the most vulnerable areas affected by climate change See the full information here.

 [+] The UBB helps neighborhood residents of Nonguén (January 2019)
Architecture students at the Universidad del Bío-Bío (UBB) presented 90 projects at the closing ceremony for the neighborhoods workshops conducted with the Valle Nonguén community. These presentations were held within the framework of the ADAPTO Project. See the full information here and on the news portal of the UBB.

 [+] Training of Agents of Change in Concepción, Chile (January 2019)
The researcher and Social Coordinator of the Antioquia Presente Corporation, Elsa Monsalve, delivered training "Agents of Change" in the city of Concepción, Chile. See the activities carried out in this workshop here.

 [+] Thanks to Margarita Inés for being Present!! (November 2018)
One of the ADAPTO project’s researchers and Director of the Antioquia Presente Corporation, Margarita Inés Restrepo, will be stepping down as the Corporations Director after 24 years of leadership. During her tenure, she consolidated a successful national and international management model. Henry Horacion Chaves presents her outstanding journey in an article for El Mundo. Read the full article (in Spanish) here.

 [+] ADAPTO project members participate in the Œuvre Durable Seminar (Oct. 2018)
Two researchers and four students of the ADAPTO project were invited to participate in the Œuvre Durable Seminar that took place on October 12th at the University of Montreal. To see the full program click here.

 [+] Cuban and Haitian ADAPTO project members meet in Montréal (October 9-12 2018)
Professors Karine Bouchereau of the State University of Haiti and Andres Olivera of the Central University of Cuba, participated in a variety of activities for the ADAPTO project during October in Montreal. Here, the two project members are working on their case studies and planning the next project meeting in 2019.

 [+] Teaching Excellence Award in Internationalization of Programs (September 2018)
Architectural workshops in Haiti, Colombia, and Cuba earned Professor Gonzalo Lizarralde the 2018 Teaching Excellence Award in Internationalization of Programs. These workshops are held in collaboration with ADAPTO’s partner Universidad del Valle in Colombia, the UEH Haiti, and Universidad Central las Villas in Cuba.

 [+] Interview with Gonzalo Lizarralde in the CBC News (July 2018)
Our researcher Gonzalo Lizarralde was amongst experts interviewed to discuss why Canaan, a Haitian city without any government, finds itself at a crucial crossroads. To read and listen to the full interview click here.

 [+] Holmes Paéz presents at the TRIALOG Congress in Dortmund (June 2018)
On June 6, 2018, our researcher Holmes Paéz from the Javeriana University, presented a conference paper entitled: "Adaptation to Climate Change and Variability in Informal Settings: The Case of Salgar, Colombia" in the city of Dortmund, Germany. To see the abstract, click here.

 [+] 2nd ADAPT Workshop in the IDRC News (April 2018)
A brief report on the 2nd ADAPTO Project Workshop is available on the IDRC website. To read the English version click here. To read the French version click here.


 [+] 2nd ADAPTO Workshop: Adaptation to Climate Change. Cali, Colombia (March 2018)
The second workshop in the Adaptation to Climate Change in Informal Settlements - "ADAPTO” - project, funded by IDRC, was held during the week of March 6th to the 10th, 2018, in the city of Cali, Colombia. The event was organized to share experiences in the implementation of micro-projects in informal settlements. The workshop brought together 45 researchers and students from the University of Montreal, McGill University (Canada), the Universities of Valle and Javeriana (Colombia), the University of Bio-Bio (Chile), the Central University of Cuba and the State University of Haiti. To see more details click here.

 [+] Presentation of micro-project in Carahatas, Cuba (January 2018)
On December18th, 2017, the project "Adaptation to Climate Change in Informal Contexts" was presented to families in the coastal community of Carahatas, Cuba. On the same day, they implemented the first climate adaptation scenario related to the sea's impact on the city. Following this, they presented participatory design for future housing as part of the city's incremental relocation. To see more details click here.


 [+] Vertical community garden: the first micro-project in Concepción, Chile (January 2018)
The Vertical Community garden was chosen by the community during the 2016 Neighborhood Workshop. The workshop developed methods for cultivating vegetables and medicinal plants in an urban setting. The workshop was integrated into the Social Management Plan (SMP) titled "Our Seeds Are Life" as part of the "J’aime mon quartier Bellavista" program. These arboriculture workshops aim to promote good practices in the field of environmental and traditional agriculture, focussed towards adaptation to climate change. To see the full press release, click here.


 [+] Student project presentations in three neighborhoods, Concepción, Chile (January 2018)
110 students from architecture (90) and social work (20) from the University of Bío Bío have been working on neighborhood workshops in three districts of Concepcion: Méndez, Custodio and Nonguén. Their activities are the result of a collaboration between the community and the of "valorization of the outlying areas” program, and a part of a collaboration between the "J'aime mon quartier" project of the Housing and Urban Development Program of the Bio- bio (MINVU) and Bio-Bio University.

The students presented their projects to the residents of the three neighborhoods who, by voting, had to choose which ones would be the most beneficial for their territory. To see the complete project, click here.


 [+] ADAPTO announces the winner of the project logo contest (December 2017)
On 18 December, Prof. Adriana Lopez of the University of Valle received the first prize for the "Adaptation to climate change in informal context" logo contest on behalf of the LIUR (Urban Intervention Laboratory).

Juan Camilo Ruiz, the designer of the winning logo, is a student member of LIUR. The award was delivered by Professors Gonzalo Lizarralde and Danielle Labbé at the Oeuvre Durable seminar in Montreal, Canada.

 [+] Andrés Olivera received the 2017 National Habitat Award. Cuba (November 2017)
D. Arch. Andrés Olivera Ranero, professor at the central University "Marta Abreu" of Las Villas and current project director of international collaboration "Habitat 2", was awarded the 2017 National Habitat Award in the personality category, awarded by the National Habitat Committee of Cuba. The public ceremony was held on October 31, the same day as the "International Day of Cities". The award was delivered to our professor and researcher emeritus by Major General Samuel Rodiles Planas, President of the Institute of Physical Planning. To relive the event, click here.


 [+] Culture of planning: A research project in Carahatas, Cuba (September 2017)
The population of Carahatas in Cuba, a small coastal settlement whose economy depends mainly on fishing, must relocate, according to institutional planners. From this case study, the research aims to provide a basis for reflection and intervention given that the majority of the population is not ready to leave. The ways of diverging and converging between state, institutional and local actors will be analyzed. To see the complete work click here.

Research work carried out by Philippe-Daniel Deshaies-Rugama of the Master of Urbanism of the Faculty of Environmental Design (UMontreal) directed by Professor Danielle Labbé.

 [+] Corporación Antioquia Presente in Salgar (July 2017)
Hear testimonies of the beneficiaries in the project of psychosocial accompaniment carried out by the Corporation in Salgar, Antioquia after the 2015 landslides.


 [+] Adriana López wins the IDRC contest of Climate Leaders Award (July 2017)
Our researcher at the Universidad del Valle, was selected in the call made by the IDRC titled: Supporting Climate Change Leaders, 2017. Adriana will begin her project before ending this year in the town of Yumbo, Colombia


 [+] Participation in the Panel of Experiences of Reconstruction in Perú (June 2017)

The Embassy of Canada (Perú) and the CIES (Consorcio de Investigación Económica y Social) organized a conversation in Lima (Perú) about the experiences of reconstruction in different Latin American countries. Professor Lizarralde was invited to present some recommendations for the urban adaptation to the climatic changes in the Latin American cities.


 [+] Earthquake Preparedness and Response Workshop (May 2017)

At the workshop "Earthquake Preparedness and Response Workshop", Professor Lizarralde presented on "The invisible houses: Rethinking and designing housing solutions to mitigate disaster risks". Participants in the event included the American Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, IDRC, Mexican Red Cross, Palestine Red Crescent Society.

 [+] Gonzalo Lizarralde gives an interview to RCI radio of the IDRC Project (May 2017)

The Project Director and professor at the University of Montreal was interviewed by Pablo Gomez of the Radio Canada International (RCI). He says that with the research they have been doing, he has realized that many adaptation strategies to climate change - including adapting to the intense rains that have caused so much damage in Peru, Colombia and other countries in Latin America - are carried out by women, thus becoming agents of change.

To listen to the full interview, click here.

 [+] News about the IDRC Project in udemnouvelles (April 2017)

The project was reviewed by the news portal udemnouvelles from the University of Montréal. They highlight the importance of micro-projects implementation and the knowledge sharing between participants.