The Canadian Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Reconstruction Research Alliance (Œuvre Durable for its acronym in French) and i-Rec (Information and Research for Reconstruction) organize a series of on-line debates (and competitions) in order to challenge different viewpoints and examine common controversies in the disasters, housing, urban development, and post-disaster reconstruction fields.
Our objectives are:
To provide a platform for engaged knowledge sharing among people;
To promote exchanges and collaboration between academics, practitioners, and students worldwide;
To establish a space for open dialogue to deconstruct and reconstruct meanings, concepts, and frameworks that can help reduce disasters worldwide;
To collect evidence and knowledge that can contribute to the construction of better ideas to deal with disasters, climate change, and other challenges.
Why a debate and a question with a “yes or no” answer? Isn’t it too difficult to explore complex reality through such as basic question? Isn’t a “yes or no” question a way of over-simplifying reality?
Yes and no, we would say (half joking). The objective of our online debates is not to radicalize ideas or oversimplify reality. Quite the opposite! We seek to develop more nuanced, sophisticated and elaborated arguments regarding common dilemmas and controversies. We believe that dialogue is crucial to deconstruct and reconstruct frameworks and ideas in the disasters field. The “yes or no” question is simply a starting point (a tool), not an end in itself. In fact, our experience with live and online debates shows that starting with a slightly radical question is highly useful: it captures the essence of the problem, it attracts comments and interest, and it demystifies common practices. More importantly, a “yes or no” question helps us distil the essence of a problem, and permits to create a basic canvas to later establishing a more interesting dialogue among experts.
The reality is that, yes, panellists and participants start with a very basic question, but they quickly re-construct ideas and find better concepts and answers throughout the debate. Sometimes, they also find each other on the way and bring with them other people in the audience, reaching more appropriate arguments and bridging theory and practice.
We hope that you, as a student, professor, decision-maker or practitioner will participate in this exciting activity.