25/10/2011Natural disasters have recently had devastating effects on cities and urbanised areas like New Orleans, Haiti and even the Vendée region in France. These human tragedies have also highlighted the economic aspects of territorial development. Disasters should be seen as an opportunity and it is the responsibility of the local authorities that this is the case. However, they need to be helped to see issues of territorial development in a broader and more sustainable light. Though cities become more complex as they become bigger, if they are well planned, they can be made safer and, in the long term, less expensive to maintain. The principles of sustainable development can reduce the main vulnerability of all territories: decisions made by the public authorities.