Resilience represents a city’s ability to adapt to ever-changing environments and circumstances and is undoubtably a hot topic.
Usually framed within the context of global climate change and how cities will withstand natural disasters, the conversation around resiliency needs to be about more than just preparing for survival.
There is a need for cities and organisations to actively invest in and implement resilience plans to ensure that we are equipped to deal with the future.
Today, over half of the global population is urban – accounting for around 80 per cent of global GDP. With such a high concentration of people and wealth, the potential impacts of major shocks and stressors resulting from all-hazard events is enormous.
Key challenges exist for city officials, business leaders, investors, transportation and utilities operations and other asset owners to ensure that we, as an urban society are better equipped and can deal with these shocks and stresses specifically in the face of increasing urbanisation.
Undeniably, a significant investment has been made in aiding cities and societies to deal with the immediate risks and aftermath of major local or global events.
However, this strategy of implementing traditional risk management procedures, which has largely been adopted in order to deal with only the degree of risk may not alone improve the quality of life within our urban areas.
What we need is a holistic framework where resilience planning goes beyond a discussion of probabilities and provides the opportunity to add value such as through community engagement, while also reducing risks.
Additionally, while it is acknowledged that there are deep uncertainties in predicting climatic events, with the right data, such as understanding the performance of green infrastructure which is a major contributor to resilience across cities worldwide, we can understand how a city’s adaptation efforts are improving the quality of life in areas.
“The reality of our current situation is that appropriate tools and resources are often required by governments and organisations to effectively prepare our cities for the all possible outcomes,” SensCity chief executive Joe Glesta said.
“Our cities are not prepared for a future of uncertainty in a climate change impacted world. Resilience, in the form of green and blue infrastructure, offers a means to prepare and reduce this uncertainty and is already being widely used across the world.
“But embedding resilience through these infrastructural upgrades, requires a sensible approach, one that takes measurement and data, so we can measure and manage impacts more effectively.
“This means we need an approach to collect contextualise, analyse and visualise data that is decision useful for climate resilience. Data that allows those who plan, build or design a city to have the right data, to make the right decisions for a resilient future.”
Resilience can help governments, cities and organisations reduce losses, and realise significant additional benefits by embracing resilience early.
In sharing our global practices and lessons learned we can contribute to making future urban living more resilient for generations to come.