We live in a world of increasing dynamism and volatility, where technology and greater interconnectedness have accelerated change and altered the way people live.

Resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities and systems to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of stress and shocks, and even transform when conditions require it.


Building resilience is about making people, communities and systems better prepared to withstand catastrophic events – both natural and manmade – and able to bounce back more quickly and emerge stronger from these shocks and stresses.

Humans are not born with resilience – we learn it, adapt it, and improve upon it. The same is true for organizations, systems and societies.

There are some core characteristics that all resilient systems share and demonstrate, both in good times and in times of stress:

  1. Spare capacity, which ensures that there is a back-up or alternative available when a vital component of a system fails.
  2. Flexibility, the ability to change, evolve, and adapt in the face of disaster.
  3. Limited or “safe” failure, which prevents failures from rippling across systems.
  4. Rapid rebound, the capacity to re-establish function and avoid long-term disruptions.
  5. Constant learning, with robust feedback loops that sense and allow new solutions as conditions change.

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100 Resilient Cities
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To celebrate our 100th birthday, we are excited to launch 100 Resilient Cities — a $100 million effort to build urban resilience around the world. Learn more