“Not every disruption has to become a disaster. By building resilience, cities can shift the paradigm from one of disaster response and relief to one of prevention and returns.” – Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation
Last month, The Rockefeller Foundation organized The Urban Resilience Summit to bring together leading figures from governments, businesses, and resilience experts to engage in dialogue on how to build robust and resilient cities. The one-day event highlighted the importance of building urban resilience – the capacity of cities, including individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems, to survive, adapt and thrive in the face of stress and shocks.
Below are some of the key takeaways from the executive summary report prepared by our lead partner, the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Resilience is complex: The stresses and shocks cities face manifest in different ways, and the concept of resilience is an evolving and moving target. How these population centers will fare over the long run will depend on the joint efforts of governments, businesses and civil society. With such complexity, however, comes the risks of paralysis in search for comprehensive solutions.
The time is now: Regardless of the nature of the threat – whether it is urgent or remote from spatial and temporal perspectives – the fact of the matter is that there is an urgent need to build resilience now. Urbanization is rendering increasingly more people vulnerable to shocks as populations concentrate in geographically smaller areas. Crisis is the new normal.
Public-private cooperation: The age-old question of the role the public and private sectors play are as relevant to resilience strategies as they are to the provision of other public goods. The scarcity of public resources and expertise necessitate the participant of firms and civil society. At the same time, governments is needed to create an enabling environment for resilience initiatives to grow.
Asia is particularly at risk: Many of the region’s major cities remain under-developed and under-insured. Congested infrastructure, inadequate public services and insufficient jobs are creating social divides. Asian cities located along coastlines, under typhoon belts and on top of earthquake-prone fault lines face the added pressures associated with climate change and natural disaster.
“Resilience has become an important topic and very much a top priority for the mayors and local governments that we work with,” said Sameh Naguib Wahba, Practice Manager, Global Urban and Disaster Risk Management Unit, World Bank. “Only when cities adopt a holistic and integrated approach can they really and truly achieve resilience.”
In an increasingly fast-changing and interconnected world, fostering resilience to withstand unexpected shocks is becoming more important. Bringing together leading figures from governments, businesses, and resilience experts, The Urban Resilience Summit served as a platform for dialogue on how to build robust and resilient cities.
Download the Summary