by Lizzy Chan, 100 Resilient Cities: http://100resilientcities.rockefellerfoundation.org/blog/entry/eight-takeaways-from-eight-cities
Around the world, our first 32 cities are kicking off their 100
Resilient Cities Challenge engagements with workshops, and we’ve had
great conversations about the cities’ urban challenges and resilience
There’s a lot more information to come from each of these cities, but
eight overarching takeaways from some of our first workshops have stood
out so far:
1. People from all walks of life are interested in resilience building.
Byblos residents from all sectors and demographics attended their
city’s resilience workshop. Attendees ranged from Lebanese Army and Air
Force generals and members of the prime minister’s office to the city
harbormaster, heads of universities, and local entrepreneurs. Even an
elderly nun joined in the conversation!
2. Resilient cities turn tragedy into opportunity.
Three years out, post-earthquake Christchurch still presents a
block-by-block picture of the challenge of rebuilding a city. But the
city’s residents, from the mayor to young activists, have seized this
opportunity, and are demonstrating in real time the case for rebounding
better and evolving stronger.
3. People’s preconceived definition of resilience varies widely.
At the Glasgow workshop, most people came into the event thinking about
resilience primarily from a psychological resilience or a disaster
resilience vantage point. But true resilience - the ability to withstand
shocks and stresses and bounce back stronger - encompasses a wider variety
of areas, from environmental resilience to social resilience.
4. Many consider social resilience to be as important as physical resilience.
Prone to floods, wildfires, and drought, Boulder is no stranger to the
risks that nature poses. But workshop participants expressed concern
about the resilience of the city’s residents, particularly the elderly,
or those without access to affordable housing.
5. Community leaders have already started thinking beyond major shocks.
Melbourne’s mayor shared his concerns about the stress of population
growth and everything that radiates from it, from natural resources to
civic cohesion. In Medellin, civic leaders have focused much of their
resilience efforts on reducing violence. We’ve heard these social
resilience concerns voiced in all of our city workshops.
6. Cross-city collaboration is key. The deputy city
manager of nearby El Paso joined in on Mexico City’s resilience
workshop - emphasizing the need and opportunity to collaborate among the
100 Resilient Cities network, and to learn from those who face similar
7. A city’s resilience work is never done. Rotterdam
has done a lot of work to build its resilience over the past few years,
creating a climate action plan and implementing it via the public and
private sectors. But residents didn’t rest on their laurels; they used
the resilience workshop to identify areas to improve resilience further,
specifically around immigration and the city’s port. Similarly, Vejle
faces less severe physical threats - facing only occasional flooding - and
so focused their workshop on economic resilience and social resilience.
8. Many resilience measures are not capital intensive.
Rome has many physical challenges - heat waves, floods, ancient
infrastructure. Addressing these challenges will not doubt require
significant resources, but almost all participants in our workshop
mentioned an important resilience building step that could cost
virtually nothings: improving communications between various silos of
city government, and across sectors of society, including the private
sector, NGOs, and civic society. Workshop participants said that this
could vastly cut down on duplication of efforts, build a more integrated
society, and help the city respond in the event of a serious shock.