Can a city become resilient?

This resource from Urbanet, written in 2017 by Dan Lewis, poses a series of key questions about the resilience of our towns and cities in the face of ongoing urban shocks and crises, that can be of interest to planners, policy-makers, or citizens. It focuses, especially, on two questions: resilience to what, and how to become resilient. It explains that a resilient urban system is persistent, adaptable, and inclusive.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 17 August 2021

This resource from Urbanet, written in 2017 by Dan Lewis, poses a series of key questions about the resilience of our towns and cities in the face of ongoing urban shocks and crises, that can be of interest to planners, policy-makers, or citizens. It focuses, specifically, on two questions: resilience to what, and how to become resilient. 

It presents a series of frameworks and guides that can be used to think about resilience, and work towards it, such as: the Framework for Community Safety and Resilience, the UN Habitat’s Urban Resilience Programme (URP), or the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

It explains how the UN Habitat recognises human settlements as ‘systems’, and as such they will have some common characteristics that will influence their resilience, for example, about their governance, where they are based, how they transform over time, etc. It also explores the UN Habitat’s definition of resilience and the fact that it refers to ‘all plausible hazards’, understanding it as a whole, rather than resilient to something in isolation.

The resource explains the qualities of a resilient place (persistent, adaptable, and inclusive), as well as what is needed to get there (integrated, reflexive, and transformative). The resource, therefore, might help to consider in the light of the Covid-19 crisis, how our towns and cities can be managed and created in more resilient ways to enable faster recovery from future potential crises they might face.