Cities’ strategic role as global stewards of peace, prosperity, and environmental preservation demands a better understanding of the multiple risks they face at individual, household, community and societal levels. These range from natural hazard exposure, to chronic stresses such as unemployment, to repeated shocks such as food price fluctuation and inflation. Diagnostics that provide a holistic view of a city’s risk landscape can encourage resilience-building strategies that are inclusive of all layers of society and have the potential to deliver multiple co-benefits. For instance, ecosystem based adaptation to climate change may also help cities to address other non-climatic challenges associated with urbanization, such as land use change and the growth of informal settlements. Likewise, tools that look beyond specific hazards, and include parameters for defining resilience across multiple dimensions and scales, can reveal previously ‘unknown’ risks, as well as highlight the cascading consequences a single shock can have both within and beyond a city’s borders.
A number of tools now exist to help cities build their capacities to respond to the mix of challenges they face. However, to date, there is no single comprehensive platform available to ‘match’ cities with the tools that are most appropriate to their conditions.
The purpose of this platform is to help local governments and other municipal professionals understand the primary utility of the vast array of tools and diagnostics designed to assess, measure, monitor, and improve city-level resilience. For example, some tools are intended as rapid assessments to establish a general understanding and baseline of a city’s resilience and can be self-deployed, while others are more action-oriented and demand more sophisticated institutional, technical and financial capacities to implement, while others are intended as a means to identify and prioritize areas for investment. The platform aims to offer a comprehensive overview of how different tools compare to enable cities to select the most appropriate solution for their needs.
By no means an exhaustive catalogue of the many resilience tools available, going forward this platform will expand the breadth of tools and diagnostics featured, as well as refine the parameters of each to bring greater clarity and utility to end users. This site will also be regularly updated to include further examples of how cities across the world are building their resilience by applying the tools and diagnostics featured here. An expanded library of resources, publications, news, and a glossary of resilience terminology will complement the practical case studies, and eventually enable cities to participate in a global community of best practice.
The ultimate ambition for this site is to serve as an interactive, global hub for knowledge exchange, providing local governments, city planners, and others with a platform to share their experiences, and generate new ideas and solutions to more effectively design, manage and plan for resilience.
The concept for this platform was conceived by the Medellín Collaboration on Urban Resilience (MCUR). Launched during the World Urban Forum in Medellín, Colombia in April 2014, MCUR member organizations include: C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group; Cities Alliance; the Global Facility Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR); ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability; the Inter-American Development Bank; UN-Habitat; the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR); the Rockefeller Foundation; 100 Resilient Cities –Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, and; the World Bank Group.
Collectively, these organizations work in over 2,000 cities and commit more than $2 billion annually towards advancing resilient urban development. Our individual commitments and this collaboration are grounded in the pursuit of empowering cities to better understand themselves and the inter-connected nature of the urban system. The MCUR’s overarching goal is to facilitate the flow of knowledge and financial resources necessary to help cities become more resilient to disruptions related to climate change, disasters caused by natural hazards, and other systemic shocks and stresses, including the socio-economic challenges associated with rapid urbanization.
This platfom was made possible through a grant from the Cities Alliance, which recently became a partner of the MCUR. In December 2015, the Cities Alliance launched a Joint Work Programme on Resilient Cities which now has 15 members, 5 members and 2 knowledge partners. Running through 2017, the programme comes at a critical juncture as nations prepare for the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda.