The Next Urban Future: Smarter and More Resilient Cities

The Rockefeller Foundation, the organizational pioneer behind the 100 Resilient Cities project, furthered its involvement in resiliency projects on the federal scale. Partnering up with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to launch the National Disaster Resilience Competition, a new urban paradigm focused upon resilience as the defining factor for urban development became the emblem of what the United Nations calls “New Urban Agenda.”

Resilience, unlike sustainability or livability, is a more direct response to the question of disaster prevention that aims to surmount the challenges of disasters and emergency. Resilience, representing a city’s ability to absorb stresses and shocks, demands that its municipalities maintain the same economic systems, structures, and systems as it had before the onslaught of a disaster or attack.


By integrating city resilience into the framework of urban design, resilience can transcend mere disaster preparedness. Countries like Korea, also developing vulnerability analysis in their implementation of disaster prevention goals, continue to lack long-term action and preparation as their disaster management focuses on the fixing a city in the imminent aftermath of a disaster as well as before rather than constructing a city with adaption and risk analysis, and long term resiliency in mind.


With a lack of policies focused on resilience, some nations can look to others in brainstorming and implementing resilient frameworks to their communities. UNISDR’s “Making Cities Resilient” Campaign utilized the inputs of local governments and organizations to exchange ideas and solutions across different sectors within and across countries towards building institutional capacity while providing and implementing the best practices applicable to their own unique community.

In constructing resilient cities, the new paradigm for planning brings its own set of challenges. A nation’s resiliency requires a different response that satisfies the demands of its community’s physical topography and cultural demographic. Resiliency can address virtually any problem that faces each individual city, exemplifying the effectiveness of a global solution that works because of its local adaptability.


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