City Resilience Framework

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What is city resilience? It is the capacity of a city to function, so that citizens survive and thrive no matter what stresses or shocks they encounter. This framework, supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and developed by Arup's International Development team gives cities a tool to understand their resilience; to shape urban planning, practice and investment.

Key features

The wellbeing of the world's vast global population relies daily on a web of institutions, infrastructure and information. Uncertainty and pressure – caused by food, water and energy security, climate change, disease, economic fluctuation, urbanisation and social unrest - all pose challenges to urban living.

The ability of cities and communities to deal with associated shocks and stresses is also known as resilience.

The City Resilience Framework establishes:

  • An accessible, evidence-based definition of resilience
  • Four aspects of resilience (health and wellbeing, economy and society, leadership and strategy, systems and services)
  • Twelve indicators by which resilience can be understood

Our research brings together evidence and knowledge from over 150 sources of literature, 14 city case studies and fieldwork in six cities. The fieldwork drew on the input of those in government, businesses and civil society groups in Semarang (Indonesia), New Orleans (USA), Concepción (Chile), Surat (India), Cali (Colombia) and Cape Town (South Africa). This process is documented in three research reports:

We will further refine the framework over coming months, by gathering input from specialists on particular topics and pilot programmes in several cities. The framework will be further developed to create the City Resilience Index, which will introduce the variables through which city-scale resilience can be accurately measured.

Our hope is that the framework and index will facilitate global efforts to create safer and more resilient cities.

Please feedback your thoughts or direct any questions to international-development@arup.com.

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