Five steps to improve your city’s resilience
How can we respond to the threats we are facing today?
We live in a world that the US military has dubbed VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
Unprecedented technological change is seeing us all become increasingly interconnected, and dependant on technology for every aspect of our professional and private lives. This is occurring against the backdrop of climate change, and amid the social stress of a population that is aging, growing and moving.
While it is hard to predict the social, economic and geopolitical impact of these stresses to our urban systems, BuroHappold has developed five principles of resilience that can help us respond to potential future challenges. These principles allow us to model and assess current states and develop future hypothetical scenarios, and then make risk based decisions to identify the strategies that are most likely to improve a city’s resilience in the long term.
Check out our five steps below, then try our resilience insights tool:
Understand the risks
Our urban environments are incredibly complex, but the more we understand them, the better our strategic decision making will be. When gathering information, BuroHappold undertakes a city fitness assessment, identifies areas of vulnerability and interdependencies, and maps key social and economic drivers such as age distribution and wealth inequality.
We then apply the concepts of resilience demand and resilience capacity to the knowledge we have gained to identify the areas of greatest concern. We assess any measures that are already in place, as well as modelling other scenarios to show where future need is greatest and action should be focused.
Engage and govern
The key to successfully improving a city’s resilience is through the people. We believe that resilience building should be viewed as a change programme that engages and brings together a wide set of stakeholders, whose needs can be expressed, assessed and incorporated within future strategies.
We know that strategies for solving issues should balance risk against cost to ensure they are both affordable and deliverable. Sustainability is vital, as any resilience solution must be able to stand the test of time. Strategies should also be coordinated and integrated within the fabric of the city, so that they can adapt and respond to a broad range of future scenarios including the unknown unknowns.
Resilience is not about producing a glossy strategy document, but effecting long-lasting change to assure the future of a city. We understand that implementing these strategies is the last and most important step, but also the most difficult to accomplish. The secret of success lies in good, open governance that demonstrates to stakeholders the value of the path taken by proving it will benefit everyone.
If you’d like to identify and assess your city’s risks, BuroHappold have created a free online tool. Just click through, scroll down and register.
Want to know even more?
Visit our Risk and Resilience specialism page.