The United Nations predicts 66 % of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, up from 54 percent in 2014.
For many cities, top of the list of challenges are protecting urban populations better from hazards like flooding, heat waves, hurricanes and earthquakes, improving housing and basic amenities, reducing crime and inequality, and expanding green transport.
In July nearly 500 urban resilience leaders from cities around the world gathered in New York City to look at ways to cope with the growing challenges.
Cities from London to Lagos, San Francisco to Seoul have signed up to the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) network. Organised by the Rockefeller Foundation, the network represents a $164 million effort in a bid to strengthen resilience as cities continue to swell.
As part of the network development programme, 100RC pays the salary of a chief resilience officer (CRO) for at least two years to prime the pump. The CRO is the focal point for the development of a resilience plan, drawing on the experience and expertise of the 100RC network. The Resilience Strategies are a roadmap for urban development and a call to action.
One of the problems that was created to solve is that solutions in cities aren’t scaling – in other words,
World cities are facing many of the same challenges but are starting from scratch in trying to solve them. By connecting resilience practitioners around the world who are facing similar challenges,100 Resilient Cities aims to spread knowledge and best practice.
Urban resilience, no longer just a buzzword, as cities realise they need to ramp up strategies to ensure the wellbeing of their booming populations in the face of growing threats. To accomplish this cities need to develop and implement new technologies, flexible financing, to tackle diverse issues such as climate change, transport and housing.
“We’re seeing cities increasingly playing a role because other levels of government aren’t responding fast enough,” said Robin King of the World Resources Institute’s Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.
In the United States, hundreds of cities have pledged to work with states and businesses towards achieving the Paris climate agreement goals, sidestepping President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the country out of the pact agreed by nearly 200 countries and aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
In Latin America – where over four-fifths of people live in urban areas – cities need to look ahead and nail down long-term plans and projects that can open the door to financing, said Manuel Olivera, Latin America regional director for C40, a network of cities working to address climate change.