What does it take to make cities resilient? In a thoughtful talk to the RSA Dr Judith Rodin, current president of the philanthropic Rockerfeller Foundation, summarised some of the findings of the foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities project.
In a nutshell she argues that cities can’t plan effectively based on past events – which is what they have a tendency to do.
Instead, she argues, they should build resilience focussed on their key risks (maybe earthquakes, or flooding for example). But they should do this in a generalised way which makes them more resilient to a wide variety of different possible events.
The example she used was Boston which put in place a number of key policies (Governor in charge of communication, FBI taking the lead etc) which then served them extremely well when the bombing of the Boston Marathon occurred. This particular event couldn’t have been predicted, but because of the city’s general level of preparedness much loss of life was avoided.
The keys to resilience, she says, are: awareness of the risks, diversity in social and economic spheres, integration and cooperation , self regulation and adaptability.