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Urban resilience: A 12 Global Cities Analysis

Copyright © 1976-2016 BuroHappold Engineering. All Rights Reserved
<em>Copyright © 1976 2016 BuroHappold Engineering All Rights Reserved<em>

Over half of the world’s population is living in cities at the moment and the numbers are expected to grow by an extra 2 billion people by 2050.

The impacts of climate change, high resource demands, aging demographics, the growth of the middle class, the increase in obesity and diabetes, and other challenges, are all adding pressure onto our city systems and could cause some cities to fail with significant harm to their populations and world stability.

If population growth is to be sustained and our cities are to continue to be the vibrant and progressive communities within which people want to live, we need to greatly improve their sustainability whilst at the same time developing strategies to meet the challenges they face. Action will only take place if the problems can be identified, measured, understood and the cost/benefit case for taking action made.

All parts of a city are dependent on one another and any shock to a city, even if it only directly impact one aspect, will have ripple effects throughout. It is for this reason that resilience needs to be viewed holistically, breaking down silos and understanding interdependencies.

BuroHappold were joint winners of last year’s Royal Charter International Research Award presented by the BRE Trust and Worshipful Company of Constructors. Their research focused on developing a resilience framework (Resilience Insight) and applying this approach to twelve cities around the world. The 12 global cities considered as case studies are Bristol, Detroit, Dhaka, Glasgow, Hong Kong, London, Manchester, Miami, Mumbai, New York, Riyadh and Sao Paulo.

The ambition behind developing the BuroHappold Resilience Diagnostic was to enable cities to create holistic resilience strategies that are capable of taking into account the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of city systems. Its aim was always to enable city leaders to see the interdependencies that exist within their city and allow greater understanding by measuring resilience. The tool provides a baseline from which progress can be measured and actions and their impact can be assessed. From this initial baseline assessment, key risks and issues can be identified and prioritised.

The full report is available here.

The summary report is available here.