Resiliency is a concept that should be top of mind for city planners, city councils, residents and businesses alike. There are so many factors affecting how cities function that methods of development, emergency preparedness, and maintaining status quo are no longer acceptable options for keeping cities functioning. At the Green Building Festival in Toronto in September, Antonio Gomez-Palacio spoke about developing a framework for city resiliency. I spoke with him after the conference to find out more.
Contrary to what most people imagine as a resilient community, resiliency isn’t only about our ability to adapt to the weather effects of climate change. In fact, what constitutes “failure” needs to be redefined. While we might think of an overflowing river that washes over a downtown area of a city as a failure of the barricades to do their job, Antonio points out, however, that it is our recovery to the event that is more important than the event happening itself. A resilient community accepts that events to which it is vulnerable will happen; but how quickly the community recovers is the sign of success. For example, a household can survive downtime for one to three days, but a hospital can survive for less than two minutes.
A resilient city is one that can adapt to the multiple factors affecting it. However, these factors range from being sudden such as in being hit with a hurricane resulting flood and wind damage to slower, less noticeable changes, such as changing demographics – ageing populations, youth leaving, etc. » Read more: 5 Essential Factors for Creating a Framework for Municipal Resiliency