Opinion: Urban resilience efforts must consider social and political forces

Journal Article
  • Published 10/01/17

Environmental disasters, ranging from catastrophic floods to extreme temperatures, have caused more than 30,000 deaths per year and more than US$ 250–300 billion a year in economic losses, globally, between 1995 and 2015 (1). Improved infrastructure and planning for extreme events is essential in urban areas, where an increasingly greater fraction of the world’s inhabitants reside. In response, international governmental and private initiatives have placed the goal of resilience at the center stage of urban planning. [For example, The 100 Resilient Cities Initiative (www.100resilientcities.org/); the Global Covenant of Mayors (https://www.compactofmayors.org/globalcovenantofmayors/); and the recent UN Habitat III (https://habitat3.org/the-new-urban-agenda)]. In addition, scientific and policy communities alike now recognize the need for “safe-to-fail” infrastructural design, and the potential role of green and blue infrastructure in mediating hydrological and climatic risks in cities (2).