The Resurgence of Urban Resilience

Urban Resilience

Urban Resilience is fashionable. Multilateral organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, the World Bank or the European Community have firmly bet on Urban Resilience. They are promoting it and supporting it to implement this approach in cities all around the world. But, why this resilient fever? And why now, and not a century or three centuries ago? Is Urban Resilience a new concept coming from deep thoughts from the 21st Century brilliant minds?

The foreseen population growth in urban areas, the climate change, the recurrent economic crises and new technologies may have increased the interest in Urban Resilience. However, it is undoubtedly that Urban Resilience is not a new concept. In fact, it has always existed, from the first human settlement to the present time. The defensive walls built to protect cities during centuries or the drainage and sewage systems designed by the Minoan civilization are clear examples of resilient actions, since infrastructures are planned and constructed to reduce the effects of concrete impacts on the population. Urban Resilience has not appeared suddenly from nothing, but we have conceptualized it, which is not less important.

Ferran Adrià, considered one of the most imaginative generators of haute cuisine on the planet and one of the world’s greatest chefs, has explained us the meaning of conceptualization: “The Romans wore their togas above their knees, but it took Mary Quant to reconceptualize that fashion as the mini-skirt.” The same happens with Urban Resilience: it has always existed and has been actively implemented, but now it has been conceptualized. This means that we have given to Urban Resilience a specific meaning and we have created a collective consciousness regarding Urban Resilience.

Once the goals and the limits of Urban Resilience are known, new assessment and management methodologies are being developed in order to implement Urban Resilience. Here below you can see a comparison table showing some of the main methodologies on urban resilience assessment proposed until now based on a report published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

By Ignasi Fontanals Co-Founder -


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