Abu Dhabi named the most ‘resilient’ city in the Middle East

Abu Dhabi has been named the most resilient city in the Middle East in terms of city wealth (GDP), personal wealth (households with an income greater than $70,000), and demographics, according to research by Savills.

Abu Dhabi was ranked above Dubai, Riyadh, Kuwait City and Jeddah in the regional list.
Abu Dhabi was ranked above Dubai, Riyadh, Kuwait City and Jeddah in the regional list.

The UAE capital featured highest in the Savills Resilient Cities Index, launched as part of research which examines which cities will be able to withstand or embrace the technological, demographic, and leadership disruption facing global real estate today and in 10 years’ time.

It showed that investors looking for long-term returns should look to Middle East, Indian and second tier Chinese cities as the markets that are likely to grow in the face of global disruption in the coming decades, but today remain relatively untapped.

Read entire post Abu Dhabi named the most ‘resilient’ city in the Middle East | Sam Brigde | Arabian Business

Detroit’s urban beekeepers are transforming the city’s vacant lots

Detroit natives Timothy Paule and Nicole Lindsey witnessed first-hand the negative effects the housing crisis had on their city. With roughly 90,000 vacant lots, neighborhoods have been destabilized and communities abandoned with little action being taken, in their view, to fix the root of the problem.

When Paule became sick one recent winter and developed a really bad cough that neither medicine, home remedies or a trip to the doctor could cure, he visited a local store where the owner introduced him to the benefits of raw honey. He explained to Paule that his supply came from a beekeeper. That led to an aha moment for Nicole Lindsey.

Read entire post Detroit’s urban beekeepers are transforming the city’s vacant lots | National Geographic

How Washington DC boosts resilience through data

When Harrison Newton was running the branch of the Washington, D.C., Department of Energy and Environment that deals with indoor environmental health, he would sometimes get frustrated. His team would often become aware of problems like children becoming sick with asthma due to where they were living. But the power to do something about those problems frequently resided elsewhere within the city’s bureaucracy.

How Washington DC boosts resilience through data 1
The federal city was selected in 2016 by the Rockefeller Foundation to become part of its global network of 100 resilient cities around the world. Through its 100 Resilient Cities program, the foundation provides technical and financial support to the cities to develop and implement resilience strategies.

“The more connectivity between different parts of the city government there is around policy goals, the better the outcome for residents.”

“We, within the Department of Energy and Environment, were not the agency with the authorities to repair those conditions,” says Newton, D.C.’s deputy chief resiliency officer. “That could potentially rely on grants or programs from the Department of Housing and Community Development. It relied potentially on enforcement action by regulatory agencies.”

That need for cross-departmental action and coordination taught him a powerful lesson, Newton says: “The more connectivity between different parts of the city government there is around policy goals, the better the outcome for residents.”

Read entire post How Washington, D.C., Boosts Resilience Through Data | Shaun Waterman | StateTech

Calgary and Vancouver release resilience strategies

The cities of Vancouver and Calgary, both members of the 100 Resilient Cities initiative, have launched independent resilience strategies.

On the West Coast, Resilient Vancouver is a multi-year strategy that includes a set of 12 strategic objectives and 40 actions that represent tangible steps Vancouver can take to address gaps in its knowledge, and promote different ways of thinking and working with community, to reduce risk and foster positive outcomes . It focuses on three priority areas:

  1. Thriving and prepared neighbourhoods
  2. Proactive and collaborative city government
  3. Safe, adaptive buildings and infrastructure
Read entire post Calgary and Vancouver release Resilience Strategies | Canada Consulting Engineer

The term “resilience” is everywhere — but what does it really mean?

The term “resilience” is everywhere. And everywhere, it seems, it means something a little different.

Resilience: An ability to recover from or adjust easily from misfortune or change

Resilience has been used to describe people and systems that bounce back from negative experiences and disturbances. It has also been used to refer to systems that survive being jostled around — whether or not they go back to where they were before, or to any stable state, for that matter.

While some have argued resilience is an empty concept, the widespread use of the idea of resilience across disciplines, sectors and professions suggests it is a necessary concept. Resilience is related to change. And given the rapid change happening in the environment, technology and society, such extensive use of the term reflects this need.

Read entire article The term “resilience” is everywhere — but what does it really mean? | Kate Knuth | Ensia

Washington introduces ‘resiliency’ plan to protect against 21st-century threats

The initiatives are part of the city’s “Resilient D.C.” strategy, a 160-page plan that is the culmination of the city’s two-year planning process.

The D.C. plan sets four goals: leveraging technology, fostering inclusive growth, mitigating the effects of climate change and improving public health.

Kevin Bush, who serves as D.C.’s chief resilience officer through a Rockefeller Foundation grant, told StateScoop that he designed the technology component of the resilience strategy — which includes 16 of the document’s 68 total goals — to enable the city to leverage, rather than “just respond to” technological advancements.

Read entire post Washington introduces ‘resiliency’ plan to protect against 21st-century threats | Ryan Johnston | StateScoop

Surviving the Storm – Life Below Zero

Life Below Zero follows six people as they battle for the most basic necessities in the state with the lowest population density in the United States. Living at the ends of the world’s loneliest roads and subsisting off the rugged Alaskan bush, they battle whiteout snow storms, man-eating carnivores, questionable frozen terrain, and limited resources through a long and bitter winter.

Some of them are lone wolves; others have their families beside them. All must overcome despairing odds to brave the wild and survive through to the spring. And when spring arrives in Alaska, rising temperatures bring mounting challenges as they work to prepare for yet another winter.

Urban resilience: Why should we pay more attention?

Think cities — how they form, prosper, interconnect, and yield exponential gains on all fronts. There are numerous reasons why cities are created — colonial ambitions; sea-connectivity; part of ancient routes of trades, including slavery; centre for learning; economic growth; sites of administrative and cultural centres; and religious importance. Thus, there are reasons galore why cities are formed but very few on why they disappear at the drop of a hat.

However, climatic events can cause catastrophe to cities that can render them grounded in minutes

Change in the structure of national and local economy, poor infrastructure, rising pollution levels and lack of physical safety leads to decline of cities at a glacial pace. However, climatic events can cause catastrophe to cities that can render them grounded in minutes. The floods of Mumbai and Chennai, Nepal Earthquake, Uttarakhand floods are few such instances where our cities, many hundreds of years old, became paralysed and inhospitable. Cities are at real risks.

By one estimate, every year, around 46 million people in cities are at risk from flooding from storm surges in the East Asia region alone. Many coastal cities, particularly in Asia, are staring at the risk of submersion due to rising sea levels. More than 1,000 people died and 45 million people suffered losses in terms of loss of livelihood, homes, and services in 2017 when severe floods hit south-east Asian cities, including Dhaka, Mumbai and Chennai

Read entire post Urban resilience: Why should we pay more attention? | DEVASHISH DHAR | OrfOnline

Rockefeller’s climate resilience program said to be in jeopardy

The Rockefeller Foundation intends to disband its 100 Resilient Cities initiative, the largest privately funded climate-adaptation program in the U.S., according to people familiar with the foundation’s plans who asked to be anonymous because they weren’t authorized to discuss the move.

The program was started by Rockefeller in 2013 to help U.S. cities — including Boston, Miami, New York and Los Angeles — as well as cities overseas prepare for threats related to climate change. Rockefeller pis said to plans to close the organization’s offices and dismiss its staff of almost 100 as soon as this summer.

The Rockefeller Foundation didn’t respond to requests for comment. Neither did 100 Resilient Cities, which operates as a separate entity.

Read entire post Rockefeller’s climate resilience program said to be in jeopardy | Christopher Flavelle | Bloomberg

Preparedness and the Myth of Knowledge

Have you ever met someone who’s never ridden a bike, heard a song on the radio, received a piece of mail, pet a cat, eaten an apple, caught a cold or seen an ice cube? That’s because you’ve never been to North Sentinel Island, nor should you ever go.

A missionary recently learned, as many others had before him, that visitors here are greeted with spear tips. As one of the most isolated people in the world, the Sentinelese have honed an unyielding reflex for self-preservation, which is buttressed by the Indian government’s effort to benevolently quarantine the tiny island from the invasive cultures and diseases that traditionally drive traditional cultures to extinction.

On one of humanity’s darkest days, this endangered tribe emerged unscathed

But there are forces against which Sentinelese spears and Indian ships offer no protection. On December 26th, 2004 at 7:58am, a 9.1M earthquake off the coast of Banda Aceh, Indonesia triggered a tsunami that took 230,000 lives in countries throughout the Indian Ocean. The first massive wave would have struck North Sentinel Island at approximately 8:33am.

As a fishing population numbering in the dozens on an island that peeks at 400 feet, the Sentinelese’ survival seemed impossible in a disaster where casualties were rounded to the nearest thousand. Yet, on one of humanity’s darkest days, this endangered tribe emerged unscathed, and with vigor enough to fire arrows at the Indian helicopter sent to check on them. The Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa and Shompen tribes similarly thrived where “civilizations” buckled.

“The Knowledge Myth: If we have knowledge, we will act in our best interests based on that knowledge. Therefore, the distribution of knowledge will save us.”

As one of the few feel good stories to emerge from the Boxing Day tragedy, the triumph of these tribes over nature’s wrath made headlines: “Traditional knowledge saved ancient tribes from tsunami.” Headlines like that, which we typically swallow without hesitation, reflect what I call the Knowledge Myth. The Knowledge Myth goes something like this: If we have knowledge, we will act in our best interests based on that knowledge. Therefore, the distribution of knowledge will save us. 

What saved the Sentinelese? “Knowledge did”, said the Knowledge Myth, as we nodded in agreement, missing half the story.

The Knowledge Myth

The Knowledge Myth is pervasive in the arena of public safety. Let’s take it for a test drive to see how it holds up. The first Model T was manufactured in 1908, the summer of which saw 30 auto fatalities in Detroit alone. I’d argue that we had a working knowledge of auto hazards almost from day one. Even so, seatbelts only became standard in 1958, and only in 1998 did the actual usage of seatbelts by people like you and me become practice among 70% of Americans, heralding a precipitous and overdue drop in needless fatalities. Knowledge Myth: busted. Why did it take 90 years to address an undisputed and universally acknowledged risk?

I’m guessing you said stupidity. They were stupid and I am not stupid, therefor past mistakes do not apply to me. The Stupidity Myth is a convenient culprit when the Knowledge Myth fails. I get that the Stupidity Myth is comforting. I hear it often and call upon it myself when I’m feeling pissy and disappointed in our collective failings. But it’s a BS answer. Stupidity is not what kept us from buckling our seatbelts in the 70s and knowledge is not what saved the Sentinelese in 2004. Culture is the answer in both cases. And culture, simply put, is the product of what we expect of one another. I concern myself with one type of culture in particular: preparedness culture.

As FEMA has confessed, you can shower the public with resources, slogans and warnings over two decades without yielding results.

One year ago, I spoke to a packed auditorium in Portland, Oregon, where I provided a well-resourced and educated audience a vivid and irrefutable picture of the massive earthquake that will one day befall the Pacific Northwest. When asked if we should individually prepare for the event of a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, 3,000 hands shot up. When asked if they expected one another to prepare for this same earthquake, four hands timidly rose. When there’s incongruity between individual commonsense and actual societal behavior, culture is the most likely culprit. History has proven countless times that culture determines which ideas, knowledge and practices are discarded and which become our salvation.

As FEMA has confessed, you can shower the public with resources, slogans and warnings over two decades without yielding results. If the soil isn’t there, the seeds won’t grow.

What can we learn from the Sentinelese – an isolated, spear-wielding, pre-industrial tribe whose way of life is utterly divorced from our own experience?

1.      The messenger of knowledge is at least as important as the knowledge itself:
Everything the Sentinelese knew about tsunamis they learned from someone they knew and trusted, a community member with a shared experience. Like the Sentinelese, you are influenced most by those whom you know, love and trust, and you have the most influence over those who know, love and trust you.

2.      Culture isn’t found in what we know, it’s found in what we expect of one another:
The Sentinelese clearly expected one another to run for high ground when they saw signs of the tsunami’s approach. I doubt they were mocking anyone’s paranoia. This is particularly remarkable as none of them would have personally witnessed those signs before 8:30am on that fateful day.

3.      Culture is a survival mechanism:
“Preparedness” is too small a word for the Sentinelese – they are living in a state of adaptation, like gills to a fish. Their adherence to their culture and its transmission from generation to generation – even through the generations that never saw a tsunami – has allowed them to continuously inhabit this remote corner of the world for 70,000 years.

Many of us are waiting for a disaster event that we have never personally experienced

Like the Sentinelese before the Boxing Day Tsunami, many of us are waiting for a disaster event that we have never personally experienced. Unlike the Sentinelese, we have not taken ownership of the cultural practices that might save us. Fortunately, our culture is not locked and isolated in time. Culture can and does change quickly when regular people make a conscious and courageous effort to stand as counter-cultural ambassadors of commonsense.

Those ambassadors influence those who know, love and trust them best, who themselves can become examples for others, and so forth. As the dominoes of social influence tumble, our perceptions evolve. Weird becomes normal, normal becomes expected, and somewhere along the way a tipping point is reach when the expected becomes cultural. Preparedness is too small a word for us.

This is about adaptation. It’s time for us to grow our own set of gills.

Security and Resilience – Guidelines for complexity assessment process

According to ISO, “This document gives guidelines for the application of principles and a process for a complexity assessment of an organization’s systems to improve security and resilience. A complexity assessment process allows an organization to identify potential hidden vulnerabilities of its system and to provide an early indication of risk resulting from complexity.“

The ISO 22375 originates from the UNI 11613 published in 2015 and impulsed by Ontonix. Ontonix is principal co-author of UNI 11613.

Complexity-induced risk is today the most insidious form of risk

“We are pleased to have contributed to the ISO 22375” said Dr. J. Marczyk, the founder and President of Ontonix. “Complexity-induced risk is a new form of risk, introduced by Ontonix and the management of which Ontonix has pioneered since its founding in 2005. Complexity-induced risk is today the most insidious form of risk”, he added. “We do, however, have reservations as to ISO 22375.

First of all, it provides a subjective assessment in that it is based on arbitrarily assigned weights. Second, the analysis procedure has a stong linear flavour and discounts the presence of critical complexity. This last fact indicates that the standard leans heavily towards a qualitative analysis, neglecting such fundamental principles of physics as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Finally, the standard speaks of resilience but no measure of resilience is proposed or discussed”, he concluded.

What is urban resilience?

Urban resilience is a city’s ability to survive, adapt, and grow amid the many shocks and stresses it inevitably experiences. From Da Nang, Vietnam to Medellin, Colombia, cities are taking action to prepare for their uncertain futures – and 100 Resilient Cities is helping them.

100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, is an innovative project seeking to select and work with 100 member cities in order to help them confront the increasing number of shock and stresses that challenge an ever-more urbanized world.

See all our publications about 100 Resilient Cities