Cities, Climate Change

Today at the Paris COP, 21 leading cities from around the world announced their commitment to the 10% Resilience Pledge. These cities will ensure that 10% of their annual budgets will be spent on resiliency improvements. The pledges guarantee that resilience planning and implementation will be dynamically integrated into city operations and policy.

The pledges were announced at a 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) event where mayors from the cities of Addis Ababa, Rotterdam, Sydney, Bristol, and Paris discussed the challenges their communities face and their resiliency efforts. While the specific vulnerabilities described varied depending on local context, a common thread connecting the mayors’ statements was the importance of addressing both social factors and the traditional environmental factors (e.g., climate change and seismic risks). True city resilience will include both key infrastructure improvements and extensive social programs that improve economic conditions and social cohesion.

One illuminating example was provided by the City of Paris, who stated that it initially applied for 100RC funding to address environmental factors (e.g., urban extreme heat events), but after the events of 2015 (including the refugee crisis and terrorist attacks), the City expanded its concept of resiliency to accommodate a much broader socioeconomic context.  The City of Addis Ababa similarly realized that true resiliency for their community will include a spectrum of actions from flood protection and public transit expansion to job creation, education, and public health programs.

All mayors stated that participation in the 100RC initiative has greatly increased their cities’ understanding of existing vulnerabilities and has identified critical strategies. Each city was pleased to describe the benefits that the planning process and a dedicated Chief Resiliency Officers provide and how such efforts will integrate resiliency into all aspects of City operations and policy development.

AECOM is a strategy partner with 100RC, working alongside the chief resilience officers and their teams to help develop resilience strategies in 15 cities around the world, including San Francisco, Dallas, Oakland, San Juan, Montreal, Mexico City, Rotterdam, Sydney, Bangkok and Christchurch.

Culley Thomas is a senior strategic planner, climate and sustainability, at AECOM

Originally published Dec 2, 2015

Author: Culley Thomas