What is Urban Resilience?

From earthquakes to flooding, rapid immigration to cyber-attacks, all cities face a range of shocks and stresses, natural and human-made.

Today, our cities and citizens are facing new and amplified challenges as a result of rapid urbanization, a changing climate and political instability. UN-Habitat supports cities and its inhabitants to face these challenges and become resilient.

UN-Habitat understands urban resilience as the measurable ability of any urban system, with its inhabitants, to maintain continuity through all shocks and stresses, while positively adapting and transforming toward sustainability.

A resilient city assesses, plans and acts to prepare for and respond to all hazards – sudden and slow-onset. By doing so, resilient cities are better able to protect and enhance people’s lives, secure development gains, foster an investible environment, and drive positive change.

Unplanned cities are more vulnerable to shock as they often have pre-existing stresses. In cities that are not prepared for or able to recover from shocks, stresses on the system can accumulate or magnify other challenges.

In view of the present scenario, urban resilience has gained greater prominence over the past decade in the international development discourse and agenda, emerging as one of the core principles of sustainable urban development in the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.