Urban resilience is:
“the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.”
Cape Town is one of only a handful of African cities in the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) network, an initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. In total over 1000 cities applied to join the network and only 100 were selected.
The 100RC network helps cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.
100RC supports the adoption and incorporation of a view of resilience that includes not just the shocks—earthquakes, fires, floods, etc.—but also the stresses – unemployment, poverty, lack of affordable housing – that weaken the fabric of a city on a day to day or cyclical basis.
Cities in the 100RC network are provided with the resources necessary to develop a roadmap to resilience along four main pathways:
- Financial and logistical guidance for establishing an innovative new position in city government, a Chief Resilience Officer, who will lead the city’s resilience efforts
- Expert support for development of a robust Resilience Strategy
- Access to solutions, service providers, and partners from the private, public and NGO sectors who can help them develop and implement their Resilience Strategies
- Membership of a global network of member cities who can learn from and help each other.
Cape Town was successfully chosen to join the network in the third and final tranche of cities in May 2016. In March 2017 our Chief Resilience Officer, Craig Kesson, was appointed and since late last year the Resilient Cape Town team has been working towards the development of Cape Town’s first resilience strategy.
Cape Town’s membership to the 100RC network is seen as a recognition of the existing efforts by the city to ensure resilience and will provide the city with tools, partnerships and expert support to further strengthen and entrench the resilience of Cape Town.
Cape Town’s membership to 100RC sits alongside other global networks and partnerships such as the EU World Cities programme and the C40 network.
What are the benefits of building resilience?
Applying a resilience lens leads to:
- better designed projects and policies that address multiple challenges at one time
- improving services;
- and saving resources.
This is known as the resilience dividend—the net social, economic and physical benefits achieved when designing initiatives and projects in a forward looking, risk aware, inclusive and integrated way.
The Resilient Cape Town team has concluded phase 1 of the strategy development process by producing the Preliminary Resilience Assessment (PRA) for the city. This document is based on extensive research and stakeholder engagement and sets the context and framework from which the final strategy will be developed. This framework identifies the priority shocks and stresses that Cape Town faces and the priority areas within the city that the strategy will target to support and strengthen. The document is available here.
The Resilient Cape Town team aims to have developed the full strategy document by early 2019.
City Resilience Index:
Alongside the PRA, the team also produced the first City Resilience Index for Cape Town. This Index provides a baseline assessment of the city’s current resilience and will be redone in 2 -3 years’ time in order to track the impact of the resilience strategy.