We live in uncertain times when socio-political alignments are shifting on a weekly basis, brand-new technologies are transforming the way we live and communicate, and each season brings natural disasters that unveil the extent of climate change underway. For all these reasons, cities need to prepare for the unexpected and adapt to the age of disruption. While planning for change is no easy task, cities recognize the importance of developing their own resilience in order to withstand unanticipated shocks and stresses.
That’s why, for the past year, Next City has looked at resilience around the world. We’ve seen how Hurricane Sandy changed New York forever, how Phnom Penh built a world-class water system after years of war, and how Tokyo has developed a culture of urban adaptation and preparedness, to give examples from just three of the dozen cities we profiled.
But after exploring specific cities in depth, we’re now taking a deep dive into strategies for resilience that can be applied to any city. This new series, The Future of Resilience, supported by Siemens, is a 10-week exploration of innovative ways to strengthen and protect cities around the world. By examining the ideas, technologies and experiments at the fore of the conversation about how we adapt to a changed climate, we hope to help build understanding of what cities are and should be doing now and in the future.
Siemens, long a company cities have turned to for energy and infrastructure solutions, has chosen to support The Future of Resilience because it too recognizes that we must confront and adapt to climate change if we want our communities to thrive. “The combined effects of rapidly rising demand for urban services and rising costs of impacts from both chronic stresses and periodic shocks puts a significant strain on the ability of cities to plan, fund, deliver and maintain new and existing infrastructure which we need to achieve resilient cities,” says Michael Stevns, Project Manager of the Siemens Toolkit for Resilient Cities.
Our weekly stories from journalists based in cities around the world will showcase new projects and also tell stories of people and communities learning how to live with challenges of a changing environment and pushing for the improvements needed to keep their cities strong. (After all, we’re posting this from Philadelphia, a city where heavy rain can shut down the transit system.)
We’ll get the latest on big trends like desalination as a way to deal with drought and the development of energy “microgrids” strong enough to withstand hurricane winds, and talk to the innovators developing the apps that are redefining how we relate to infrastructure that — for too long — we’ve taken for granted. We’ll dive into the stories that attest to a future of resilience that isn’t so far away after all.
Check back at NextCity.org twice a week for stories in this series, and if you have suggested projects, people or programs we should be profiling, by all means, please add your ideas to the comments section below.