Cities’ multiple roads towards resilience

Many cities around the globe have the ambition to enhance liveability and increase their resilience against natural disasters such as flooding or drought. Several global initiatives have started to support cities in their ambitions, such as the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Challenge and the UNISDR Resilient Cities Campaign. During the 2nd International Conference on Deltas in Times of Climate Change, a workshop was organised in which representatives from Singapore (photo), Melbourne, Copenhagen, Tainan, Rotterdam and Dordrecht shared their visions and best practices for becoming resilient.

From the experiences of these frontrunner cities, several lessons can be drawn:

  • Statistics and indicators matter, but narratives about the ‘why’ and ‘how’ are more powerful when it comes to persuading decision makers to take action.
  • When making plans for the future, it is more effective to focus on value creation rather than damage control.
  • Because the climate is only one of many important factors that influence liveability, it is better to talk about future proofing cities rather than climate proofing cities.
  • Because the available public funds for climate adaptation are limited, it is recommended to combine investment agendas and stimulate investments from the private sector as much as possible.

A common challenge amongst these cities is to attract sufficient finance for projects that add to the resilience of cities. Jeroen Rijke and Tanja Manders of Triple Bridge are analysing effective financing instruments for urban water projects under the umbrella of the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities. Their study shows that instruments that are widely applied in the energy sector, such as revolving funds, feed-in tariff schemes and service contracts could assist in the realisation of water-related adaptation projects through various ways of stimulating private investments. The preliminary results were presented and discussed at the Deltas in Times of Climate Change conference.

For more information, please contact Jeroen Rijke.