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Building Urban Resilience

Principles, Tools and Practice


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About this resource

Resource type:Books
Keywords:Contingency Planning, Disaster preparedness, Disaster preparedness, resilience and risk reduction, Disaster risk reduction, Early warning, System-wide performance, Urban
Agency:World Bank
Author(s):Jha, A. Miner, T. and Stanton-Geddes, Z.
Date published:2013
Publisher:The World Bank

Resilience is the ability of a system, community, or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to, and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner. Resilience in the context of cities translates into a new paradigm for urbanization, and forms base for a new understanding how to manage hazards and urban development. In the next decades, the major driver of the increasing damages and losses from disasters will be the growth of people and assets in harm's way, especially in urban areas. Often lacking resources, infrastructure, services and the capacity to manage the increase in population, small cities could face heavy losses of life and property due to disasters, unless proactive measures are mainstreamed into governance and planning. There is a critical need for a flexible and dynamic approach to building resilience that goes beyond risk mitigation. There are concrete ways to improve the decision-making process and making it more resilient. This report guides readers in finding ways to avoid the mistakes of the past and build resilience into urban development through critical investments and flexible risk management measures that stretch across sectors and jurisdictions all the way to communities and the most vulnerable. There are principles that can guide those who make decisions about public finances. One of these is investing in quality data on risk and in tools that facilitate the use of data across sectors and jurisdictions. Cities that are better able to define and communicate their risks do a better job of preparing for and managing the impacts of natural disasters in a complex and uncertain environment. There are concrete tools that can support preparation for decisions and their implementation. For example, integrating risk-based approaches into urban governance and planning processes can help national and municipal stakeholders to make complex decisions in a smarter, more forward-looking, and more sustainable way that increases resilience. Key economic sectors-especially water, energy, and transport systems-deserve particular attention. They are not only vital if cities and communities are to deal with a disaster and recover quickly, they are also sectors where careful investments-those that pay attention to the principles and make full use of the tools available-can make a real difference in people's lives.

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