Cities must be green, sustainable, intelligent, welcoming, healthy and a long etcetera more than adjectives that day by day add to the planning and management of this. One of that adjective is RESILIENT. The cities have to be resilient, this is one of the premises increasingly recurring in urban planning or local management.

The concept of resilience describes the ability to any urban system to maintain continuity after impacts or disasters while contributing positively to adaptation and transformation. According to ONU HABITAT.

When we talk about resilience in cities, we talk about cities that evaluate, plan and manage the city aware of the risks that in it exist. The different expected and unexpected threats are evaluated, as well as the most vulnerable areas or elements of the urban fabric. Lately I know tends to notice that cities are well adapted to the impending changes in the climate due to global warming. While it is true that this is a threat to consider, it is not the only one that affects or will affect our cities.

A city is resilient when it has the capacity enough to absorb the different attacks that are dealt to it. That is to say, Taking climate change as an example, a city that has enough blue infrastructures (lakes, rivers and fountains) and thermal comfort zones (park, trees and shady gardens) is adapted to a possible rise in the temperatures. Then that city that is capable of absorbing with its infrastructure a heat wave, it can be said that it is a resilient city.

Beyond climate change, cities are exposed to multiple threats, they are usually chained and interconnected. War conflicts, political instability, demographic changes, migratory phenomena, economic crises or social unrest are part of the urban reality in all the countries of the world. sooner or later the cities are predestined to suffer these changes, that is, there is no risk zero, cities must be aware of what these risks are. Be prepared to face these threats of change and be able to reduce the various physical and organizational vulnerabilities make cities more resilient cities.

The resilient city has to be prepared for phenomena of instability characteristic of direct affection and external crises, of affection hint. To deal with phenomena of internal origin, you need to have a network of connections with supralocal organizations and with other localities of so that they can be helped. However, it is important that a city does not depend exclusively on the outside, it is key that it has the capabilities to survive threats that may affect that external network of support and supply.

That is why there is more and more talk of sovereignties local. There are many possibilities and planning policies in around local sovereignties, as well as around other elements that make cities more resilient. Two of the most local sovereignties sounded are the following:

The energy sovereignty involves supplying energy our city without depending exclusively on political stability or the resources of other countries and regions or the diplomatic capacities of the supra-municipal governments. Relocate energy production through renewable energy production plants in a decentralized manner, allows be more adapted to an eventual shutdown of supply. That is, it allows more resilient.

The same is true of food sovereignty, the current Dependence on importing food to the cities is absolute. The urban environments have been denatured, to the point of depending almost on a 100% of the natural resources of the territory that adjoins them, such as own food and water. In the best of cases, that adjoining territory it is the region where the city is based, in others it is the entire planet.

The food sovereignty in the cities involves food sovereignty in the territory, since in the urban environment it is more difficult to produce food. However, urban gardens have been and continue to be a reality in many cities. Urban gardens are green areas within or around cities for the cultivation of vegetables. They are small-scale crops managed by individuals, family groups or small community groups. They tend to be meeting places with social and cultural benefits as well as resources for the most delicate economies. In some cases there are orchards intended for leisure and in other cases, these are intended for the survival economy.

To be resilient, the city must be sovereign at the same time that they need to have solid interrelationships with their nearest territory and with the rest of the territories and cities of the planet. The recent global pandemic situation has put all the cities of the world to a greater or lesser extent in front of the mirror. Some had better health systems than others, others greater solidarity networks, more solid communities. Some had their own capacity to produce food, others, on the other hand, have seen the strong dependence they had on the outside. A dependency that is especially visible in the West, where resources as basic as health or even food depended on the foreign market.

Aitor Mingo Bilbao
MSc in Sustainable Cities