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World Cities Day

This topic provides information related to World Cities Day.

The 31st of October is celebrated as World Cities Day. The aim is to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization, enhance cooperation among countries and cities in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contribute to sustainable urban development. The overall World Cities Day theme is Better City, Better Life.

World Cities Day 2018

The theme for 2018 is Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities.

Over the last decade, natural disasters have affected more than 220 million people and caused economic damage of USD $100billion per year. By 2030, without significant investment to make cities more resilient, natural disasters may cost cities worldwide three times that amount a year and climate change may push up millions of urban residents into poverty. Hundreds of cities and communities are struggling with the impact of crisis – including conflicts, natural disasters, failures in governance and economic stress.

Cities need support to become resilient and develop their capacity to absorb the impact of hazards, protect and preserve human life and limit damage to and destruction of public and private assets while continuing to provide infrastructure and services after a crisis.

Urban resilience

With over half of the population living in urban areas and the numbers increasing daily, cities are facing unprecedented demographic, environmental, economic, social and spatial challenges. Cities are centres of innovation and investment and are pivotal for economic growth and development. At the same time, cities are vulnerable to severe impacts from a range of challenges, shocks and stresses that can be both natural and human made

Urban Resilience is the measurable ability of any urban system, with its inhabitants, to maintain continuity through all shocks and stresses, while positively adapting and transforming toward sustainability. A Resilient City assesses, plans and acts to prepare and respond to hazards - natural and human-made, sudden and slow-onset, expected and unexpected - in order to protect and enhance people’s live, secure development gains, foster an environment for investment, and drive positive change.

Major challenges to resilience include economic, environmental, cultural, civic and disaster mitigation and recovery.

Characteristics of a Resilient City

  1. Persistent : A persistent city anticipates impacts in order to prepare for current and future shocks and stresses. It builds robustness by incorporating coping mechanisms to withstand disturbances and protect people and assets. It encourages redundancy in its networks by generating spare capacity and back-ups to maintain and restore basic services, ensuring reliability during and after disruption.
  2. Adaptable : An adaptable city considers not only foreseeable risks, but also accepts current and future uncertainty. It diversifies its services, functions and processes by establishing alternatives and is resourceful in its capacity to repurpose human, financial and physical capital. It is flexible and can absorb, adjust and evolve in the face of changing circumstances, dynamically responding by turning change into opportunity.
  3. Inclusive : An inclusive city centres on people by understanding that being resilient entails protecting each person from any negative impact. Recognising that people in vulnerable situations are among the most affected by hazards, it actively strives towards social inclusion by promoting equality, equity and fulfilment of human rights. It fosters social cohesion and empowers comprehensive and meaningful participation in all governance processes in order to develop resilient city.

Source : UN Habitat

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