Planet Ark News - Resilient Cities Take on Climate Change
Planet Ark News

Resilient Cities Take on Climate Change

Date: 09-Mar-17
Author: Alicia Jooste

Cape Town © Claire Bell

Cape Town

Resilient cities around the globe are tackling everything from rising sea levels and coastal erosion, to energy and housing challenges.

A project pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation called 100 Resilient Cities, aims to revolutionise current urban development to achieve resilient, sustainable cities.

With a greater concentration of people and assets in urban areas, it is recognised that cities can’t keep doing what has always been done and cope with the ever-changing environment.

Up there with the fastest growing populations, many African cities are feeling the pressure to cope under current urban development designs.

Peter Berkowitz, president of the program, acknowledges African cities are in the front line in terms of urbanisation globally.

“People are moving out of the villages and into cities at unprecedented rates. This will inevitably put additional pressure on any city’s landscape.” Therefore, he says the aim “is to provide a model for what a new, more resilient urbanisation might look like.”

Eleven African cities that embrace the need to change recently joined 89 other cities all striving to build resilience in assisting communities to better manage adversity, uncertainty and disruption.

Amongst the African cities participating are Dakar, Accra, Cape Town, Kigali, Luxor and Nairobi, and the list goes on, which are all making strong strides to a more sustainable tomorrow.

The program aims to empower individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt and grow during any type of shock or stress a city might be prone to.

Peter Berkowitz acknowledges “for this change to occur, many of the necessary conversations need to come from the ground up.”

Although a resilience strategy is a first step, it provides a platform for cities around the globe to work together to create communities that are more cohesive and plan for greater mobility, improved air quality, and better built environments and architecture.

Closer to home

Not as far away, this week the City of Sydney hosted the Green Cities Conference. The event is a platform for leading sustainability minds to come together and explore how Australian cities can make greater strides towards clean air quality, accessible and modern transportation, protection from flooding, and other effects of climate change.

The conference, like the 100 Resilient Cities program, offers an example of how people and cities are understanding the need to change and are findings ways to embrace the solutions.

Positive Action

  • Volunteer for events that help you engage with and enhance the urban environment like Clean Up Australia Day or National Tree Day.
  • Find out what your local council’s sustainability policy is and let them know what your community needs to become more resilient.


Alicia                                            Jooste

Author: Alicia Jooste

Alicia worked at Planet Ark in 2016.
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