Urban resilience is the capacity of a city’s systems, businesses, institutions, communities, and individuals to survive, adapt, and thrive, no matter what chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience (Resilient Cities Network, 2022). A city can improve its overall trajectory and the well-being of its citizens by strengthening its underlying fabric and understanding the risks that threaten its stability; it can flourish regardless of rising difficulties and trends such as globalisation, urbanisation, and climate change. With cities accounting for more than 80% of global GDP, urbanisation can foster innovation and new ideas and contribute to sustainable growth if properly managed. The development of urban resilience necessitates a comprehensive examination of a city’s capabilities as well as its risks, which may include meaningful interaction with the most disadvantaged members of a community. 

What is the Importnace of resilience in urban planning? - Sheet1
Achieving Urban Resilience in the City of Medellín, Colombia_©Saparov Photography

Principles of Urban Resilience | Importance of resilience

What is the Importnace of resilience in urban planning? - Sheet2
The Wheel of Urban Resilience_©Deltares

Urban resilience discusses the nature and function of individual and collective capacities to adapt and ensure safety at the scale of sociotechnical systems. Any system’s safety is based on a set of procedures that equip it with the tools it needs to overcome a potentially harmful situation, preventing and shielding it from harm. These arrangements can be symbolic measures, physical barriers, or special training for individual and collective behaviour. Identifying sources of adversity that have the potential to impact the system, such as unforeseen external events, enable the derivation of the specifications required to manage safety as well as human and financial resources. A framework can be considered safe if all situations are considered on the off chance that specialised obstructions are accurately planned and carefully kept up with and on the off chance that the time, human and material assets required are accessible and adequate.

Building Urban Resilience

What is the Importnace of resilience in urban planning? - Sheet3
Urban Resilience Strategies from different cities across the Globe_©The City of Chicago

Enhanced urban planning and management are the most effective means of fostering resilience to these risks. A crucial component of proactive plans for infrastructure development and urban management strategies is considering and responding to these risks. The following are a few options for increasing urban resilience:

  • Conduct hazard and vulnerability assessments to aid in urban planning and disaster response operations by gathering data on natural hazards, climate change, and urban assets and populations.
  • Provide all urban residents with basic services, focusing on households that are least prepared to deal with natural hazards (such as those in informal settlements).
  • Improve land use planning and zoning through risk-resilient spatial planning to steer critical infrastructure and new developments away from hazard-prone areas. to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of “safe” land for subdivision development in commercial, industrial, and residential areas while also increasing enforcement of building codes. This also includes zoning for conservation in places like mangrove forests, which naturally protect against natural hazards. Use development controls like building codes to guarantee that homes and buildings are built to the right standards.
  • Enhance standards for the design of infrastructure to take into account the dangers posed by natural disasters and the effects of climate change (for example, by climate-proofing measures) and provide sufficient resources for operations and maintenance to maintain performance.
  • Protect properties from flooding, storm surge, and coastal erosion by preserving natural ecosystem functions like natural drainage channels, green space, and shoreline buffers.
  • Support effective response and recovery following a natural disaster by implementing effective early warning systems, emergency disaster response, and postdisaster recovery to minimize injury, loss of life, and property damage and support early recovery.

Conditions for Urban Resilience | Importance of resilience

What is the Importnace of resilience in urban planning? - Sheet4
City Resilience Framework_ ©The City of Chicago

To achieve risk-resilient urban development using the above-mentioned strategies, enabling strategies like enhanced arrangements for urban governance and sufficient human and financial resources are required. Among these are the following:

  • Bottom-up, participative strategies for urban development To move away from top-down land use planning and toward supporting the more efficient implementation of land use measures and development controls, efforts should be made to involve all concerned urban stakeholders, including communities, traditional landowners, and the private sector, in the decision-making processes that take place in urban areas.
  • The use of a “systems” approach to urban management and planning. The best returns on urban investments will be achieved by moving away from sector-based planning and toward more integrated approaches to urban development. For instance, when simultaneous efforts are made to upgrade solid waste management systems to prevent drains from becoming clogged with garbage, which would reduce the overall effectiveness of reducing flood risks, investments in urban drainage systems will be more successful.
  • New arrangements for urban institutional coordination. These include enhanced institutional coordination among sector agencies, authorities from national and local governments, and offices for managing climate change and natural disasters.
  • Enhanced human and financial resources are required to develop, finance, and implement risk-resilient urban plans. To support capital investments, ongoing operations and maintenance of urban infrastructure, slum upgrading initiatives, investments in early warning systems, and post-disaster responses, higher levels of urban investment are required.


Roads to Urban Resilience_©UN-Habitat

Falling apart expectations for everyday comforts are not the unavoidable result of fast urbanisation in the Pacific. Similarly, extremes in the climate and natural hazards do not always lead to catastrophes. Advancing maintainable metropolitan advancement will work on more than just the nature of metropolitan living in the district’s developing urban areas and towns yet will likewise assemble strength to regular risks and environmental change. However, in order for policymakers, urban and disaster managers, communities, landowners, and the private sector in the region to transition away from reactive responses and toward more proactive and participatory approaches for managing urban development, this will necessitate a significant mental shift. Additionally, it is necessary to increase awareness of the fact that measures to construct more livable Pacific towns and cities are inextricably linked to investments in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

References: Importance of resilience

  1. ADB (2013) Moving from Risk to Resilience – Sustainable Urban Development in the Pacific. rep. Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila: Asian Development Bank.
  2. Elgendy, K. and Juvara, M. (2022) Here’s how planning can help build resilient cities, Climate Champions. Climate Champions. Available at: (Accessed: April 5, 2023).
  3. Martin-Moreau, M. and Ménascé, D. (2018) “Urban resilience: introducing this issue and summarizing the discussions,” Resilient Cities, 18, pp. 6–11.
  4. Okai, A. (2022) Urban resilience: Addressing an old challenge with renewed urgency, UNDP. UNDP. Available at: (Accessed: April 5, 2023).
  5. Parra, I. (2022) Urban Resilience Wrapped 2022, Urban Resilience Hub. UN Habitat. Available at: (Accessed: April 6, 2023). 
  6. Reid, R. and Demarin, P. (2013) The Importance of Urban Resilience, World Economic Forum. Available at: (Accessed: April 5, 2023).
  7. Resilient Cities Network (2022) What is Urban Resilience?, Resilient Cities Network. Resilient Cities Network. Available at:,economy%2C%20infrastructure%20and%20natural%20environment. (Accessed: April 5, 2023).
  8. Sharifi, A. and Yamagata, Y. (2014) “Resilient urban planning: Major principles and criteria,” Energy Procedia, 61, pp. 1491–1495. Available at:
  9. WHO (2022) . Urban planning for resilience and health: key messages – summary report on protecting environments and health by building urban resilience. rep. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office. 

Audrey Kianjaya is a graduate architect and urban planner who is currently pursuing a career as an architectural researcher and writer. She aspires to make a positive impact through her writing and design, earning her project the title of “People’s Choice” from the Regen Dining Competition held in 2020.