Urban resilience: introducing this issue and summarizing the discusssions

La résilience urbaine

By Mathilde Martin-Moreau, senior consultant at AZAO Consulting, and David Ménascé, managing partner at AZAO Consulting

Resilience is an issue of increasing importance to city managers and policymakers. The idea first emerged in the scientifi c world and was then taken up by psychologists and ecologists to describe the ability to resist unforeseen events and return to a pre-event state. Since the turn of the millennium, many major cities are increasingly adopting resilience strategies to plan for and manage a range of risks, not only environmental but also economic, social, food security, and so on. Cities are at the center of the idea of resilience insofar as they are simultaneously part of the problem, as the major source of greenhouse gas emissions, but also potential victims of natural disasters – coastal cities are, for example, vulnerable to hurricanes and rising sea levels. Cities are also the source of future solutions, via, for instance, networks of resilient cities and their capacity to manage problems on a “human scale.”

There is a measure of disagreement surrounding the term resilience, with some encouraged by its all-embracing nature and others decrying it as simply a catch-all concept. Resilience – assuming that certain strategic, holistic, durability and collaborative conditions for achieving legitimacy have been met – can, however, provide an array of new tools to help foster the emergence of the sustainable and enduring city of tomorrow.