Viewpoints: Challenges in assessing and measuring urban resilience

Susie Moloney, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, Australia
Marta Olazabal, Basque Centre for Climate Change, Spain
Lilia Yumagulova, The University of British Columbia, Canada
Lorenzo Chelleri, Gran Sasso Science Institute, Italy

shutterstock_359518463 (1)The Global Carbon Project (GCP), in collaboration with RMIT University, the Urbanization and Global Environmental Change Project, the Urban Climate Change Research (UCCRN) Network and IR3S, organized a workshop on “Tools and Indicators for assessing urban resilience”, on December 7-10, 2015 at the University of Tokyo. The workshop aimed to utilize resilience thinking as a guiding principle and bring together scholars from different disciplines to develop an integrated framework for assessing urban community resilience.  Building on existing studies the framework or ‘assessment toolkit’ is intended to use bottom up indicators suitable for local needs particularly for use by planners and decision makers to mainstream resilience thinking into the planning system and increase the response capacity of cities. Sharifi and Yamagata (2014) had previously undertaken an assessment of existing tools and identified a number of gaps and challenges where workshop efforts would be focused, particularly:

  • Identifying resilience criteria related to social, human, physical, economic, and institutional capital.
  • Specifying disaster management phase to which the criteria are related (i.e., mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and adaptation).
  • Use of bottom-up indicators that fit the local needs and reflect the different composition and needs of different contexts.
  • Development of assessment metrics that are easily scalable and replicable (while being context-specific).
  • Design of a framework that, while simple enough to be used by non-experts and suitable for self-assessment, could take account of the complexities and dynamics of cities as socio-ecological systems.
  • Linking vulnerability, mitigation, and adaptive capacity measures in the resilience assessment framework.
  • Emphasizing the iterative nature of such toolkits for each of the cities, and the need to continuously re-examine the approach to their climate adaptation planning.

Click here to finish the article