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Urban Resilience


What priority actions can urban areas take to increase their resilience to climate change?

Submit proposals:
Deadline:  July 20, 2014, at 11:59:59 PM U.S. Eastern Time
Rules:  All entrants must agree to the 2014 Contest Rules.
Prizes: Judges Choice and Popular Choice winners will be connected with and able to present to people who can support the implementation of their proposal, which may include policy makers, economists, business executives, NGO and foundation officials, scientists, and others.  They will be recognized and publicized by the MIT Climate CoLab and invited to showcase their proposals at a conference held at MIT fall 2014, where a $10,000 Grand Prize will be awarded (see 2013 conference).  In addition, Judges Choice winners will be featured in the ICLEI e-newsletter and on the ICLEI website, featured in a webinar with ICLEI's local government network, invited to present at the ICLEI's annual Resilient Cities conference in Bonn, Germany, and considered for inclusion in the next generation of ICLEI's Adaptation and Planning Database Tool (ADAPT).

Related 2014 contests:   Adaptation to Climate ChangeTransportationCrowdsourcing for Disaster Risk ManagementIndustryCreating public demand for green buildingsConsumption of Products and Services,   Shifting behavior for a changing climateEnergy SupplyBuildings, Waste Management.


Guidelines from Advisors and Fellows


The social, economic and environmental consequences of urbanization may be regarded as one of the biggest challenges for humankind in this century. In this context, urban adaptation and mitigation to the impacts of climate change adds further complexity to overall sustainable development objectives.

Due to the specific threats posed on urban areas by climate change, there are many constraints for establishing effective adaptation and mitigation strategies that need to be overcome. Amongst them are the:

Key issues

Since governance, planning strategies, and development models have historically not taken into account climate change , new approaches must be developed, in order to shift the course towards adaptation and mitigation that build urban resilience to climate change. 

Key issues include:

Enhanced Governance. Integrating, democratic planning involves sharing of knowledge and a spirit of compromise. In addition to that, climate change adaptation and mitigation demands highly responsive mechanisms that can be integrated in these decision-making processes.

Adaptation and Mitigation planning. Spatial planning in general and Town/city/urban and regional planning in particular ought to assume new methodologies to produce flexible plans that reduce urban vulnerability through the use of urban design, ordinances, building codes, zoning, etc. In urban areas characterized by informality, high density, and a reduced planning and regulation capacity, adaptation and mitigation strategies must take a more community-centered, self-organizing and capacity building approach for the recreation of spaces and building group and individual resilience to climate change 

- New technologies and tools. Finally, new technologies and methods in construction and architecture, the development of accessible software tools, like geographical information system tools and mobile technologies, and new financial and social strategies are crucial for the successful implementation of any adaptation or mitigation plan. 

- Community Engagement  Involving community members throughout the risk assessment, planning, implementation, and recovery/response process is critical.  Creating strong communities allow individuals to be more resilient in the face of disasters, and allow safety plans and adaptation strategies to be effectively communicated.

- Resilient Infrastructure.  Improving the resilience of the systems necessary for community survival; power, water, sewers, communications, food, and transportation systems.



Contest picture source: Kim Seng