Resilient Cities: A Grosvenor Research Report
Grosvenor Global Outlook, 2013
Posted: 15 Aug 2017
Date Written: 2013
The ability of cities to thrive as centres of human habitation, production and cultural development, despite the challenges posed by climate change, population growth and globalisation, is determined by their resilience. From a real estate investor’s perspective, resilience allows cities to preserve capital values and generate sustainable rental income in the long term. In human terms, cities are resilient if they absorb shocks, like Hurricane Sandy, maintain their output of goods and services and continue to provide their inhabitants with a good quality of life according to the standards of the time.
Resilience - the ability of a city to avoid or bounce back from an adverse event - comes from the interplay of vulnerability and adaptive capacity.
Vulnerability is a city’s exposure to shocks in terms of both magnitude and frequency. Shocks may be due to changes in the climate, environmental degradation, shortage of resources, failed infrastructure or community strife due to inequality. That most cities have survived for the last several centuries or, in some cases, millennia, indicates a long period of stability in the pattern of urban growth. Recent population growth and industrialisation, despite many benefits, are destabilising planetary systems and making previously safe places more vulnerable than they ever were before.
Yet cities, like societies, are adaptable. Just like societies, they vary enormously in their adaptive capacity due to governance, institutions, technology, wealth and the propensity to plan.
So resilience increases when cities have more adaptive capacity and decreases when they are more vulnerable. Exponential population and economic growth is placing so much pressure on resources that resilience, which has for so long been a free gift of history, urgently needs to be rethought. By quantifying the resilience of 50 of the world’s most important cities we, at Grosvenor, hope to contribute to this vital debate.
Keywords: resilience, urban resilience, planning, adaptive capacity, cities
JEL Classification: O18, O2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation