Last week EVOKE Agents were challenged to find out what steps their city is already taking to increase its resilience, and to spread the word about it to others. Reports have come back in from Agents across the globe, about both the programs in place and the challenges surrounding them.
Patricio Buenrostro-Gilhuys provided an in depth look at the solutions proposed to the resiliency problems in Mexico City (Mexico) created by its massive growth in population over recent years. On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, Danielle-Anne O. Rubinos outlined some of the the programs which have seen Makati City (Philippines) internationally recognized as a resilient city.
Agents in Grahamstown (South Africa) found out about a range of initiatives there. Dyllan Ocker writes about three of them – emergency evacuation, flooding control and a citywide “Greening Project”. This community gardening venture is also mentioned by Matthew Collins who learned about it in an essay called Risk to Resilience. With Kirsten Moore outlining projects aimed at sustainable water supplies among others, it’s clear that plans for resilience in Grahamstown are indeed widespread.
Although some cities provided great sources of information, many Agents found it quite a challenge to locate local resilience plans. As Samuel Freilich discovered for Boston (USA), often there is no single centralized summary for a city – so you need to look out for a range of organizations that work towards that goal. Margie Alsbrook was surprised to discover one of the best resources for northwest Arkansas (USA) was their Department of Emergency Facebook Page.
On the other hand, just because the information is readily available doesn’t mean that it’s having the desired effect. Erin Sammons from Hamilton (New Zealand) explains that even though the local Civil Defense service have been televising the need for disaster preparedness as she can remember, she knows very few people who have taken action themselves.
Another challenge to the spread of resilience information discovered by Oliver Hohlstein is the potential for language barriers. He found that although Bonn (Germany) is an international city and UN location, its information about the dangers and strategies for when the river Rhine floods are only available in German.
Finally, across the board most Agents reported that very few people they knew had considered the idea of urban resilience. Omri from Tel Aviv (Israel) suggested that http://www.resilienceproject.org/ is a great resource to point people to and provides a look at what is happening globally. Leah MacVie went on to raise the question of whether resilience education should be a basic part of our school curriculum.
After reading through these and perhaps even your own investigations, what do you think? What ways could we help ensure those around us have a better idea of what our cities are doing to improve their resilience – and how might we best see those efforts get the support they deserve?