Sydney Unveils First Ever Comprehensive Metropolitan Scale Resilience Strategy

The Sydney Resilience Strategy, developed in collaboration with 100 Resilient Cities will aid the city in strengthening its ability to survive, adapt and thrive in the face of increasing global uncertainty and local shocks and stresses.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Today, Sydney’s 33 metropolitan councils and 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) unveiled Resilient Sydney, the first resilience strategy for metropolitan Sydney which calls for business, government, academia, communities and individuals to lead and work as one city. Resilient Sydney which was developed by all 33 metropolitan councils in consultation with over 1,000 residents and 100 businesses and government organisations marks a new spirit of collaboration and connection in the city and is the result of two years of effort across Sydney. Resilient Sydney lays out a set of tangible actions the city can take to build resilience and strengthen the city’s ability to survive and thrive through major shocks and chronic stresses.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said, “The process highlighted our best qualities as Sydneysiders – generosity, inventiveness, a willingness to pull together, and a commitment to improving the lives of all our diverse communities. It is these very qualities that we will need the most as we face the challenges of the future. A rapid increase in density has put pressure on schools and early education and on open space, essential services and other infrastructure. Affordable housing is a critical issue and congestion is getting worse. We’re seeing rising inequality, more homelessness, mental illness and obesity. And we’re experiencing increasingly extreme weather events with every year classed as another record breaking year in terms of rising temperatures. All these issues are challenges in themselves and they aren’t unique to Sydney – the effects of urbanisation, globalisation and climate change are seen right around the world. They aren’t constrained by boundaries or different levels of governance. It’s why this strategy, developed with input from across Sydney, is such a breakthrough. Resilient Sydney recognises no one organisation can solve our problems and instead looks at how we can work together, across boundaries to protect and champion the needs and interests of our communities.”

Beck Dawson, Chief Resilience Officer said, “Resilient Sydney marks a turning point for our city, where we now look beyond our boundaries and backyards to work together as one city. We’ve spent two years talking to more than 1,000 people from 100 organisations to identify actions we can do together to help us bounce back from shocks and reduce their likelihood. Our ability to survive, adapt and grow as a city is linked to the strength of connections between neighbours, businesses, councils and government entities. Every resident and organisation in Sydney has a role to play in making our city more resilient and it’s been incredible to work with so many different people to develop a strategy to help the city come together as one in bad times and in good.”

Lauren Sorkin, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, 100RC said, “This strategy is an instructive example of what happens when a city comes together and agrees to work beyond boundaries. The truly metropolitan nature of this work and the level of consultation and community engagement that have gone into its creation are ground breaking in Sydney. With commitments from across the city to support its implementation, Resilient Sydney will be a transformative force for this city and a guiding example for other cities around the world that face the same challenges.”

Resilient Sydney lays out five directions and 35 actions including one flagship action for each direction to build resilience in Sydney:

People-centred: We include communities in decision making for growth and equity

  • Flagship action: Sydney’s shocks and stresses are managed through planning for growth – resilience is incentivised and shocks and stresses are factored into planning. This action will build capacity within and between local governments and communities for better decision making and will improve the city’s understanding of systemic risk. Criteria for investment will focus on more equitable outcomes.

Live with the climate: We adapt to sustain our quality of life and our environment

  • Flagship action: Cool suburbs – turn down the heat. Extreme heat is Sydney’s biggest shock. This action builds a shared understanding of how to reduce the impact of extreme heat especially for vulnerable communities.

Connect for strength: Every Sydneysider will feel they belong in Sydney as part of the community.

  • Flagship action: City cohesion and well-being – this action will increase awareness of social cohesion and community wellbeing and build awareness of risks. It will encourage evidence-based decision making that improves social cohesion

Get ready: We know how to prepare, respond and recover

  • Flagship action: Get prepared – 100,000 ready Sydneysiders – a lack of community preparedness is one of Sydney’s vulnerabilities. This action will increase awareness and understanding of risks across diverse communities and promote connections across networks while building preparedness.

One city: We are one city

  • Flagship action: Engage 100 organisations in the Sydney Resilience Commitment – a lack of understanding of Sydney’s metropolitan scale risks and interdependencies exacerbates the city’s shocks and stresses. This action calls for 100 of Sydney’s vital organisations to make a commitment to make adaptive, integrated planning and action central to their governance in order to manage disruptions.

Some of the actions detailed in the Resilient Sydney Strategy are already being rolled out. The Australian Red Cross and Insurance Australia Group have teamed up in support of the “Get Prepared’ flagship action to develop the Get Prepared app. The app will enable users to develop a personalised emergency plan in minutes to help residents better understand what to do in the event of an acute shock such as an extreme heat wave, power outage or water shortage.

Jody Broun, Executive Director, Australian Red Cross NSW said: “We congratulate Resilient Sydney for bringing together local councils, government agencies, business and community organisations to prepare Sydney residents for the kinds of emergencies they will encounter.”

The full Resilient Sydney urban resilience strategy can be downloaded here: www.resilientsydney.com.au, or www.100resilientcities.org/strategies/sydney.

For further information, please contact:
City of Sydney: Alex Cauchi, acauchi@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au / +61467803815
100 Resilient Cities: Ashley Knapp, aknapp@100rc.org / +65 8168 9481

Follow online at: www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/vision/towards-2030/resilient-sydney
Twitter: @ResilientSydney

About 100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation

100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic, and physical challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each of our cities who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a Resilience Strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. For more information, visit: www.100ResilientCities.org.