Urban Lessons for a Diverse Region

Lina Liakou is Regional Director, overseeing 100 Resilient Cities’ work with cities in Europe and the Middle East. She is based in London.

Before joining 100RC, Lina was Deputy Mayor and Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Thessaloniki, Greece. In this role, she led the development of the city’s Resilience Strategy, which Thessaloniki released on March 2017. As a Deputy Mayor, Lina Liakou initiated collaborations with the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the World Bank. Prior to this, Lina was chairman and managing director of the Metropolitan Development Agency of Thessaloniki, an intermunicipal company that coordinates national and international research projects.

Lessons from City Government

Working in city government allows you to develop a holistic understanding of the root causes of  major urban challenges, while also being  best positioned to solve them, since you can develop and implement new solutions and see  tangible results.

The greatest asset and challenge in city government is its human capital. Only investing in training and capacity-building of city staff can ensure  city government will respond to the constant changing set of urban challenges.

Learning from Thessaloniki

In March of 2017, Thessaloniki released an integrated and forward-looking Resilience Strategy, which seeks to best use the city’s limited resources and seize all opportunities. The city designed initiatives to diversify its resources, create new kinds of partnerships, and most importantly, work together with local talent and the city’s robust academic community.

From the capacity of their systems to the relationship between their citizens and local government, cities throughout Northern Europe, Southern Europe, and the Middle East vary widely. On the other hand, the  bonds of the European Union have helped create a common framework of development. Doing more with what you have is a principle that can be applied to all cities and communities throughout the region.

Why 100 Resilient Cities

100 Resilient Cities developed an important methodology for cities to operate in today’s global environment. This approach is important not only for developing a Resilience Strategy, but also illustrating how urban projects can be better  designed, financed and implemented.

Understanding the different elements of a problem—present and future—bringing together the different actors, finding new ways to finance projects, while involving the community in every step, leads to better services and projects that are more reflective of the citizens they are designed for.

Cities are complex systems that adapt and change very slowly. 100 Resilient Cities works and invests in its relationship  with the city for the long-term . Through this systemic approach to building resilience, we can help transform cities, incorporate new elements and processes, and ultimately help improve the quality of life and well-being of all citizens.