Explore Resilient Cities, Resilient Lives, a new report with lessons from the 100 Resilient Cities Network

Toronto, Canada

Defining urban resilience

Resilience is about surviving and thriving, regardless of the challenge.

Urban resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.


weaken the fabric of a city on a day-to-day or cyclical basis

Examples include: high unemployment, inefficient public transportation systems, endemic violence, and chronic food and water shortages.


are sudden, sharp events that threaten a city

Examples include: earthquakes, floods, disease outbreaks, and terrorist attacks.

Mexico City, Mexico Photo: Lars Plougmann
Vejle, Denmark Photo: Mikkel Rask
New York City, United States Photo: ais3n

Resilient cities demonstrate seven qualities that allow them to withstand, respond to, and adapt more readily to shocks and stresses.

Lisbon, Portugal Photo: MGKM Photography


using past experience to inform future decisions


recognizing alternative ways to use resources

Barcelona, Spain Photo: Riccardo Romano


well-conceived, constructed, and managed systems


spare capacity purposively created to accommodate disruption


willingness and ability to adopt alternative strategies in response to changing circumstances

Semarang, Indonesia Photo: NSeika


prioritize broad consultation to create a sense of shared ownership in decision making


bring together a range of distinct systems and institutions

Durban, South Africa Photo: Diriye Amey

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