...in thinking

Resilience Engineered

Three films to demystify resilience, funded by The Resilience Shift, developed in collaboration with the Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge.

Summary for Urban Policymakers

A summary for urban policymakers, presenting the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments in targeted summaries that can help inform action at the city scale.

Resilient Leadership

Real-time learning from the Covid crisis was captured over 16 weeks of interviews with senior leaders, providing insights into what makes resilient leadership, and how to lead for resilience.

...in practice

Infrastructure Pathways

A resource for practitioners in search of clear, easy-to-navigate guidance on climate-resilient infrastructure, compiled from hundreds of leading resources, and organized by lifecycle phase.


Diagram of a working port


A multi-stakeholder, whole-systems approach is needed for ports to become low carbon resilient gateways to growth, as a meeting point of critical infrastructure systems, cities and services.


Resilience Realized

The Resilience Realized Awards recognise projects around the world at the cutting edge of resilience.

City Water Resilience Approach

CWI Wheel diagram


Download the step by step methodology to help cities collaboratively build resilience to local water challenges, mapped with the OurWater online governance tool, as used by cities around the world.

Resilient Leadership – Round 5: 11 – 15 May 2020

“It made me think, are we actually learning? I’m not sure whether people are actually taking the time to rethink and let go of what they have believed for 40-50 years, and create space for new thinking”

In Round 5 our conversations with participants turned to how the pandemic, like any crisis, shines a spotlight on the pre-existing condition of our critical systems (teams, organizations, cities or society at large). The light in Covid-19’s case is particularly strong, but its light shines neutrally. What it reveals, however, can be suprising strength or troubling weakness.

To start with the weakness, a few examples. One city Chief Resilience Officer explained, perhaps unsurprisingly, how deprivation or wealth inequality in cities is certainly not a new or unique issue. It has always been there but the crisis makes it so much more obvious, and: “If you don’t deal with the realities of those distributions of social and economic problems, it becomes a vulnerability for your city’s overall resilience.”

Another CRO expressed shock at how historic bureaucratic hostilities between different tiers of government are severely impeding their city’s ability to provide and fund much needed testing facilities. “It’s not a personal thing. It’s well-meaning people in a fractured system.” Such institutional reluctance to collaborate may be a source of irritation in normal times and seem not worth the trouble of repairing, but in a pandemic it can have truly dire consequences.

Another of the CROs shared how institutionalised norms regarding marriage and what constitutes a family, founded in the nation’s dominant religious culture, effectively marginalises whole sections of the population during lockdown, as their choice as to whom they may lock down with is curtailed by regulation. Will such biases be allowed to remain undisturbed as we come out of this?

By contrast, the Covid spotlight is illuminating some striking pre-existing strengths. One participant, a native of Denmark but working in the US, shared how the Danish government had, from the outset, urged all Danes to return home and be taken care of there. “That was an eye-opener: ‘This country takes care of its citizens!’ And our universal healthcare system makes you feel safe. I can see the huge difference. I feel safe here, I am not hurrying back to the US.”

At risk of stating the obvious, our conversations this week reminded us in a tangible way that an external threat like a virus or natural disaster never arrives to find a clean slate. The health and resilience of the human and human-made systems it meets will determine its destructive power. This sharp lesson seems so clear in the heat of the working-out of a crisis. The maturity of our leadership may be what decides whether we remember it and build back stronger in the aftermath.

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