Building Resilient cities

Global urbanisation is predicted to continue, with estimates that by 2030, 60 per cent of the world’s population will be living in cities. While cities can bring many benefits, as drivers of economic growth and by providing critical mass that enables services to be delivered efficiently, there are also challenges.

Diverse and interlocking forces acting on cities provide opportunity, but may also subject the population, or sections of it, to distress. The causes may be environmental, technological, economic, social or political, and act over timescales of days to decades.

A more resilient city should allow responses to these forces that can improve the lives of its inhabitants or limit the negative impacts. Its networks and systems should work to support its people in adapting and recovering. 

At the Institute for Global Innovation, our researchers are focusing on how communities and individuals experience change or ‘shocks’. We are exploring the responses at different levels of analysis, for example individual, community, city and national, across multiple sub-systems and timescales.

The Resilient Cities theme draws on research expertise that covers infrastructure, decarbonisation, air quality, physical and mental health, governance, public services and economics. 

This interdisciplinary approach is enabling us to reassess the concept of resilience and its measurement as it is applied to cities undergoing transition. Using a conventional framing of resilience may not always be appropriate, especially in the context of LMICs. We are drawing on our existing research and partnerships to co-develop context-appropriate responses with local stakeholders in city regions including Nairobi, Sao Paulo, Kathmandu, and Beirut, as well as our home, Birmingham.

The Institute for Global Innovation: Resilient Cities

Read our academics blog

Strengthening the Weapons of the Weak: Informality, Urban Reforms and Sub-Sahara African Cities

Read research by our academics

Spotlight on resilient cities

Building City Resilience in Nairobi

Diagnosing our cities: Quest

Can an urban diagnostics approach keep cities in good health?

Tackling Urban Air Pollution

Outputs from Kenya and India

Building Resilient Cities

Our multidisciplinary research

Led by Dr Jonathan Radcliffe