THe Blog

December 03, 2015

Smart Cities Must Be Resilient

Shamika Ravi  wrote in Times of India that the recent Chennai floods remind us that "the pace of urbanization has to be managed to face pressures of climate change". Excerpts below:

 

"The resilience of a city is its ability to persevere in the face of emergency, so it can continue functioning despite serious challenges. The commonly cited examples of cities that have built resilience against natural disasters are Budapest against floods and Venice against rising tides.

 

A very interesting programme has been designed by the Rockefeller Foundation to promote urban resilience around the world... The aim is to identify 100 Resilient Cities across the world that 'have demonstrated a dedicated commitment to building their own capacities to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back rapidly from shocks and stresses'. I was very surprised to find that despite our cities constantly battling natural disasters, the only Indian city to be included in this programme was Surat, Gujarat...

 

Surat is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and is also one of the most affected by climate change. Over the last decades, Surat has experienced 23 floods, including one in 2013, and an outbreak of plague in 1994. The city’s most pressing urban resilience priorities are to build community and social resilience for early response to floods, preventing vector-borne diseases and improving nutrition, water management and the electric grid...

 

For each Indian city, the question of resilience will lead to answers that are likely to be pragmatic and varied. But in the national smart cities initiative, we must make resilience an important criterion for evaluating strategies of individual cities. This will make the city government and corresponding planners think seriously about the best practices for dealing with a variety of crises... Chennai must learn from the experience and resilience of Surat."

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