Building Resilience in the Face of Crisis: a Focus on People and Systems

Global Alliance for Urban Crises
Publication language
Date published
01 Feb 2019
Research, reports and studies
Disaster preparedness, resilience and risk reduction, Response and recovery, Urban

This paper represents an understanding of urban resilience in relation to urban crises from the perspective of the members of the Global Alliance for Urban Crises (GAUC), all of which have different mandates, responsibilities and areas of focus. Constituencies span across civil society, local authorities, academia, and the built environment, as well as humanitarian and development agencies. What unites this diverse group is the pursuit of building urban resilience before, during, and after crises, be they naturally-triggered or human-induced, localized or widespread across cities or towns. With this diversity of the audience in mind, the purpose of this paper is to provide high-level guidance on resilience building to better link short-term, life-saving responses to longer-term, more sustainable programming throughout a crisis.

This paper begins with an explanation of the value of resilience in relation to crisis response. It then discusses how towns and cities can be viewed as systems (interconnected components), and how a focus on the interconnectedness of people and systems such as water, power, housing and healthcare, for example, may provide a more relevant and appropriate response to urban crises. The aim of focusing on resilient urban systems and people before and after a crisis is to bring about a more sustainable urban future in line with global frameworks, such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the New Urban Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.