Resilience Will Continue To Be a Key Factor in Attracting People and Investors to European Cities, According To a New ULI Report

For more information, contact:
Robert Krueger at 1-202-624-7051; rkrueger@uli.org

LONDON (February 17, 2011) – The ability to effectively manage short-term and long-term setbacks and ultimately prosper is a must for cities seeking to attract long-term investors, according to a new report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a global research and education institute dedicated to responsible land use and innovative community building.

Resilient Cities: Surviving in a New World looks at the principles of resilient cities as well as the issues and solutions related to building resilience in European cities. According to the report, resilience should be a main goal for all cities, since international institutions and the private sector are attracted to cities that are better prepared to handle uncertain times.

Resilient Cities is based on the conclusions of a workshop sponsored in September 2010 by the ULI Urban Investment Network, an initiative of the Institute’s operations in Europe. The network, developed in collaboration with leading European cities, institutions and private sector organizations, aims to foster an ongoing dialogue between public- and private- sector leaders on ways to bridge investment gaps and overcome urban development challenges.

The purpose of the workshop was to provide an open dialogue for leaders in the private and public sector to share best practices and develop solutions for building resilience in cities. The relevant case studies discussed at the workshop and examined in the report include: Turin, Manchester, Istanbul, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, and Malmö.

The report focuses on two agendas that cities must follow in order to be both resilient and attractive for investment:

  • Continuity: In the face of severe and sudden shocks to a city such as an earthquake, hurricane, terrorist attack, flooding, or large scale public health challenges cities need to have advance arrangements for business and community continuity, asset protection, and rapid recovery. Second, in the longer term, cities need to be able to use these events as catalysts and opportunities for positive change.
  • Adaptability: Whether in the face of sudden and severe shocks, or in the face of broader trends in the economy, demographics, environment, energy use, and resource management, cities need to be able to adapt to the modern world to ensure that infrastructure and land use are flexible to changing demand, and consistent with global and societal imperatives. This means that cities become less susceptible to shocks and less exposed to economic, environment, and social problems.

“With over half of the global population now living in urban areas, building resilient cities is more important than ever,” says the report. “Long-term resilience for cities requires that they be both able to achieve continuity and adaptability” and therefore, “a multifaceted approach is clearly needed to build a resilient city.”

Acknowledging the many facets of a resilient city, the report summarizes the key points of the workshop’s targeted conversations. The report details the general criteria in determining a resilient and investable development project ; what the key aspects that make a resilient city attractive to the private sector; the relationship between building age and energy efficiency; diversity’s role in building resilience; and the private sector’s desire to locate their operations in cities that have available and quality infrastructure.

In addition, Resilient Cities lists numerous principles for defining a resilient city. Some of the report’s Principles for Resilient Cities include:

  • Build good governance and strong city leadership that can think ahead, and work to tackle city weaknesses consistently across electoral cycles.
  • Encourage and promote economic, social, physical and cultural diversity.
  • Balance investment in innovation with investment in existing assets.
  • Develop collaboration between the public and private sector that is based on creating and sustaining value for both parties and protecting that value.
  • Strive for integrated and flexible infrastructure systems with continuous investment.
  • Encourage business and institutional leadership to challenge city government to make the city more resilient and to hold city government to account.
  • Foster citizen engagement in order to make the city for flexible to change.
  • Focus on education of citizens to encourage engagement and long term behavioral change in how the city functions.
  • Make use of new technologies to monitor and manage city performance and make the city smarter.
  • Include evolution and adaptability in the story of the city as part of a coherent city plan, vision, story, and culture.

The report was published by ULI’s European operations, which serves the Institute’s 2,300-plus members throughout Europe. The principles for resilient cities were agreed upon by the ULI Urban Investment Network workshop participants.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute (uli.org) is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines, including more than 2,300 members in Western and Eastern Europe.