Tackling Poverty Through Urban Resilience

In the developing world, explosive urban growth is creating significant challenges for national, regional and local governments trying to manage the process of sustainable urbanization. With 95% of urban expansion in the next decades taking place in the developing world, providing sustainable services for the poor in terms of better housing, sanitation, transport and jobs is critical to the future of mankind. Urban resilience programs must support this challenge by developing solutions for sustainable cities and communities.

Cities across the world are facing challenges from the effects of rapid urban change and increasingly devastating natural disasters in urban areas such as floods, earthquakes and landslides. In this context, urban resilience will be measured by the ability of decision makers to support sustainable urban growth which can withstand shocks and bounce back from major disruption. Urban resilience is key in fostering long-term economic development, catalysing poverty reduction, creating jobs and promoting inclusiveness.

ICF approaches urban resilience as a dynamic process in which cities are viewed as systems: we try to understand the unique components of urban areas, and then consider how their interaction can maximise the building of urban resilience over time. The most effective urban resilience programmes create  frameworks for effective collaboration between key stakeholders – particularly city authorities – in a way that builds trust, promotes ownership of activities and outputs, and empowers people by making them part of the resilience building process - achieving lasting transformative change.

Some 100 cities in both advanced and developing economies have relied on ICF for technical assistance, capacity building and monitoring and evaluation services to support their urban resilience journey. Projects have sought to improve the lives of the urban poor by helping governments to understand the complex realities and needs of people living in poverty; and to develop initiatives that help the urban poor withstand the stresses and shocks of disasters. By taking a holistic approach to urban resilience, governments working with ICF use our research and experience to guide decision making, assess the impacts of particular hazards, craft locally adapted resilience strategies, and draw on lessons learned elsewhere to create policies and take meaningful decisions that improve resilience to disasters.