Here are ten signs that can indicate how resilient your city is.
1. Your commute options aren’t limited to a car. You can take advantage of bike sharing…
Bike share programs make short-term bicycle rentals available to the public via unattended stations, combining the convenience and flexibility of a private vehicle with the accessibility and reliability of mass transit.
2. …or rapid transit…
Rapid transit is a form of rail-based urban mass transit that runs underground, on an elevated track, or at street level. Rapid transit differs from other forms of mass transit in that it has exclusive right-of-way, with no access to other vehicles or pedestrians.
3. …or even walk to work, thanks to your city’s high walkability score.
Walkability measures how conducive an area is to walking. Factors that affect walkability include street connectivity, the presence of well-maintained footpaths and pedestrian crossings, and nearby destinations.
All three public transit options are good for the environment—and give residents alternative ways to get around a city that aren’t reliant on gas prices or supply.
4. If you do drive a car, you look for an electric car, a hybrid, or one that supports biofuel.
Biofuels are biomass—the energy from plants and plant-derived materials—that have been converted to liquid fuels. The two most common types of biofuels today are ethanol and biodiesel. Biofuels decrease our reliance on the world’s dwindling supply of oil and can be replenished in a sustainable way.
5. Your office building’s ventilation system doesn’t need air conditioning in the summer and uses only a fraction of the energy of a conventional building: As an example of biomimicry, it’s modeled after self-cooling termite mounds.
Mother Nature has developed resilience tactics that work. Biomimicry is the practice of applying learnings about design and processes from the natural world to manmade endeavors—in other words, “innovation inspired by nature.”
6. After the Internet crashes at work, you talk to your co-workers about mesh networks.
Rather than passing through centralized access points known as ISPs, a mesh network spreads itself between tens, hundreds, or even thousands of nodes that are able to talk to one another directly. Unlike the traditional Internet, which fails when any single ISP fails, a mesh network can only fail if every node in the network fails—ensuring that in times of urgent need, communication remains reliable.
7. Eating local means lunch with produce from community-supported agriculture.
Community-supported agriculture (CSA) consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm, with growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. A strong network of CSAs creates a sense of community, an increased variety of produce, and environmental benefits—there is little travel cost or emissions due to shipping compared to the traditional food supply.
8. Being a member of your local neighborhood association isn’t just about meeting new people—it’s an opportunity to build your community’s social resilience.
Social resilience is defined by a community’s ability to be ready for, adapt to, and recover from disaster. Strong social networks are best equipped to handle shocks and stresses when they accurately understand risk, are cognizant of how resources are used and distributed, and place importance on community and social connections.
9. But you can’t stay too long at tonight’s neighborhood gathering—you’ve also got to get to a participatory budget meeting.
Participatory budgeting directly involves local people in making decisions on the spending and priorities for a public budget, giving residents a strong sense of ownership in city life. Meetings bring together representatives from all parts of the community to discuss and vote on spending priorities, spending proposals, and process monitoring.
10. You value living in a resilient city, and you want to pay it forward: When the holidays roll around, impact investments to Kiva or Fundraise are your go-to gift, helping build stronger communities around the world.
Impact investments are made into companies, organizations, and funds to generate measurable, beneficial social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Impact investments can be made in both emerging and developed markets and help create resilient communities around the world.
What else does your city do to promote its resilience in your life? Share your ideas in the comments or via the Twitter link on the side bar.
Head photo: Stefan, Flickr