Kyoto releases Urban Resilience Strategy to build sustainable, vibrant future

The Kyoto Resilience Strategy guides the historic city in strengthening its ability to survive, adapt and thrive amidst the challenges of the 21st century

KYOTO, JAPAN – The City of Kyoto, in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) today unveiled Resilient Kyoto, the first urban resilience strategy for the historic city. Resilient Kyoto calls for all members of society to collectively create a roadmap to a sustainable, equitable future. A result of two years of joint effort across multiple stakeholder groups, Resilient Kyoto lays out a set of tangible initiatives to build resilience amidst its most pervasive shocks and stresses brought about by urbanisation, globalisation and climate change.

Daisaku Kadokawa, Mayor of Kyoto said, “In this rapidly changing domestic and global dynamic, today’s Kyoto city faces a variety of resilience challenges.  These challenges include more frequent and intense natural disasters along with a declined and aging population which means fewer citizens to support our economy, childcare and local communities.  Now is the time for us to embrace and refine the power of the resilience approach to overcome our current challenges and create a new future.”

Hiroyuki Fujita, Chief Resilience Officer, Kyoto said, “Kyoto is already resilient in the sense that we have functioned as a city for over a thousand years.  Our strengths are deeply embedded in Kyoto city and they include the spirit of Kyoto’s citizens, our traditional values, our respect for nature and our leadership in manufacturing.  However, our city’s fundamental resilience will not be passed on if we do not all act in response to the challenges that our city faces.  This is not just a strategy.  It is our effort to create a roadmap to a future sustainable sociey.”

Lauren Sorkin, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, 100RC said, “The ancient cities in our network have an innate sense of resilience and Kyoto is no exception.  Having thrived for the last 1,000 years, Kyoto is now at an inflection point where it is necessary to invest in the foundations for a resilient and sustainable future.  This strategy draws a roadmap to a modern Kyoto that honors its traditions while creating a vibrant, connected community.”

Resilient Kyoto is closely aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and lays out six key pillars and a total of 18 goals for building a stable and balanced future of the city. Some of the key goals and actions include:

Growing and Integrating Generations: Kyoto will cultivate its future resilience leaders through fostering an inclusive society.

  • In response to increasing social isolation due to the break-down of community cohesion, Kyoto will cultivate resilience thinking and capacity in every stage of life. By fostering an inclusive, accepting society that advances gender equality and welcomes new residents to Kyoto’s universities and workforce, Kyoto can improve intergenerational cohesion, the local economy and citizen wellbeing, all critical to Kyoto’s resilience.

Engaging Communities in Resilience: Kyoto will enable participatory governance at the local and metropolitan level.

  • Kyoto will foster public participation in city planning and community development in both local and regional levels by funding citizen-led improvement projects, promoting healthy work-life balance and engaging senior citizens as valuable members of society. In addition to residents, Kyoto will also involve local businesses and stakeholders to improve social services and the health and wellbeing of all citizens.

Linking Economy and Culture: Kyoto will foster economic development that benefits from and fosters Kyoto’s cultural heritage.

  • As Kyoto faces a declining local economy, it is met with the challenge of boosting its various industries without compromising its rich natural and cultural heritage. Kyoto will revitalise the economy by institutionalising culture and the arts in education and tourism sectors and promoting innovation in its traditional manufacturing sector.

Increasing Cityscape Livability: Kyoto will cultivate a safe and livable urban cityscape for all.

  • In response to land blight and deterioration of urban landscapes caused by natural and human-induced disasters, Kyoto seeks to sustain its unique cityscape and architectural heritage by revitalising and expanding public infrastructure and vacant traditional homes and neighbourhoods. In order to create a safe, secure urban environment for all, Kyoto also aims to improve public transportation systems and diversify local industries.

Leading the Way in Environmental Protection: Kyoto will become a demonstration city for environmental protection.

  • In the face of local degradation and global climate change, Kyoto will foster a natural environment that supports its lifestyle and culture by promoting a green economy and city-wide collaboration in climate action. These measures will sustain Kyoto’s unique landscape, cityscape and architectural heritage as the city grows and develops.

Reducing Exposure to Future Shocks: Kyoto will empower citizens and communities to prepare for shocks.

  • Since Kyoto faces frequent, intense natural disasters, it will engage citizens with the built environment for disaster prevention and preparedness by using technology to enhance disaster communication efforts, disaster-proofing the city’s evacuation centre network and strengthening community service groups. Kyoto will also enhance its water supply, sewage and stormwater management assets to maintain urban functions.

Kyoto joins Toyama in becoming leaders of urban resilience in Japan as the only cities in the country to have published urban resilience strategies.  Produced based on extensive research and contributions by representatives from municipal and national government departments, various business and citizen stakeholder groups, the implementation of Resilient Kyoto is expected to require a whole-of-government effort across over 18 departments and 14 Ward/Branch Offices.

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For further information, please contact:
Kyoto: Hiroyuki Fujita (rckyoto@city.kyoto.lg.jp; +81 75 212 6789)
100 Resilient Cities: Ashley Knapp, aknapp@100rc.org / +65 8168 9481

About 100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation
100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic, and physical challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each of our cities who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a Resilience Strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. For more information, visit: www.100ResilientCities.org