What is Resilience?

100 Resilient Cities defines resilience as "the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience ."

Simply put, resilience enables people to bounce back stronger after tough times, and live better in good times. What we have learned from our initiative work over the past several years is that, no matter what the city’s conditions, resilient systems share and demonstrate certain core characteristics.

Pillar 1: Constant Learning

The ability to internalize past experiences linked with robust feedback loops that sense, provide foresight, and allow new solutions.
Read the latest on Constant Learning:

What Old Transit Maps Can Teach Us About a City’s Future

What Old Transit Maps Can Teach Us About a City’s Future

Google and Microsoft Are Mapping Rio’s Favelas for the First Time

Google and Microsoft Are Mapping Rio’s Favelas for the First Time

Honolulu Is Building America’s First Fully Driverless Transit System

Honolulu Is Building America’s First Fully Driverless Transit System

Resilience Roundup: Green Neighborhoods, Bangkok’s River, and Cities That Play

Resilience Roundup: Green Neighborhoods, Bangkok’s River, and Cities That Play

Buses Are The Future of Urban Transport. No, Really.

Buses Are The Future of Urban Transport. No, Really.

If It’s Raining in New York, You Might Want to Wait Before You Flush

If It’s Raining in New York, You Might Want to Wait Before You Flush

Sick Cities: How to Beat Pandemics That Spread Like We Live in One Big Metropolis

Sick Cities: How to Beat Pandemics That Spread Like We Live in One Big Metropolis

Dutch Scientist Develops New Way to Turn Sludge into Drinking Water

Dutch Scientist Develops New Way to Turn Sludge into Drinking Water

Pretty Park, Affordable Rent: Making Neighborhoods “Just Green Enough”

Pretty Park, Affordable Rent: Making Neighborhoods “Just Green Enough”

What Rwanda Can Teach U.S. Cities About Getting Rid of Plastic Bags

What Rwanda Can Teach U.S. Cities About Getting Rid of Plastic Bags

Introducing Resilience Innovators

Introducing Resilience Innovators

One Simple Idea That Could Revolutionize Wetlands Conservation in New Orleans

One Simple Idea That Could Revolutionize Wetlands Conservation in New Orleans

We Built this City: the Smartest Urban Crowdfunding Projects – In Pictures

We Built this City: the Smartest Urban Crowdfunding Projects – In Pictures

Largest Urban Cable Car Soars over ‘Desperate’ Commuters of La Paz

Largest Urban Cable Car Soars over ‘Desperate’ Commuters of La Paz

An Inside Look at Boulder’s Resilience

An Inside Look at Boulder’s Resilience

Why Licence Plate Bans Don’t Cut Smog

Why Licence Plate Bans Don’t Cut Smog

Jacksonville: A Century of Resilience

Jacksonville: A Century of Resilience

Climate Data Initiative and Resilient Cities

Climate Data Initiative and Resilient Cities

New Design Approaches Address Sandy-Affected Region

New Design Approaches Address Sandy-Affected Region

Teaching Spatial Justice

Teaching Spatial Justice

Durban Finally Gains Ground in Its 100-Year Battle Against Sand

Durban Finally Gains Ground in Its 100-Year Battle Against Sand

Notes from Brazil — Civic Engagement as Key Resilience Measure

Notes from Brazil — Civic Engagement as Key Resilience Measure

Hobbled By Apartheid-Era Planning, Durban Announces a Transit Transformation

Hobbled By Apartheid-Era Planning, Durban Announces a Transit Transformation

Durban Loses a Third of Its Drinking Water Before It Reaches Its Destination

Durban Loses a Third of Its Drinking Water Before It Reaches Its Destination

Medellín’s Strategy for Driving Down Crime: Add More Gondolas

Medellín’s Strategy for Driving Down Crime: Add More Gondolas

On the Path to a More Resilient New York

On the Path to a More Resilient New York

12 Months Later

12 Months Later

In Sandy’s Aftermath, Some Residents Opt Out of Coastal Living

In Sandy’s Aftermath, Some Residents Opt Out of Coastal Living

Slumdog Urbanism

Slumdog Urbanism

How to Assess Your City

How to Assess Your City

Seven Principles for Big Data and Resilience Projects

Seven Principles for Big Data and Resilience Projects

City Mayors More Engaged in Resilience Planning

City Mayors More Engaged in Resilience Planning

Is Suburban Sprawl on its Way Back?

Is Suburban Sprawl on its Way Back?

Translating Resilience

Translating Resilience

Resilience in Bangkok

Resilience in Bangkok

Lessons from Fukushima

Lessons from Fukushima

Rebound: Building a More Resilient World

Rebound: Building a More Resilient World

Century of the City: No Time to Lose

Century of the City: No Time to Lose

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Pillar 2: Rapid Rebound

The capacity to re-establish function, re-organize, and avoid long-term disruptions.
Read the latest on Rapid Rebound:

How Twitter Helps Rescue Disaster Victims

How Twitter Helps Rescue Disaster Victims

Do You Know Your City’s Natural Catastrophe Risk?

Do You Know Your City’s Natural Catastrophe Risk?

The Many Legitimate Reasons Informal Settlement-dwellers Don’t Evacuate before Storms

The Many Legitimate Reasons Informal Settlement-dwellers Don’t Evacuate before Storms

Tokyo’s Amazing Disaster-Prep Center

Tokyo’s Amazing Disaster-Prep Center

What Does it Mean to Rebuild a City?

What Does it Mean to Rebuild a City?

Ishinomaki: New Communities Rise from Tsunami’s Devastating Divisions

Ishinomaki: New Communities Rise from Tsunami’s Devastating Divisions

CDC Director on What Public Health Teaches Us about Resilience

CDC Director on What Public Health Teaches Us about Resilience

How Centuries of Destruction Honed Tokyo’s Unparalleled Disaster Resilience

How Centuries of Destruction Honed Tokyo’s Unparalleled Disaster Resilience

Resilience After 9/11

Resilience After 9/11

Good for Business

Good for Business

Art & Evacuation

Art & Evacuation

Stronger than Sandy

Stronger than Sandy

Who’s Most Affected?

Who’s Most Affected?

Resilience Begins at Home

Resilience Begins at Home

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Pillar 3: Limited or "Safe" Failure

Prevents failures from rippling across systems.
Read the latest on Limited or "Safe" Failure:

You Can’t Stop Urban Flooding

You Can’t Stop Urban Flooding

New Law Will Lift New York’s Waterfront Structures Up In the Air

New Law Will Lift New York’s Waterfront Structures Up In the Air

Six Ways the New York City Subway Could Survive the Next Sandy

Six Ways the New York City Subway Could Survive the Next Sandy

Building To Withstand The Next Haiyan

Building To Withstand The Next Haiyan

The Five Fastest Growing Cities

The Five Fastest Growing Cities

Saving Lives in a Hotter World

Saving Lives in a Hotter World

Flood Prone yet Fiercely Defended, Rotterdam Takes its Methods Global

Flood Prone yet Fiercely Defended, Rotterdam Takes its Methods Global

Executive Order: Preparing the U.S. for the Impacts of Climate Change

Executive Order: Preparing the U.S. for the Impacts of Climate Change

Will Floods Cost Coastal Cities $1 Trillion a Year by 2050?

Will Floods Cost Coastal Cities $1 Trillion a Year by 2050?

Saving Surat: Building a Resilient City

Saving Surat: Building a Resilient City

Resilient Buildings

Resilient Buildings

Faces of Resilience

Faces of Resilience

Resilience in Jakarta

Resilience in Jakarta

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Pillar 4: Flexibility

The ability to change, evolve, and adapt to alternative strategies in the face of disaster.
Read the latest on Flexibility:

Can Freeways Make a City More Resilient?

Can Freeways Make a City More Resilient?

Kigali’s Future or Costly Fantasy? Plan to Reshape Rwandan City Divides Opinion

Kigali’s Future or Costly Fantasy? Plan to Reshape Rwandan City Divides Opinion

The Slum That Became Manila’s Recycling Champ

The Slum That Became Manila’s Recycling Champ

Durban Moves Its Slum-Dwellers Into Converted Office Buildings

Durban Moves Its Slum-Dwellers Into Converted Office Buildings

Los Angeles: a City that Outgrew its Masterplan. Thank God

Los Angeles: a City that Outgrew its Masterplan. Thank God

How Social Resilience Can Save Your City

How Social Resilience Can Save Your City

India’s New “Green Cities” Are Devoid of All Street Life

India’s New “Green Cities” Are Devoid of All Street Life

Visionaries Unbound: The Future of Transforming Cities

Visionaries Unbound: The Future of Transforming Cities

Europe’s Most Car-Obsessed City Tries to Make Its Traffic Jams Greener

Europe’s Most Car-Obsessed City Tries to Make Its Traffic Jams Greener

Where You Can Walk Could Save Your Life

Where You Can Walk Could Save Your Life

Resilient Pittsboro

Resilient Pittsboro

Wetlands Transform a City’s Sewage Through a Bit of Solar Alchemy

Wetlands Transform a City’s Sewage Through a Bit of Solar Alchemy

Ten Cities that are Leading on Climate Change

Ten Cities that are Leading on Climate Change

Beijing: The City of Long Distances

Beijing: The City of Long Distances

NYS 2100: Building Resilience in New York

NYS 2100: Building Resilience in New York

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Pillar 5: Spare Capacity

Ensures that there is a back-up or alternative available when a vital component of a system fails.
Read the latest on Spare Capacity:

Christchurch: after the Earthquake, a City Rebuilt in Whose Image?

Christchurch: after the Earthquake, a City Rebuilt in Whose Image?

Urban Farms Provide More Than Food

Urban Farms Provide More Than Food

Is This The Greenest Building in America?

Is This The Greenest Building in America?

The Slow Web: Using Community Networks to Build Urban Resilience

The Slow Web: Using Community Networks to Build Urban Resilience

Young & Resilient

Young & Resilient

Feeding More with Less

Feeding More with Less

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Resilience Resources

Learn more about urban resilience with the reports and resources below.

The City Resilient

The City Resilient

Building communities that can recover, persist or even thrive amid disruption.

Resilience Begins at Home

Resilience Begins at Home

The results of a major survey show family, neighborhood and community are vital components of responding to shocks and stresses.