100 Resilient Cities Explore the Strategy

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Los Angeles has always been a global destination for dreamers, doers, thinkers, and creators.

Yet this dream comes with the growing pressures of our susceptibility to the impacts of climate change and aging infrastructure. We are all deeply aware that it is a question of when, not if Los Angeles will face the next Big One—whether it’s an earthquake, flood, heatwave, fire, or other disaster with long-term impacts. While we have made great strides over the past 25 years, it’s time to do more—to strengthen and create new partnerships, to change the way our government collaborates and to empower and secure our communities—so that we can work together to make L.A. a global model of resilience.

Building a more resilient Los Angeles starts with addressing the needs of our most vulnerable populations and neighborhoods. Too often, those who are least equipped to handle the effects of catastrophic events end up suffering the most. And empowering our most vulnerable—children, immigrants, and lower-income residents, among others—is not just about emergency preparedness. It is about directly addressing those underlying daily stresses—such as poverty, financial security, and affordable housing—and ensuring that all Angelenos feel safe and secure in their daily lives. It also means bringing neighbors together to strengthen our collective resources and social bonds and innovating creative solutions along the way.

Resilient Los Angeles is the culmination of a months-long process to cultivate partnerships and develop actions that increase Los Angeles’ resilience. It is also the beginning of a greater citywide commitment to continue to collaborate, form new partnerships, and design new initiatives in a continuous process that will contribute to a safer and stronger Los Angeles.

01 Safe and Thriving Angelenos Building the capacity and resilience of individual families and businesses.

02 Stronger and Connected Neighborhoods Recovery starting in local communities, and empowering and engaging neighborhoods to foster resilience and cohesion.

03 Prepared and Responsive City From integrating tools and technology to improve decision-making to modernizing infrastructure and developing ways to provide safe and affordable housing.

04 Pioneering and Collaborative Partner Leading to uphold principles of climate resilience, engaging public, private and philanthropic leadership to be a model.

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01

Building the capacity and resilience of individual families and businesses.

A resilient city begins with Angelenos.

Each Angeleno has skills, talents, and passions that contribute to our thriving community. These skills are needed to prepare and plan for “blue-sky days” just as much as they are needed to respond and recover quickly when faced with a disruption or crisis. As we collectively work toward achieving a more resilient Los Angeles, we can all take action to strengthen our personal resilience and the resilience of those around us.

Angelenos will face future challenges both known and new as we contend with a changing climate and the knowledge that it’s not a matter of if but when a large earthquake will hit our region.

Simple actions we take now will increase our safety and security today while preparing us for the challenges of tomorrow. Angelenos will build personal resilience by staying healthy, connected, and financially secure and by investing in sustainable and resilient measures to make our homes and our workplaces stronger and safer. We will build community resilience by working with businesses and community organizations to provide critical services. We will strengthen our supply chains and train employees to be safe and prepared. We will build a more resilient future by teaching young people about local risks and vulnerabilities and empowering them to be innovative problem-solvers who will continue to tackle these challenges.

Specific goals include:

  1. Educating and engaging Angelenos around risk reduction and preparedness so they can be self-sufficient for at least seven to 14 days after a major attack.
  2. Developing additional pathways to employment and the delivery of financial literary tools to support our most vulnerable Angelenos.
  3. Cultivating leadership, stewardship, and equity with young Angelenos.
Photo: LAFD Photo: Alex Gillman

02

Recovery starting in local communities, and empowering and engaging neighborhoods to foster resilience and cohesion.

When disaster strikes, recovery starts in local communities and networks, which are the foundation for building a resilient city.

Because Los Angeles is nearly 500 square miles, with a landscape that spans beaches and mountain ranges, no two neighborhoods have the same risks, vulnerabilities, or opportunities. In Los Angeles, one size does not fit all. We must work together to identify the greatest shocks and stresses within each neighborhood. Some of these risks include sea level rise in Venice, wildfires in Chatsworth, landslides in Hollywood, power outages in San Pedro, and increasing extreme heat in El Sereno.

Disparities in health, wealth, and access to goods and services exist in far too many of our neighborhoods. Addressing inequality through inclusive policies, programs, and practices—and working with trusted community partners—will increase neighborhood-based resources and stewardship, ultimately creating greater social cohesion.

Specific goals include:

  1. Building social cohesion and increasing preparedness through community collaboration
  2. Increasing programs and partnerships that foster welcoming neighborhoods
  3. Preparing and protecting those most vulnerable to increasing extreme heat
  4. Reducing health and wellness disparities across neighborhoods
Photo: Photo: CicLAvia
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The Los Angeles River was channelized with concrete in the late 1930s and continues to be significantly impacted by polluted urban runoff year-round. These conditions negatively impact the river’s water quality and the flora and fauna native to this ecosystem. The City is working with stakeholders to identify strategies to protect and enhance the biodiversity of the region. These strategies will likely include stormwater capture, stream and tributary protection, increased tree canopy, restored native vegetation and riparian habitat, removal of invasive species, and habitat improvements for birds and mammals. In addition, stormwater capture strategies are in the planning phase and will benefit the river ecosystem.

 

03

From integrating tools and technology to improve decision-making to modernizing infrastructure and developing ways to provide safe and affordable housing.

When key resilience values like adaptability, flexibility, and resourcefulness are integrated into a local government’s services and systems, they improve how the city functions.

A well-run and livable Los Angeles improves Angelenos’ quality of life both on a daily basis and in times of crisis. It strengthens systems, services, and assets to withstand and respond to disruption and help all Angelenos thrive in recovery.

The City of Los Angeles’ resilience-building efforts are driven by the need to take the long view and assess the long-term impacts of the choices we make today. Los Angeles prides itself on its size and diversity. This is a city with over four million residents, over one million buildings, and 500,000 active businesses across neighborhoods that span nearly 500 square miles.

Providing reliable services on this scale requires vast and complex infrastructure, much of which is aging and in need of replacement or repair. To create a more resilient city, our government must invest in infrastructure projects with the adaptability and flexibility to serve Angelenos well into the future. A resilient city looks to the future and rebuilds based on lessons learned from the past. It addresses many hazards and achieves multiple benefits so that it is prepared to function and respond in the face of uncertainty and distress.

Specific goals include:

  1. Integrating resilience principles into government to prioritize our most vulnerable people, places, and systems
  2. Equipping government with technology and data to increase situational awareness and expedite post-disaster recovery
  3. Providing safe and affordable housing for all Angelenos
  4. Restoring, rebuilding and modernizing Los Angeles’ infrastructure
Photo: Photo: Office of Mayor Garcetti

04

Leading to uphold principles of climate resilience, engaging public, private and philanthropic leadership to be a model.

As a major city in the United States, globally, and in the 100 Resilient Cities network, Los Angeles has long been a leader in advancing innovation, technology, and forward-thinking policies.

This pioneering spirit can be traced to the City’s partnerships with research institutions, businesses, community leaders, and public agencies. In looking beyond our city boundaries, we constantly seek to leverage our investments, collaborate meaningfully, and learn with and from others.

In partnership with leading universities and labs—including world-class academics, scientists, and researchers—the City uses cutting-edge science and data to inform planning and decision-support processes. Given Los Angeles’ size and infrastructure, the City encourages and supports sustainable and resilient marketplaces to grow through purchasing power, broader citywide policies, and partnerships.

Los Angeles boasts extraordinary diversity in its people, neighborhoods, and natural habitats. This diversity attracts both private and public partners to pioneer new pilots, technologies, and programs to meet challenges, reach for opportunities, and serve as a model for other cities around the world. As part of the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) Network, Los Angeles is collaborating with global resilience leaders and helping to set a course for the emerging resilience field.

Specific goals include:

  1. Using climate science to develop adaptation strategies consistent with the Paris Climate Agreement
  2. Fostering a healthy and connected Los Angeles River system
  3. Strengthening regional systems and fortify critical infrastructure
  4. Growing public, private, and philanthropic partnerships that will increase resources dedicated to building resilience
Photo: Photo: Office of Mayor Garcetti

Our Resilience Team

  • Marissa Aho

    Chief Resilience Officer

  • Sabrina Bornstein

    Deputy Chief Resilience Officer

Read Los Angeles' Resilience Strategy