Our aspirations for a more resilient Rio are focused on evolving our city’s relationship with water, its built infrastructure, and its citizens.
A resilient Rio is one that embraces its natural environment, builds for the future, and empowers its people. All of the initiatives previewed below involve concepts, projects, and specific actions that are transversal and multidisciplinary. Connection, collaboration, and the identification of co-benefits are the foundation of our strategy, and the means by which we’ll make Rio a global benchmark for urban resilience as we look towards the city’s 500th anniversary in 2065.
We will adapt to climate change, reduce and reuse, and restore bodies of water to allow for drinking water and recreation.
Like many coastal cities, Rio is defined by its relationship with water. Rising sea levels and intensification of storm surges resulting from climate change pose a constant threat. Meanwhile, insufficient drainage of rainwater leads to chronic flooding and landslides.
Our first step in adapting to the realities of extreme weather will be forming a Climate Change Panel. Comprising experts from various fields of science, the Panel will study climate trends and how they affect the city. The knowledge gained will inform policy decisions and funding of urban planning projects. By focusing on areas of cross-impact — e.g., how rising sea levels impact the economy — the Panel will make addressing climate change a top priority across sectors.
By focusing on areas of cross-impact we’ll make addressing climate change a top priority across sectors.
We will create Climate Risk Maps that combine historical data and real-time inputs from sensors located in the homes of Cariocas to predict when and to what degree intense rainfall, strong winds, heat islands, rising tides, landslides and other shocks and stresses will impact different parts of Rio. These models will be shared with policy makers, utilities, and government agencies so they can better prepare for crises.
Rio will develop a strategy to guarantee consistent access to safe drinking water in the metropolitan area and the Guandu River Basin. In addition to diversifying and decentralizing water sources, the strategy will promote reduction of water consumption and the reuse of gray and rainwater for irrigation, and expanding permeable ground cover to minimize runoff and reduce the heat island effect. Meanwhile, we will commit to cleaning up Guanabara Bay and other bodies of water, and exploring their recreational and economic potential.
We will expand access to green space and strengthen our built and human infrastructure.
An initiative to replace 75 percent of Rio’s public lighting with LED bulbs will make public areas safer by providing brighter lighting, at the same time reducing energy costs. The new lights will be part of a “smart grid” that could eventually incorporate sensors that notify authorities of things like traffic conditions, neighborhood microclimates, saturation of road infrastructure, and criminal activity.
Our Square-Forest Project will plant 50,000 trees around the city, providing most residents with a green space within 15 minutes of their home. The program will focus on the northern and western parts of Rio, which currently have minimal tree cover. Adding additional amenities to city parks — such as water fountains that reduce the incidence of hospitalization and death due to heat exposure, and composting and recycling facilities — will make surrounding neighborhoods more resilient. Locals will travel to parks via expanded rapid-transit bus service, light rail, bike paths and other low-impact modes of transportation.
Rio will work with local first responders as well as international humanitarian aid organizations to devise a disaster recovery plan. By working with those who will be involved in recovery effort, including firefighters, civil defense, social welfare, and various government agencies, the city will improve its ability to respond quickly and effectively. The Plan will include an inventory of physical and intellectual resources from the entire metropolitan area, and include instructions for how citizens can participate in recovery efforts.
It’s time we harnessed solar energy to reduce dependence on conventional power sources that contribute to the region’s carbon footprint.
We’re also looking forward to institutionalizing the resilience-building protocols being put in place for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The work has already started, with local, state and federal authorities conducting training simulations of low-, medium-, and high-risk scenarios involving shocks and stresses related to extreme weather, infrastructure failures, and crime.
We’re also starting to think of solid and organic waste not as a chronic problem, but as an opportunity to generate value. Examples include collecting compost and delivering it to local farmers, and expanding recycling programs. Other initiatives include expanding sewage collection to 80 percent of the populated metropolitan area, and promoting solar power, beginning with the installation of solar panels on the roof of Rio’s City Hall.
Expanding Rio’s rapid transit bus system will connect more Cariocas (Rio residents) with opportunities to work and play.
We will mobilize citizens to make Rio stronger, through teaching resilience and encouraging low-carbon industries.
To ensure the adoption of resilience by the next generation, we’ll develop and deploy urban resilience curriculum through our Resilient Youth Program. The goal is to educate Rio’s children about the risks their city faces, and to encourage a culture of environmental awareness, prevention, and mitigation of shocks and stresses.
We’ll also offer a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in advanced resilience, ideally in partnership with a local university. The course will be aimed at the general public, as well as civil servants and local educators, and incorporate text, video, and comprehension tests. In addition to building their own resilience, students will learn how to incorporate resilience into their professions, whether they’re healthcare providers, entrepreneurs, law officers, etc.
We must abandon linear manufacturing (extract, use, dispose) in favor of a circular model of production that is regenerative by design.
We’ll expand our Resilient Communities program, educating community members about resilience and how to act during and after crises. Anyone who completes the training will be awarded a certificate acknowledging their commitment to building resilience.
We must also create jobs and industries that bring prosperity for all, without damaging our environment. Rio’s enormous demand for raw materials, combined with the increased waste production, presents a serious challenge. It’s clear we must abandon linear manufacturing (extract, use, dispose) in favor of a circular model of production that is regenerative by design and greatly reduces the amount of waste going to landfills. At the same time, we will promote a culture of entrepreneurship, by fostering creative industries, supporting the arts, and building co-working spaces that encourage innovation through collaboration.
Additional initiatives are designed to get homeless Cariocas off of the street by providing education, health care, job training, and housing; and to involve more citizens in policymaking through programs that better disseminate information about civic issues and facilitate the collection of input from citizens.
A resilience curriculum will help Rio’s young people understand the risks their city faces, and encourage them to find ways to prevent and mitigate shocks and stresses.