Threat factors drive up cities' resilience spending
City governments around the world are becoming more aware of making sure their cities can withstand or recover quickly from unpredictable events and disasters.
Global public spending on strengthening urban resilience is set to increase from $97bn in 2019 to $335bn in 2024, a new study finds.
The key driver of the growth, according to ABI Research, is city governments worldwide are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of making their cities able to withstand or recover quickly from a range of predictable and unpredictable disasters and catastrophes.
Ensuring livability for citizens
While the smart cities concept is very much geared toward ensuring livability of citizens in the present, resilient cities guarantee future livability in the face of a changing urban environment, said ABI.
This is not only in terms of acute shocks but also of chronic stresses related to economic, financial, environmental, social, and institutional crises, the Resilience Technologies and Approaches for Smart Cities report notes. The report is part of the company’s Smart Cities and Smart Spaces research service.
Resilience strategies and solutions include many components ranging from detection and prediction via advanced sensors and AI-based analytics to alert systems, evacuation procedures, rescue missions, relief response modes in the immediate aftermath as well as recovery for survivors and the city as a whole in the longer term.
“Due to their very high population concentrations, cities are much more vulnerable to the catastrophic potential of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, sea level rise and flooding, food shortages, wildfires, extreme heat, hurricanes, tropical storms and typhoons, terrorist attacks, civil unrest, cyber-attacks, war, diseases and epidemics, nuclear or chemical contamination, extreme air pollution, and many other emergency situations. So much so that many cities have already appointed a chief resilience officer,” said Dominique Bonte, vice president, end markets at ABI Research.
“With cities being centres of economic activity, minimising loss of GDP is the most important incentive and justification for resilience spending in terms of return on investment”
The significant growth of global public spending on urban resilience projects includes spending on both physical infrastructure and ICT infrastructure and services, ABI said. Resilience spending is currently dominated by cities in developed regions.
The cities of New York and Miami Beach have announced budgets of respectively $500m and $400m for flood prevention, sea-level-rise mitigation, and coastal areas reinforcement. New York City (NYC), for example, has announced a $500m resiliency plan to help safeguard Lower Manhattan from the impact of climate change including measures to bolster flood protection and reinforcing coastal areas.
Critical resilience technologies and paradigms include predictive modelling and digital twins (already explored by cities like Cambridge in the UK and Rotterdam, Netherlands) cyber-security, redundant infrastructure and system designs, decentralised service provisioning, demand-response optimisation, sharing economy and cross-vertical integration, physical robustness, and robotics.
“Resilience programmes for dense urban areas are closely linked to sustainability efforts aimed at preventing pollution and mitigating the impact of climate change"
Key suppliers of resilience technologies covered in the report include NEC, Bosch, and ZTE. Organisations like United Nations (Making My City Resilient campaign), and the US National League of Cities (NLC) (Leadership in Community Resilience programme) are promoting best practices for designing resilient cities.
Earlier this month, the Rockefeller Foundation announced that the $164 million grant that funds 100 Resilient Cities (100RC), one of the most prominent resilience organisations, will end this year. It says it will shift some of its resilience funding to a new $30 million grant at the Adrienne Arsht Centre for Resilience at the Atlantic Council.
According to Lloyd’s City Risk Index, climate-related risks alone account for $122.98bn of gross domestic product (GDP) under threat for a sample of 279 cities.
“Resilience programmes for dense urban areas are closely linked to sustainability efforts aimed at preventing pollution and mitigating the impact of climate change on flooding and other severe weather conditions,” added Bonte.
“With cities being centres of economic activity, minimising loss of GDP is the most important incentive and justification for resilience spending in terms of return on investment.”
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