In Dec 2013, Accelerate Cape Town hosted Arup, Rockefeller Foundation and Cape Town businesses as part of the City Resilience Index Project. The first deliverable of this project is the City Resilience Framework launched in Apr 2014. The need to understand city resilience is specifically important as rapid urbanization becomes a reality bringing additional challenges of climate change, congestion, disease, economic inequality and environmental hazards.

City Resilience Framework provides a lens through which the complexity of cities and the numerous factors that contribute to a city’s resilience can be understood. It comprises 12 key indicators that describe the fundamental attributes of a resilient city.

The 12 indicators fall into four categories:

Health and wellbeing of individuals (people)

1. Minimal human vulnerability
2. Diverse livelihoods and employment
3. Adequate safeguards to human life and health

Economy and society (organisation)

4. Collective identity and mutual support
5. Social stability and security
6. Availability of financial resources and contingency funds.

Urban systems and services (place)

7. Reduced physical exposure and vulnerability
8. Continuity of critical services
9. Reliable communications and mobility.

Leadership and strategy (knowledge)

10. Effective leadership and management
11. Empowered stakeholders
12. Integrated development planning

The City Resilience Framework is the first step to provide the foundation of the City Resilience Index which is planned for launch by the end of 2014 and will have been piloted in many cities. It will be reviewed and refined based on consultation with experts in specific areas and the cities involved; and the 100 Resilient Cities and the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network.

Cape Town Case Study

Many of Cape Town’s challenges are a result of apartheid planning processes which promoted spatial segregation resulting in disconnected neighbourhoods and a limited transport system in the city. 14% of Capetonians live in informal settlements in the flood-prone Cape Flats area which lack basic services such as water and electricity. New housing developments typically only occur on the periphery of the city, while redevelopment of brownfield sites in the city is uncommon. Integrated mixed-use developments are extremely rare. Therefore, to travel between home and work, residents rely heavily on a limited transport network, with few choices of route or safe and affordable modes. Some areas of the city still lack any public transport.

As part of an effort to address these challenges, the City of Cape Town has drafted a Spatial Development Framework (2012) which promotes a new integrated approach to planning and development of neighbourhoods and services. A new integrated transport system – headlined by the MyCiTi bus system – is also in development by the government body, Transport for Cape Town.

Further reading

  • Arup City Resilience Framework
  • Arup Visions of a Resilience City