Resiliency … it’s a buzzword among city planners preparing for the impacts of climate change. But what does it mean?

According to Roger-Mark De Souza, at the Wilson Center in Washington D.C., it means preparing for a new reality:


De Souza: “And that reality is that as human beings, we are having an impact on the environment, and that in turn, is affecting our well-being. And this must be part of how we organize our communities, and think about how we conduct ourselves on a day-to-day basis.”

In some cities, resilience means creating urban parks to filter stormwater runoff, designing roads and bridges that can survive more extreme weather, or developing early warning systems so people can evacuate if needed. Regardless of specifics, the ultimate goal is an engaged, proactive community.

De Souza: “We find that when cities are more resilient to climate change impacts, it’s almost transformational in nature. These communities emerge stronger and are more able to address challenges when they arise.”

De Souza says resiliency is more than just bouncing back after a crisis – it’s about building stronger communities.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
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Lisa Palmer is a freelance journalist and a fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, SESYNC, in Annapolis, Md. Her writing covers the environment, energy, food security, agriculture,...