Cities are estimated to support more than 40% of India’s population and more than 75% of national GDP by 2030. National programs like Smart Cities and AMRUT focus on improving city infrastructure and service delivery to ensure that cities develop in a sustainable manner creating a livable environment for its citizens. However, added to the stresses of urbanization, cities are challenged with acute shocks like flooding, earthquake, heat wave etc., that pose risk to the urban infrastructure, quality of urban life and the entire urban systems. Poor planning and urban management are expected to cost Indian cities somewhere between $2.6 and $13 billion annually. Furthermore, trends like climate change will cost the Indian economy $1.178 trillion by 2050 if emissions continue at their current rates. Given the significance of India’s urban development, building urban resilience will be key to safeguarding urban investments, implementing the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As India urbanizes with increasing risk to acute shocks, it is evident that the city we need is a ‘Resilient City’.
With an intent to strengthen resilience building in urban India, the Urban Resilience Unit within the National Institute of Urban Affairs in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities – pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation; UN Habitat - India; The Energy and Resource Institute; Centre of Excellence for Governance, Ethics and Transparency (CEGET) at Global Compact Network India; the International Urban Cooperation, India and the Global Challenges Forum Foundation is organizing the Urban Thinkers Campus – ‘The Resilient City We Need’ at New Delhi on the 25th and 26th September 2019.
In order to mainstream resilience in Indian cities, the Campus focuses on the following objectives –
- MAINSTREAMING URBAN RESILIENCE STRATEGIES
Developing evidence and policy frameworks for mainstreaming resilience in urban planning, development and management. Illustrating the need for resilience in an Indian context is critical to orient cities towards the challenge of not only addressing chronic stresses like aging infrastructure, lack of affordable housing etc., but also acute shocks like heat waves, urban floods etc., in a holistic manner. The Campus will enable dialogue on how cities can embed resilience within their urban planning and governance processes and maximize the resilience dividend by mainstreaming it within their ongoing urban development activities. The objective is to enable the stakeholders to identify the way forward for improving sectoral and inter-department coordination for effective implementation of strategies for urban resilience building.
- STREGTHENING CAPACITIES
Understanding local capacities required for building resilient cities. City leaders play an important role in championing resilience, and urban planners and city engineers play an important role in implementing resilience strategies. Therefore, it is important to understand the landscape of local capacities of not only the identified actors but also future urban planners and managers. The Campus will provide a platform for learning and peer exchange between stakeholders that will contribute to the resilience dialogue in India. The objective is to initiate a national level policy dialogue, discuss latest global developments, strengthen capacity of local leaders to implement resilience actions, and foster resilience thinking among future urban planners.
- DATA-DRIVEN GOVERNANCE
Constructing framework for data informed decision-making for resilient cities Multi-stakeholder collaboration is imperative in resilience building initiatives. Today, data is being generated by urban stakeholders including but not limited to urban local bodies. By understanding the data landscape holistically, decision makers will be able to address urban challenges and strengthen systems to ensure they are resilient in the face of shocks and stresses. The campus will focus on bringing together city government officials, business leaders, NGOs and academia to deliberate and define a way forward towards informed decision making. The objective is to recognize the value of resilience thinking and the importance of decision questions to build resilience, and for urban stakeholders to recognize the role they can play in building the resilience of their city and how a resilient city will enable their interests to be served.
- FOSTERING ENGAGEMENTS AND PARTNERSHIPS
Bringing together different stakeholders to initiate and prioritize the urban resilience agenda Resilience action requires a crosscutting, multi-level and multi-stakeholder engagement, and strong commitments and cooperation not just amongst various city level agencies and utilities, but also businesses and communities. The campus will focus on developing understanding, awareness and shared agendas around the salient features of a sustainable and resilient city. The objective is to discuss the strategic, tactical, and operational roles of partnerships, especially the public-private-people partnership framework to improve city resilience, and present a case of implementing a sustainability transition vision, by investigating the partnerships that developed and brought to the ground the vision, while remaining inspired and driven by sustainability.