Resilient Cities series
In our Resilient Cities series, we’ve discussed a couple of things: what it takes to be successful in any given city, and some ingenious ideas that that are possible for 21st century designs and modernization.
So, to conclude this series, allow me to offer some examples of on-the-ground resiliency initiatives that are making real improvements in lives, and real enhancements that may enable the given cities to continue to thrive in the future.
One of the measurements of resiliency is the ability to create a sustainable source of energy. Los Angeles is committing itself to utilizing 100 percent renewable energy in the near future. Check out the details — it’s a complex issue that enjoys broad political and citizen support, so for all intents and purposes it’s full speed ahead.
Another important feature of a resilient city is a commitment to social justice. Seattle has committed to the principles of social justice through development of a strong economy and equitable treatment of all citizens.
Chicago has been working to become a leader in climate action preparation, mitigation, and adaptation. Their plan identifies five strategies that they will work to implement in the pursuit of these goals.
New York was ravaged by Hurricane/SuperStorm Sandy, which challenged its resiliency, but which also caused officials to seriously consider the planning process from a new and more serious viewpoint. Their plan, elaborated upon here, stresses preparation, evacuation, and sheltering.
Miami literally has the ocean lapping around its ankles. Despite a state government that is still largely vested in and committed to climate change denial, Miami officials have recognized their responsibilities to protect their citizens and plan to do that. Accordingly, they’ve created their own Climate Change Action Plan and appointed a Chief Resilience Officer.
States and cities in the Midwest routinely take it on the chin for their unwillingness to accept and adapt to change, and there’s quite a bit to truth to that. I myself haven’t been hesitant to point out occasions when Oklahoma has had important things to worry about, and they worry about the trivial instead.
However, that being said, Oklahoma City understands where the real threat is. From 1890 – 2015 no less than 160 tornadoes have transited the Oklahoma City area, including the massive F4s and F5s that went through in 1999 and 2013. City officials take tornado planning and preparation seriously, as they should. Their detailed planning guide enables every citizen to understand the threat and accomplish the adequate preparation needed to enable family safety.
So, in summary, you should expect that whatever city you live in should be willing to do these things:
- Support the work to minimize the impacts of global warming through conversion from fossil fuel to renewable energy resources.
- Develop a culture of social justice that ensures all citizens will receive equal opportunity and fair treatment. This includes the additional effort necessary to identify disadvantaged populations and understand their needs.
- Research and identify the threats that climate change will pose to your specific city. There will be some. These must be integrated into all city planning.
- Identify and directly challenge the ability of any disaster to damage the community. Plan. Prepare. Mitigate. When necessary, respond. Recover. When necessary, adapt.
Many of these things fall into your area of responsibility — whether you are a public official, an EDM professional, or a domestic engineer. So identify what needs to be done, and go do. Your family — and many others — may depend upon it.