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As urbanisation, climate change and disasters shape the world, there is increasing recognition that cities need to be more resilient in order to confront the myriad of risks faced by urban communities.

Unequal and unsustainable urban sprawl is combining with the changing climate to create an untenable, precarious situation in cities across the world. The demand for land, decent shelter, transport, employment, energy and social and environmental services have outstripped supply in many urban areas. Internal social and environmental issues also exacerbate the city’s vulnerability to external threats. 

Many cities are unprepared to handle modest disruptions in food, water, and energy supplies, which have already been or may be affected by changes in climatic conditions.  This is especially true for the city’s poorest residents, many of whom live in tenuous, informal communities. Although they shoulder very little of the blame for climate change, they are the most vulnerable and will suffer the most from its impact. Thus, the adaptive capacity of people living in informal areas and engaged in the informal economy must be central to resilience solutions.

The pressures and challenges to a safe, clean and healthy urban environment are well documented. The natural environment in and around cities has often been severely degraded, reducing the provision of ecosystem services such as water provision. Inefficient urban sprawl has resulted in the conversion of agriculture, forests, wetlands and other ecosystems. Pollution of land, air and water is a major impediment to a clean and healthy urban landscape.

In addition, cities and their communities lack many of the data, tools and adequate financing to change the urban development trajectory for more sustainable and equitable cities.

Cities Alliance supports local governments and urban communities to build resilient cities that reduce both risk and vulnerability by restoring and rehabilitating urban ecosystems, promoting investment in local resilience efforts, and advocating for people-centred resilience.