Barcelona City Council is committed to resilience as a model to build a more efficient and socially cohesive city that cherishes all of its neighborhoods: a city that is able to tackle today’s challenges but also tomorrow’s, and strives to reduce its vulnerabilities and to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants and all the people it hosts.
We have been actively working to make Barcelona a more resilient city since 2009. During that year, a series of cross-departmental risk-reduction projects started to be implemented as a response to several critical episodes the city suffered in 2007 (ex: extreme drought risk, rail service disruptions, major power outages…) In order to face this challenge, we developed our own working methodology where stakeholder engagement and cross-sector approaches play a key role.
Since then, our resilience strategy has evolved to our current model that, taking a holistic approach to the shocks and stresses challenging our city, is based on a continuous improvement process. This resilience building process begins with risk management operations in order to improve our capacity of response and minimize the impact of incidences and critical situations, it is followed by a vulnerability assessment that improves our knowledge on the city in order to identify the weak points and related risks, and finally, resilience projects implementation which are aimed at preventing, eliminating or reducing the vulnerabilities identified.
A strong will to learn from and share knowledge with cities and institutions working to incorporate resilience in the global urban development’s agenda, has lead us to participate in city networks and programs, that help us boost our strategy and, at the same time, consolidate cooperative environments that facilitate its implementation. It is within this context that Barcelona’s participation in UNHabitat’s City Resilience Profiling Programme and the creation of Barcelona Urban Resilience Partnership are framed.
UN Habitat’s City Resilience Profiling Programme (CRPP) responds to local government and stakeholder demand for generating metrics for urban resilience in order to establish baselines (or ‘profiles’) upon which to integrate resilience based inputs to sustainable urban planning, development, and management processes in cities and other human settlements throughout the world.
The main goal of the CRPP is to support local governments and their stakeholders by transforming urban areas into safer and better places to live in, and improve their capacity to absorb and rebound quickly to any and all potential shocks or stresses.
At the heart of the programme are the resilience profiling tools – providing transversal diagnostic and planning methodologies for resilience-based urban development. Following a multi-sectorial, multi-hazard and multi-scale approach, and understanding that cities function as integrated, interdependent systems; the tool-kit and guidelines help shape new strategic inputs, based on traceable data, to inform and enhance the planning, building, and management of cities.
The programme also provides training, promotes research and innovation in urban resilience, and coordinates partner networks including public, private and academic organizations at all scales, from international level to local stakeholders.
“Our challenge is to develop a universal model of urban system that we can offer as a means to support local governments and urban stakeholders in their efforts to understand how precisely their city functions under stress, and to develop resilience action plans, unique to each city, that can be integrated into regular urban planning, development and management functions”