The ability to effectively manage short- and long-term setbacks and ultimately prosper is a must for cities seeking to attract long-term investors, according to a new report from ULI.

Resilient Cities: Surviving in a New World
looks at the principles of resilient cities, as well as issues and solutions related to building resilience in European cities. According to the report, resilience should be a main goal for all cities because international institutions and the private sector are attracted to cities that are better prepared to handle uncertain times.

Resilient Cities is based on the conclusions of a workshop sponsored in September 2010 by the ULI Urban Investment Network, an initiative of the institute’s operations in Europe. The network, developed in collaboration with leading European cities, institutions, and private sector organizations, aims to foster an ongoing dialogue between public and private sector leaders on ways to bridge investment gaps and overcome urban development challenges.

The purpose of the workshop was to provide an open dialogue for leaders in the private and public sectors to share best practices and develop solutions for building resilience in cities. Case studies discussed at the workshop and examined in the report include Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Istanbul, Malmö, Manchester, and Turin.

The report focuses on two priorities that cities must follow in order to be both resilient and attractive for investment—continuity and adaptability. “With over half of the global population now living in urban areas, building resilient cities is more important than ever,” the report says. “Long-term resilience for cities requires that they be both able to achieve continuity and adaptability,” and, therefore, “a multifaceted approach is clearly needed to build a resilient city.”

Among the report’s principles for resilient cities:

  • Build good governance and strong city leadership that can think ahead, and work to tackle city weaknesses consistently across electoral cycles.
  • Encourage and promote economic, social, physical, and cultural diversity.
  • Balance investment in innovation with investment in existing assets.
  • Develop collaboration between the public and private sector that is based on creating and sustaining value for both parties and protecting that value.
  • Strive for integrated and flexible infrastructure systems with continuous investment.
  • Encourage business and institutional leadership to challenge city government to make the city more resilient and to hold city government to account.
  • Foster resident engagement to make the city flexible to change.
  • Focus on education of residents in order to encourage engagement and long-term behavioral change in how the city functions.
  • Make use of new technologies to monitor and manage city performance and make the city smarter.
  • Include evolution and adaptability in the story of the city as part of a coherent city plan, vision, story, and culture.