Building Climate Resilience

The Building a Climate-Resilient City series was prepared for the City of Edmonton and the City of Calgary by the International Institute for Sustainable Development and the University of Winnipeg.

Climate change will have serious impacts for cities. In coming decades, building resilience will be essential urban policy and a smart investment for cities.

And while many cities are already beginning to build resilience in response to emerging threats associated with climate change, the strategies they are adopting are often win-win results, making them healthier, more attractive places to live and do business. Resilience is brandable, and demonstrates of city’s willingness to embrace innovation culture.

In a new series of research papers commissioned by the Canadian cities Edmonton and Calgary, we explore themes related to building climate-resilient cities. Here are eight examples of actions cities can take to foster resilience.

• Chicago, United States: Supporting Vertical Farms Through Better Zoning
• Iowa, United States: Using historical data to build robustness in the face of flooding
• Austin, Texas, United States: Saving residents money through smart grids
• Mississauga, Canada: Low-impact development standards for cleaner drinking water and less flooding
• Gibsons, Canada: Taking advantage of the lower costs and higher resiliency of natural systems
• St Paul, United States: Establishing an urban ecosystem
• Netherlands: Proactively planning for flooding by making room for rivers
• Calgary and Edmonton, Canada: Using multiple bottom lines

Much more information on The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) website, an award-winning independent think tank championing solutions to our planet’s greatest sustainability challenges.

One response to “Building Climate Resilience”

  1. Cheryl says:

    Thanks for the info. It will be useful in several courses that I teach. I must say, just glancing through it above, I am amused by the notion that Mississauga has standards for development for cleaner water and less flooding. Really?! I live here. Mississauga is totally built out aside from a few brownfields mostly by the lake. Glad those will be developed to better standards, maybe. Mississauga is famous for wide roads, lots of them. Water management was not an important factor in its development over the last 30 years. A few years ago they added a surtax to our property taxes based on roof size to fund vastly enlarged storm sewers to manage extreme rain events (these will be insufficient within a decade or two). The calculation for my home included the green roof. Really. And my property is landscaped for 0% runoff. My property does not contribute to what’s in the storm sewers at all. My driveway isn’t even paved. So I am afraid I am not convinced. But at least the language is there, not so sure about what’s happening on the ground. The moral of that story is that greenwashing is rampant. I only hope that it translates to reality on the ground at least some of the time. Thanks for the info, I will add it into my course resources.

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