A draft resilience strategy for Glasgow was submitted to Glasgow City Council’s Sustainability and the Environment Policy Development Committee this week. The development of the strategy has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation as part of their 100 Resilient Cities programme, which is supporting the building of resilience in cities across the world. The programme aims to reduce vulnerability to future shocks and Glasgow’s bid to become part of the programme won a place in the first 33 cities chosen. Glasgow chose to focus on climate change as one of the main risks to the city.
Within this context, resilience is defined as “the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, business, and systems within a city to survive, adapt and grow, no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.” Acute shocks, such as natural disasters or major accidents will usually be addressed through the emergency planning process, while longer term chronic stresses and strains are experienced over years or decades. Glasgow’s tenements, a major housing type in the city have been identified as particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and increasing rainfall.
Acute shocks: Sharp, sudden events that threaten a city, including earthquakes, floods, disease outbreaks or a terrorist attack.
Chronic Stresses: Issues or threats that weaken the fabric of the city on a day to day or cyclical basis. Examples include high unemployment, inefficient public transportation systems, endemic crime, water shortages or climate change.
Glasgow’s high poverty rates make some of our communities particularly vulnerable to both chronic and acute stresses, which will have to be taken into consideration when building resilience. Neighbours are often the “first responders” when people are faced with an emergency situation, while communities that are connected and engaged recover more quickly when exposed to acute shocks, so building the resilience and capacity of communities will be a key aim of the strategy.
Of particular focus will be volunteering, which has a range of benefits for volunteers and for the communities they serve. Volunteering has proven health benefits, while those who engage in it build skills and confidence, increasing their employability while reducing social isolation. It is of particular benefit in keeping older people involved in their communities and reducing loneliness, a major cause of mortality among this group.
The vision is set out as follows: Glasgwegians are a resilient people and we want Glasgow to be an even more resilient city. Our aim is for the city and its people to flourish in the years ahead as we face the challenges of the future with confidence.
Areas of focus in Glasgow
- Resilient people
- Resilient institutions
- Resilient places
- Resilient emergency response
- Resilient monitoring and evaluation
The draft strategy makes 16 recommendations to take forward resilience work in the city, including working with agencies to develop volunteering and working with communities to address the underlying determinants of vulnerability and to investigate ways in which local leadership can be developed, with consideration of building on existing community empowerment interventions. It also recommends the establishment of a number of short-life working groups to address infrastructure, identify barriers to resilience and consider relevant indicators to measure resilience.
The Council will be consulting on the strategy between June and September 2015.
All of the recommendations and the draft strategy can be found here