According to Resilientcity.org, it will take a new set of design principles to create more resilient cities, more resilient communities, and more resilient buildings. This will take a significant revision of current thinking. As a starting point we propose the following as an overarching set of principles for creating greater urban resilience:
- Carbon Dependency Reduction: Clearly, we must develop effective strategies for reducing the total emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to reduce future stresses to our global climate system. Design and planning must be predicated on low fossil fuel usage and significantly increasing the energy efficiency in both the construction and operation of buildings and the cities they comprise.
- Systems Diversity: Increasing the diversity of the various systems that comprise our cities is important because with greater diversity comes an increased ability to thrive, survive and bounce back from external shocks and stresses. Diversity of systems reduces the potential negative impact to the whole city of the failure of any one particular system. In cities, increasing the diversity of systems means that we will want to maximize the diversity of different business types, institutions, sources of food, and industries, etc.
- Systems Redundancy: The increasingly likelihood of more energetic weather events associated with global climate change means that cities and their communities will need to build the capacity for resilience to more frequent and powerful environmental shocks and stresses. An increased redundancy of key infrastructure systems—including electrical power, fuel supply, waste water processing and, most important, food and potable water supply - means that if one system is compromised, there is enough redundancy in the overall system to fill in for the compromised system until it can be replaced or repaired. Although redundancy reduces efficiency, it necessary increases resilience.
- Durability of Systems and Building Fabric: The physical shocks and stresses associated with future climate change will also require us to plan for greater infrastructure and building fabric durability. Our infrastructure systems and building fabric must be designed to anticipate both greater frequencies and greater levels of environmental shocks and stresses. As a result, we will need to plan for and implement more durable systems and structures that can adequately cope with these increasing environmental stresses.
- System Feed-back Sensitivity: Feed-back Sensitivity is a system’s ability to detect and respond to changes in its constituant parts. The more quickly a system can detect and respond to changes throughout the system, the greater its potential for effectively coping with these changes, and thus for resilience. We will need social, economic, and technical systems designed with tight feedback loops. In our cities, urban density is one of the important foundations for loop tightness. Density provides for reduced time and costs for moving information and materials throughout the system in an efficient and effective manner.
- Local Self-Sufficiency: Cities and their communities will need to create more sustainable supplies of goods and services including food, fuel and power, water, as well as the ability to source basic materials, and manufacture everyday goods and services. In larger cities, self-sufficiency should be considered both at the regional and at the neighbourhood scale.
- Integration with Natural Systems: The planning and design of both urban systems and of buildings should be responsive to and integrated with local natural systems, including the abundance or restrictions in the supply of renewable energy (eg. solor, wind, tidal, geothermal), water, and materials for manufacturing and construction. This will not only reduce the cost of creating and maintaining technical infrastructure, but reduce the chances of infrastructure suffering significant impacts from the increasing environmental shocks and stresses associated with climate change. The planning and design of cities should therefore strive for integration with the existing environment, an that future urban growth have a positive rather than a negative impact on the local and regional ecologies of the city.