Cities are increasingly emphasizing embedding resilience in their land when creating land use and development policies. Mayors and public officials have noted that the most effective plans moving forward will emphasize public/private initiatives and encourage greater collaboration with real estate professionals.
Resilient approaches to infrastructure and development provide long-term economic benefits for cities by safeguarding their real estate assets and tax base. These benefits also support continuing the business community and protecting residents by making cities more attractive and competitive, especially as weather-related stressors hit cities. Cities that have resilient infrastructure in place are likely going to draw the most investment and continue to advance.
Cities across the U.S. are affected by these resilience issues differently based on climate and current infrastructure. Flagstaff, Arizona, is dealing with the possible displacement of existing residents of inland areas that could result from new residents relocating from coastal areas eroded by rising sea levels. St. Augustine, Florida, has had saltwater flowing into the city’s storm-water system, posing risks related to drainage and flooding. Annapolis, Maryland, is working to protect its many historically significant buildings as a key part of its plan to mitigate the impact of storm surge and frequent flooding in the downtown waterfront area.
With all of these cities attempting to create more stability, there is an increase in the need for funding sources. Federal and state supported resilience programs have stretched local budgets. Public and private projects must both work to reinforce resilience, and partnerships between the sectors will likely be necessary to secure funding for the initiatives.
The main struggle is getting all parties thinking long term. Funding choices might be immediately unpopular, but necessary for long-term development, technological advancement, and environmental concerns. Cities will need to adapt and be ready for the quickly arriving future in order to succeed.
The collaboration between private and public initiatives is important because the private sector often has the ability to move faster than the public sector. Typically, the public sector will put policy into place that guides the private development of the localities. Now, the initiatives need to exist between private and public sectors to address resilience.
Social equality issues are a big part of developing a resilience strategy. When considering extreme weather events, the poorer areas of a city tend to be hit the hardest. Without resources for advanced preparation and post-event recovery, vulnerability is high. In order to make cities progress as a whole, it is important to include the more vulnerable population in resilient infrastructure planning.
Addressing social equity through improved resilience is included in the best plans for cities. The plans are about looking at public policies to ensure opportunities are created that diminish the propensity to create vulnerable populations through development.
It will be critical for the success of cities to focus beyond the current issues they face, and instead consider more general implications for the greater community.
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