Individuals, households, communities, cities, regions, and policymakers all need to consider and prepare for the risks posed to their infrastructure and safety by the increasing effects of climate change, such as changing precipitation, more frequent and intense storms, greater flooding, sea level rise, altered growing cycles for crops, sustained drought, larger wildfires, and melting permafrost. While human development has always faced threats from severe weather, climate change’s impact on weather systems often increases the frequency and severity of these events. Developing resilient systems and infrastructure fosters a sustainable community, environment and economy.

Resilience (or resiliency) is the ability of a system to absorb, withstand and bounce back after an adverse event. Resilience planning should take into consideration:

  • Providing continuous access to essential services: energy, food, water, shelter, healthcare and transportation
  • Sustaining the functionality of modern systems and infrastructure
  • Maintaining the livability and comfort of systems which support modern lifestyles
  • Supporting populations which may be especially vulnerable – such as low income and aging populations
  • Planning land-use, system and infrastructure strategies with the environment and natural forces in mind
  • Ensuring safety through a prepared law enforcement service, constant communications and traffic control
  • Offering diverse transportation and access options
  • Building structures and systems which are sustainable, flexible and durable

Resilience is an economically viable model, which supports sustainable development and the construction of better, more durable systems. Planning communities with resilience in mind enables settlements to better plan, adapt and thrive in the face of a changing climate. 


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