New Urban Agenda Implementation: Turning data and complexity into resilience wisdom with resilience.io

by | Feb 7, 2018 | News

This blog post describes our Programme’s Integration workstream and it is part of a series of four published by our team as we present our work at the World Urban Forum (WUF9). The other pieces cover the Intelligence, Implementation and Investment workstreams.

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Integration: City region, Earth systems and technology: resilience.io

The New Urban Agenda lays out the vision for future cities based on the science of urban development providing tools in crucial areas.  This is a central focus of the Resilience Brokers Programme.  WUF9 in Kuala Lumpur is a fantastic opportunity for us to introduce some of our work to you, and to invite you to get involved.

The Resilience Brokers Programme is an ambitious five-year initiative, aimed to develop and demonstrate innovative data driven open-source tools, and build the capacity to enable and accelerate the journey towards climate-compatible, risk-resilient and equitable futures, in 200 city regions worldwide.

The Programme is designed to foster new forms of cross-sector collaborations with the potential to unlock, mobilise and redirect the transformative power of trillions of dollars of private funding into sustainable development projects. The introduction of sustainable development paths at this scale will support the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the achievement of the Global Goals.

At its core, the Resilience Brokers Programme will deliver integrated systems modelling of human, ecological health, economics and resources at city-region scale (resilience.io); and human, ecology, resources and planetary systems at Earth scale.

The intuitive user interfaces of resilience.io will provide easy access to and growing understanding of the complexities and planetary context of each city region.  Integrated data systems and structures in city regions add value by helping practitioners and decision makers identify areas where they can reduce development costs and enhance outcomes.

Technology and social innovations will be modelled and made available through resilience.io platform Apps to enable other city regions to access and use them. This will give businesses, universities and entrepreneurs an added incentive to develop great ideas in their own city region, knowing their potential for scaling locally and globally.

The Programme’s integrated tools will contribute to solving current and future global challenges and maximize opportunity at the city and regional scale. These tools will be used to generate possible scenarios of feasible, transformative interventions. Users will develop comparative scenarios using metrics that encompass ecological, social and economic measures to help calculate the resilience dividend and inform policy, planning, procurement and investment practices.

Public, private and civic decision makers will collaborate to illustrate their visions, fully evaluate their options and make choices that leverage existing resources and capabilities. The modelling enables greater understanding of the systems-level benefits, using interdisciplinary and local knowledge of phased interventions, to support action through and beyond political cycles.  This helps ensure Global Goals are met and, importantly, that any well-meaning interventions don’t cause problems in the future in meeting all the Global Goals and the New Urban Agenda.

We will provide specialist training and resources to support users to design and plan city-region solutions that account for their interconnectivity–from molecular to human to planetary.

We will complete the final development phase of the systems modelling tool resilience.io–which has been built by the Ecological Sequestration Trust and piloted in Accra, Ghana–to help addressing the region’s water and sanitation challenges. This project was delivered in 2016 with support from the UK Department for International Development, who awarded an A rating to this work.

The models will enable users in city regions to access publicly available data such as via the Group on Earth Observations GEOSS first, and fill any gaps with local data and knowledge to draw visualisations to create evidence-bases for their local context.  These tools will be built, used and tested across the Programme’s 200 target city regions over five years. After this period, they will be made openly and freely available–at appropriate release stages–to users in city regions all over the world.

This activity will also lead the development of a gaming interface for resilience.io to allow young people to prototype their ideas and create evidence to present to their local authority, encouraging youth participation in the planning and development process.

Resilience Brokers will use these tools to help city regions to design and deliver development for social inclusion.  In Ghana, we showed how these methods can help to account for the value, and plan for resilient paths for informal settlements, creating opportunities for all.  We’re also working in Beirut to show how these approaches can lead to urban, and planetary health outcomes.

Our Ghana prototype elicited very positive and high-level advocacy. It also generated a strong demand to expand the prototype to cover all cities and regions in Ghana to support their 40-year development planning process with integrated and strategic planning tools.

We look forward to working with you and your city to help you achieve resilience wisdom.

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Read other blogs from our team for the World Urban Forum (WUF9) on Intelligence, Implementation and Investment.