To what disruptions must cities be resilient? How can cities, as complex systems, be resilient? Building a capacity for resilience might be a daunting task when one considers the multitude of components, processes, and interactions that take place within and beyond a city’s physical, logical (e.g. legal), and virtual (cyberspace) boundaries. Planning for resilience to the impacts of stressors within cities requires an evaluation of the vulnerable components of cities, an understanding of the key processes, procedures, and interactions that organize these components and develop the capacity to address various structuring of components and their interactions with the ultimate goal of achieving resilience.
I have co-authored a paper with Trevor Flanery (Urban Affairs and Planning, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Virginia Tech) that provides a deeper look at resilience in cities, proposes a conceptual resilience framework, and includes a discussion and analysis of the framework. We propose a framework that serves as a holistic approach to designing, planning, and managing for resilience by including an evaluation of cultural and process dynamics within cities as well as their physical elements.
Abstract: Within the past 24 months the concept of smart (and intelligent) cities has been become popular in the media. For instance, Scientific American ran a special issue on smart cities (September 2011). Industry players such as IBM and Siemens have specific programs and practices dedicated to advancing the cause of building smart cities. Despite its intuitive appeal, we have limited knowledge within the design, planning, and policy fields about the dimensions of the concept of smart cities, and limited practical experience regarding the barriers and potential opportunities. The term smart city is still new and appears to mean different things within different fields. In some ways the term is both complex and vague. Some experts use the term smart city to highlight advances in sustainability and greening of the city, while others use the term to portray infusion of information via technologies to better the lives of citizens. Even others consider the presence of high-level citizen engagement in the design and governance of the space as a key attribute of smarter cities. Therefore, no consensus exists within the academy on the characteristics of smart cities and how they fit within existing conceptual frameworks, such as sustainability and policy informatics. Although there is not yet consensus on a definition, I posit the following definition: A smart city is livable, resilient, sustainable, and designed through open and collaborative governance. The objective of this paper is to provide a preliminary conceptual framework for researchers, policymakers, and planners to apply in their design and development of smart cities. In light of the growing popular appeal of smart cities, I hope this essay will serve as a call to action for planners who must confront the day-to-day challenge of designing, developing, and retrofitting cities to make them smarter.
Core Team Members (from left to right) Mr. Rahul Yadav, Prof. K.K. Bajpai, Prof. Onkar Dikshit, Prof. Sudhir Misra, Dr. Ralph Hall, Dr. Michael Garvin, Ms. Yehyun An, Dr. Kevin C. Desouza, and Prof. Mukesh Sharma
Ralph Hall has provided a nice summary of our recent visit to IIT Kanpur. I enjoyed my time in Kanpur and look forward to seeing this partnership flourish. To read more about the trip, please click here.
I am headed to Davos for the 3rd Annual Conference on Community Resilience. I am co-chairing the conference along with John R. Harrald and Jim Bohland, both from Virginia Tech. This conference was organized while I was a Director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech. I will chair a session on Citizen Engagement & Technology Deployment in Disaster Mitigation Preparedness Response and Recovery. Panelist include:
Maggie Cowell, Assistant Professor, Urban Affairs and Planning, School of Public & International Affairs, Virginia Tech
Liesel Ritchie, Assistant Director for Research, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado
Georg Frerks, Professor of Disaster Studies, Wageningen University
Isabel Ramos, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Information Systems, Minho University
I co-authored an article for Planetizen with three students (Trevor Flanery, Jaimy Alex, and Eric Park) who were working at the Metropolitan Institute this summer.
Resilience is a term much bandied about these days in the planning and development professions. Buildings, plans, economies and even cities are expected to be resilient to unforeseen externalities in a world of rapidly changing technologies, climates, and cultures. With this in mind, we at the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech would like to engage you, the planning and development community, in a discussion of what exactly it means to be resilient in a planning context, whether this is a laudable goal, and, if so, how we can achieve it. To read more, please click here.