100 Resilient Cities 'game-changer' launched in Cape Town
Cape Town has felt the shock of taps nearly running dry and the shock of floods; the stress of crime and being the murder capital of the country. The daily stress of traffic congestion and being stranded on trains. The stress of poverty and 450 000 people who want to work but cannot find jobs.
Now Cape Town is looking at a different way of tackling these issues. Two years ago, Cape Town, with 99 other cities worldwide, became part of an international programme to build an overall resilience into the city, making it better able to deal with the stress and shocks affecting urban areas.
The network is called 100 Resilient Cities, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation in the US and is hoped to ultimately extend to 1 000 cities or more. On 22 September, City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille launched the City’s first draft of a resilience assessment, the first step in the process of developing a city resilience strategy. for public comment.
What makes it different is that officials canvassed the public extensively before drawing up the draft, so that it contains a huge amount of public input already. This included workshops with academics, the private sector, officials, NGOs and 11 000 face-to-face interviews with residents in informal settlements.
Karin Bruebach, engineer and urban water director at 100 Resilient Cities, who was part of the discussions, said there was no city in the world that was water resilient. The world was, however, improving technology and methods for assessing risks and making predictions. Asked if she thought the City of Cape Town had been prepared for the water crisis, Bruebach said she believed the City had underestimated what could happen, although the risk had already been “on the table”.