Resilient Sydney

Resilient Sydney

Is Sydney ready?

On Tuesday 8 November 2016, CityTalks discussed how we can build a stronger more resilient city. President of 100 Resilient Cities, Michael Berkowitz was the keynote speaker.


100 Resilient Cities

In 2014 Sydney was chosen through a competitive global process to join the 100 Resilient Cities initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. This innovative project develops strategies to help cities survive, adapt and thrive as we face the challenges of the 21st century. 

Sydney receives technical support and resources from 100 Resilient Cities to develop and implement a resilience strategy for the metropolitan area.

What is resilience?

100 Resilient Cities (100RC) describes urban resilience as the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks it experiences.

Chronic stresses: weaken the fabric of a city on a day-to-day or cyclical basis. Examples include ongoing issues such as inequality, lack of social cohesion and inadequate public transport.

Acute shocks: are sudden, sharp events that threaten a city. Examples include sudden incidents such as heatwaves, bushfires, floods, disease outbreaks and terror attacks.

Improving the systems and networks that make up a city will increase our resilience overall. Resilient systems withstand, respond to, and adapt more readily to shocks and stresses to emerge stronger after tough times, and live better in good times.

100RC has developed the city resilience framework, which provides a lens to understand the complexity of cities and the drivers that contribute to their resilience. 

Resilient Sydney 

The Resilient Sydney office began work in October 2015. Funding from 100RC supported the appointment of a chief resilience officer, Beck Dawson, and deputy Kristin Gabriel, with research support from a strategy partner consultant team. The Resilient Sydney office is hosted by the City of Sydney.

Every local council in metropolitan Sydney has nominated a resilience ambassador to support the program and ensure their part of Sydney is represented and engaged. A steering committee is established including representatives from councils in the 6 new districts of Sydney, NSW Government, business and community and resilience roundtables.  

What are Sydney’s resilience challenges?

Resilient Sydney completed a preliminary resilience assessment of metropolitan Sydney in July 2016. The assessment was developed using the same tools other cities in the 100RC network have already piloted. It reflects an extensive technical study and consultation with stakeholders from government, business, academia, community services and the residents of metropolitan Sydney.

The preliminary resilience assessment and city context study include:

  • an overview of the metropolitan city context
  • a risk assessment of city assets and infrastructure, and the key shocks and stresses facing Sydney
  • an outline of external forces, or megatrends, shaping Sydney
  • a summary of existing resilience actions
  • a summary of perceptions of Sydney’s resilience (stakeholder and community consultation)
  • an exploration of resilience theory
  • identification of 4 discovery areas for further exploration in the next phase.

You can download the preliminary resilience assessment and city context report.

We invite you to view the documents and stay tuned for more updates on this exciting project for Sydney.

Resilience strategy for Sydney 

The Resilient Sydney strategy is being developed in 3 phases:

  1. Preliminary resilience assessment – evaluates the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for Sydney.
  2. Strategy development – research Sydney’s challenges with business, communities and governments to identify opportunities for actions to improve resilience.
  3. Implementation – policy and practical interventions that lead to more collaborative city governance and interventions that build resilience.

Agenda setting workshop

In June 2015, Sydney took the first step on its resilience journey with the agenda setting workshop. The City hosted the workshop in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities, and brought together 150 stakeholders from the NSW Government, metropolitan councils, business and the community services sector to discuss the critical issues to be considered in preparing a resilience strategy for Sydney. See image gallery below.

You can download the workshop summary report.


For more information, please contact: 

Resilient Sydney team

Last updated: Friday, 18 November 2016