Resilient Sydney

A program for metropolitan Sydney to build the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems to survive, adapt and thrive in the face of chronic stresses and acute shocks.

Why we’re doing this

Metropolitan Sydney is one of the most diverse cities in the world with a population of close to 5 million people from 200 vibrant cultures.

Our global city is known for the beauty of its natural environment and outdoor lifestyle, but it is struggling to maintain liveability and equity during a time of growth and change.

Sydneysiders are experiencing a range of chronic stresses such as lack of affordable housing and transport congestion, and need to be prepared for shock events such as heatwaves, storms and cyber-attacks.

To become connected, inclusive and resilient is a challenge every organisation and community in metropolitan Sydney must address to create a place of opportunity and wellbeing for everyone.

Our resilient Sydney strategy (see below) is the first of its kind for our city, marking a new spirit of collaboration and connection in Sydney.

The strategy is the result of 2 years of effort including technical studies and a comprehensive engagement process with more than 1,000 people from business, government and communities (residents) across metropolitan Sydney. Every council in the metropolitan area has been engaged.

These inputs are reflected in the strategy and we sincerely thank every individual and organisation who took part in this process.

Our key directions

Our resilient background

In 2015 Sydney won a place in the Resilient Cities initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation to help cities become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges of the 21st century. Sydney receives resources and technical support to develop a resilience strategy for the metropolitan area.

Resilient Sydney is a collaboration with all the councils of metropolitan Sydney, the NSW Government, business and the community. Every council in metropolitan Sydney has nominated a resilience ambassador to support the program and ensure their part of the city is represented and engaged. A steering committee is established including representatives from each of the planning districts of metropolitan Sydney, NSW Government, business and the community sector.

Resilient Cities Network (formerly 100 Resilient Cities Network)

The Resilient Cities Network emerged in September 2019, following on from the 100 Resilient Cities Program. The network is a global city-led non-profit organisation that brings together knowledge, practice, partnerships, and funding to empower cities to help them build a safe, equitable and sustainable future for all.

As a city-led network, the organisation works together with city based chief resilience officers, mobilising communities, city governments, urban practitioners, and partners to deliver impact-driven resilience strategies and projects. 

Resilient Cities Network comprises 98 member cities in 40 countries of the former 100 Resilient Cities initiative. Regional offices are based in Singapore, London, Mexico City and New York. The network is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and partners.

Resilient Cities Network
Resilient Sydney

How we can achieve resilience

What is resilience?

Resilient Cities describes urban resilience as the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt and thrive no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.

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

Acute shocks are sudden, sharp events that threaten a city. Examples include heatwaves, floods, disease outbreaks and cyber-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. They emerge stronger after tough times and live better in good times.

Resilient Cities has developed the city resilience framework to provide a lens to understand the complexity of city systems and the drivers that contribute to their resilience.

Developing our strategy

The strategy was developed in 3 phases:

  1. Preliminary resilience assessment – research and engagement to evaluate the strengths, vulnerabilities and risks for our city and identify the key main challenges we face. We invite you to view the assessment and detailed city context study.
  2. Strategy development – broad engagement across metropolitan Sydney to identify solutions and actions to address the challenges. We invite you to view our engagement reports and strategy.
  3. Implementation – investment, policy and practical actions to build resilience across systems in metropolitan Sydney.
Resilient Sydney Strategy 2018PDF · 6.9 MB · Last updated
Resilient Sydney Strategy 2018 (accessible version – part 1)PDF · 9.81 MB · Last updated
Resilient Sydney Strategy 2018 (accessible version – part 2)PDF · 17.56 MB · Last updated
Resilient Sydney Strategy 2018 (accessible version – part 3)PDF · 13.73 MB · Last updated

Related resources

Resilient Sydney Strategy Overview 2018PDF · 1.67 MB · Last updated
Report of Engagement with Indigenous Elders and Community Leaders 2018PDF · 872.56 KB · Last updated
Phase 2 Diagnostic Report 2017PDF · 2.36 MB · Last updated
Phase 2 Engagement Report 2017PDF · 1.59 MB · Last updated
Phase 1 Resilience Assessment Sydney 2016PDF · 3.27 MB · Last updated
Phase 1 City Context Report 2016PDF · 2.97 MB · Last updated
Phase 1 Agenda Setting Workshop Report 2015PDF · 812.22 KB · Last updated