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Planning and designing resilient societies together
Why is resilience important?
  • By 2030, without significant investment in making cities more resilient, natural disasters may cost cities worldwide 314 billion dollars each year, up from around 250 billion dollars today.
  • Every year, an estimated 26 million people are pushed into poverty by natural disasters.
  • A hazard rarely strikes alone. Resilience refers to the ability of systems to be robust and adaptable to changing conditions. It´s about short-term adaptation and long-term transition.
  • Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse are viewed as the fastest deteriorating global risks over the next decade.
  • The energy supply crisis, the cost-of-living crisis, rising inflation, the food supply crisis and cyber attacks on critical infrastructure are among the top risks for 2023 with the greatest potential impact on global scale, according to World Economic Forum Global Risks Perception Survey 2022-2023.

To become resilient special measures to ready our environments and communities need to be taken – strategies for going from reactive to proactive. Citizens around the world are experiencing crises every day. In a constant changing society, the need to be aware of risks and prepared for crises increases.

The search for resilience in a world of polycrisis

In this report “The search for resilience in a world of polycrises”, Sweco is addressing resilience, global risks and the required actions to plan and design resilient communities.

Today disasters cause around 300 billion dollars in economic losses annually. If we account for impacts on well-being, the total is more like 520 billion dollars.

“The risks are far from independent of each other. We will likely increasingly be exposed to situations where risks interact and lead to events we did not expect,” says Thomas Elmqvist, professor in Natural Resource Management at Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University.

To succeed with resilience, we need to understand what we want to protect and keep safe.

Take part of trend analysis, reports and activities

This year Sweco’s knowledge initiative Urban Insight takes a deep dive into the concept of resilient societies.

During the year, Urban Insight, Sweco´s international knowledge initiative will share reports, trend analysis and articles provide you with the latest solutions and practices in resilient development. Global and local initiatives will be organised during the year to inspire, and to open up for discussions about needed actions to keep inhabitants safe and thriving.

Together with experts, we present data, facts and expert opinions on what it means to be resilient and how it can become a natural part of the built environment around us.

What experts at Sweco think about resilience

Erle Kristvik

“Finding a balance between resilience and sustainability is important to create a safe environment”

Erle Kristvik is a civil engineer specialising in water and environmental engineering at Sweco in Norway and she is focusing on how to manage stormwater in a resilient and sustainable way.

“The challenge is related to how we perceive risk. There are many examples of high-risk perception leading to very technically robust measures, such as large-scale, grey infrastructure for stormwater detention and conveyance that are not necessarily the most sustainable ones”.

Read more

Diego Luna Quintanilla

“Mobilising a diverse network of experts is key to the global transition”

Diego Luna Quintanilla is an architect and urban planner at Sweco in Belgium. Most of his projects are in Brussels where he also lives, and range from urban design to strategic planning and regional visions.

Resilience becomes apparent in cities where people, economies and technologies are linked in a network.

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Building Back Better

Urban Insight by Sweco Podcast Series

A city the size of Paris must be built every week for the next 30 years to accommodate global population growth. How do we rebuild our cities and towns in the face of climate change?

Read more

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Stay informed. Urban Insight, straight to your inbox – subscribe and get latest news about sustainable urban development. Urban Insight offers key learnings based on data, facts and the accumulated expert knowledge from Sweco. As the leading architecture and engineering consultancy in Europe, we draw on an unparalleled knowledge base within our industry.