The term ‘resilient’ means possessing inner strength and resolve. Thus a resilient city takes into consideration appropriate built form and physical infrastructure to be more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that come with depleting carbon-based fuels and climate change. For cities, resilience is enhanced by knowledge of risks and tools and resources available to confront threats and build on opportunities.

The concept of resilience is central to the understanding of urban area vulnerability. Resilience is the capacity of a community or society to adapt when exposed to a hazard. It does this by resisting or changing in order to reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning and structure. A resilient society can withstand shocks and rebuild itself when necessary. Resilience in social systems has the added human capacity to anticipate and plan for the future. Humans depend on resilience for survival. A resilient city is one that is able to sustain itself through its systems by dealing with issues and events that threaten, damage, or try to destroy it.

Necessity of Climate Resilient Cities:


Climate change will have impacts on many sectors:

ø  Temperature and precipitation variability will impact agriculture and subsequently food security and livelihoods, will increase the extent and severity of vector borne diseases as incidence of floods and water logging increase,

ø  Flooding will cause loss and damage to infrastructure and property in affected areas

ø  Sea level rise will cause damage to coastal ecosystems, increase damages from storm surges and will make coastal freshwater aquifers saline.

ø  Climate induced disasters will have serious economic and social consequences like loss to property, infrastructure, health, forced migration to name a few.


Climate change impacts will exacerbate existing development challenges like health, education, livelihood, housing, infrastructure and services, and poverty. Climate change. if not accounted for will be an additional burden and greatly hamper development goals.

Resilient cities in the light of climate change should be able to develop plans for future development and growth bearing in mind the climate impacts that the urban systems are likely to face (Prasad et al, 2009).

Benefit of Climate Resilient Cities: 

Climate resilient cities have the capability to reduce and manage the negative impacts of climate change because they have planned and factored these changes in their development goals and planning by:

ø  Utilizing climate information (past and future) to identify climate stressors typical to their cities/region

ø  Preparing and implementing strategies to reduce vulnerability of population and city systems.

ø  Adapting to change, preparing and responding to disasters, mitigating GHG emissions

The level of resilience of our cities and towns is dependent on the quality and performance of the overall urban system. Adaptation to climate change and focus on disaster risk reduction is becoming increasingly relevant as the negative impacts of climate change increase. “There needs to be a shift, in both adaptation to climate change and disaster risk reduction, from a singular and specific focus on affected infrastructures and locations towards a more integrated focus on overall risks, development conditions, and local area performance”. 

What Is Mainstreaming?

Mainstreaming climate resilience is the iterative process of integrating considerations of climate change into policy making, budgeting, implementation and monitoring process at national, sector and subnational levels. It is multiyear, multi stakeholder effort grounded in the contribution of climate change to human wellbeing, pro-poor economic growth and achievement of the MGDs. It entails working with a range of government and non-government actors, and other actors in the development field. 

 Need to Mainstream Climate Resilience 

Recent calamities in Uttarakhand, Kashmir, and Visakhapatnam have brought out the need for building climate resilience into development systems and planning Climate change in urban areas interferes with a wide range of existing and emerging policy challenges, among them poverty eradication, water supply and sanitation, scarcity of food and water, and population growth. Climate change, therefore, should no longer be considered a solely environmental challenge, addressed in isolation from other social and economic issues.

·         Mainstreaming climate and disaster risk reduction to become factors in conventional planning processes, project design and development decision making

·         Developing specialized financial instruments for the risk-oriented components of these projects that cannot be addressed via mainstreaming measures.

·         Building local institutional capacity to prepare, structure and manage large scale redevelopment


Key Enablers:

ø  Policy and mandate at national and state level

ø  Integration of climate agenda with city development agenda

ø  Institutionalization of urban climate resilience planning.

ø  Use and involvement of local expertise to generate context specific locally driven solutions

ø  Capacity building and awareness generation to generate momentum and facilitate action at all levels. Access to knowledge on climate variability and change

ø  Data management and updating to facilitate decision making

Integration Points for Mainstreaming

Action to address climate change in urban areas should be multi-level, involving national-, state-, and city-level governments, as well as multisectoral including sectors such as infrastructure and services, urban planning, transport, disaster risk reduction, and housing and construction: 1. Policy 2. Regulations( Building bye laws, Acts etc) 3. Institutions 4. Schemes like (JNNURM, RAY, Smart cities) 5. Project level interventions (DPR, Master plans, CDP)