Lisbon’s Resilience Challenge

Lisboa, Western Europe’s oldest city, is a major economic center for both Portugal and the rest of the continent. However, many of the city’s buildings are centuries old, and infrastructure is likewise aging. Though the city has strong technical expertise and political will to undertake upgrades, it also faces financial constraints from the global economic crisis. Urban improvement projects will be required to ensure residents have ongoing access to services, and to reduce the risk from seismic activity, which could cripple current structures and networks. The city is preparing for other threats—especially storms—by integrating response services to increase efficiency and effectiveness. But officials recognize that they have more work to do to plan effectively for larger, more severe events brought on by climate change.

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*Photo Credits: Marco Fedele

Thessaloniki’s Resilience Challenge

Thessaloniki has a rich history as a major hub of business and culture, from the Roman period to the Byzantine Empire. Today it is still an important metropolitan region for Greece, with an active port, a respected university, and a robust tourist industry. The city, however, has also been affected by the economic and political crises that have rocked Greece in recent years. Growing unemployment from a shrinking manufacturing sector and a lack of opportunities for young people have increased social needs while resources to provide services have decreased.
Tensions have led to the rise of extremism, riots, and civil unrest, and broken down relations between residents and public authorities. With new projects to upgrade infrastructure, officials see an opportunity to build trust and engagement with community members by involving them in planning processes. They are also using this approach to build response plans to earthquakes and other natural disasters, as well as engage new youth networks in resilience planning.

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Los Angeles’ Resilience Challenge

With a population, geography, infrastructure, and economy comparable to those of states and nations, Los Angeles is one of the most complex megacities of the world. City limits cover 469 square miles, but greater Los Angeles is 10 times that size — a region of individual neighborhoods that comprise many different languages, cultures, and ethnicities. The city’s central question is how a city of L.A.’s size and scope can truly be sustainable and resilient in a changing and increasingly globalized world, particularly in the face of water shortages and seismic challenges.

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*Photo Credits: David Galvan