Urban Resilience Programming

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Why does urban resilience matter?

2007 marked the first time when more people lived in urban than rural areas, with 50 percent of the global population (3.3 billion citizens) living in cities. It is projected that, by 2050, the world's population will increase by 2.5 billion (to 9.1 billion) with cities in less developed regions – especially of smaller size – likely to absorb this population growth.

Urbanization itself can bring economic growth and offer critical opportunities to improve household well-being, but in many developing countries public institutions have not been able to keep pace with the rapid influx of rural migrants to urban areas. Making matters worse, cities are expanding in some of the most economically attractive but ecologically vulnerable terrain leaving a concentrated population more at risk of extreme weather events and climate change.

For Mercy Corps, achieving equitable and sustainable development outcomes in a context of shocks and stresses, including rapid urbanization, requires a resilience approach. Read more about our approach to resilience.

Urban resilience in practice

To design our programs and better understand the context we are working in, we have developed a strategic resilience assessment methodology (STRESS). Learn more about our STRESS methodology.

We apply robust systems for resilience monitoring and measurement and have recently developed an urban resilience measurement curriculum to provide guidance based on our experience and learning. Download our curriculum here.

At Mercy Corps, we recognize that the complexity of urban challenges requires multi-scale and multi-sector programs that enable new forms of collaboration. For example, as the implementing partner for the Rockefeller-funded Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN), we are building and scaling urban resilience through an innovative, governance-based approach. Mercy Corps is also leading the regional ACCCRN network that seeks to strengthen the capacity of over 50 rapidly urbanizing cities across six Asian countries. Learn more about the ACCCRN program.

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