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.
All stories about Urban Resilience Programming
Driving Resilience: Market Approaches to Disaster Recovery
After a disaster, the immediate concern of all humanitarian responders is—and should be—to help affected populations meet their basic, urgent needs. But how a response is conducted can have significant implications on how the community recovers—and how fast.
Mongolia: Strategic Resilience Assessment in Mongolia
Mercy Corps applied the Strategic Resilience Assessment process (STRESS), focusing on Mongolia’s herding communities and rapidly urbanizing areas with the goal of developing a long-term strategy for supporting sustained, inclusive growth in Mongolia using a resilience approach.
Nigeria: Tipsheet: Savings Groups in Humanitarian Response
Mercy Corps diverged from a traditional savings group model to accommodate the emergency nature of the Nigeria programming.
India: Transforming Chennai: Building micro, small and medium enterprise resilience to water-related environmental change
Mercy Corps partnered with Okapi Research & Advisory to develop a deeper understanding of the factors that affected firms’ flood exposure, extent of immediate losses, and recovery times.
Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines: Urban Resilience Measurement
Mercy Corps recently developed a training curriculum and approach guide on urban resilience measurement.
Lebanon: The Role of Municipalities in the Syria Refugee Crisis
Mercy Corps, with funding from the British Embassy in Beirut, conducted extensive assessments of 12 municipalities in Lebanon's "hot spots" to better understand how municipalities are responding to
Indonesia: Building 100 Resilient Cities
We know that the human and economic costs of disasters are most felt in urban centers, and these costs are only going to soar as cities grow and become more interconnected.
Indonesia: Using innovative technologies to measure behavior change in public health programs
Mercy Corps Indonesia recently partnered with Portland State University’s SWEETLab to pilot remotely reporting sensors for measuring the use of water and sanitation facilities in poor urban neighbo
Urban Programming Sector Overview
In recognition of the rapid and complex global demographic shifts, resulting from rapid urban population growth and the complex dynamic of urban livelihood, Mercy Corps currently operates upwards o
Urban Programming Capacity Statement
Urban Programming Goal