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The Methodology of the Social Resilience Pillar

A resilient city requires a government that utilises expert advice and community suggestions to provide for the needs of the population. A reactive and inclusive government that relies on best practices and experience to model solutions in a dynamic way is necessary for the operational sustainability of the city. A democratic government which listens to its citizens, which is composed of its citizens and which works for the benefit of the citizens, while relying on empirical data and expert assistance is a resilient government. In case of a crisis such as flooding, extreme weather conditions or power outages, the citizens look to their government, which is made or unmade through their management of crisis.

The providing of social services and labour regulations which facilitate a satisfied and productive work force. A third of our lives are spent working, and so for a citizen to be happy they must be happy at their work. A city which uses its human resources to the best of their abilities and helps them fullfil their potential, is a resilient city. Employment should be evenly spread in all sectors of a city, and the citizens should work in those jobs to which they are best suited and to which they are most attracted.

Overal resilience cannot exist without the inclusion of all segments of the population in the daily life of the city, as well as its growth and improvement. Taking care of the needs of all citizens from the centre to the outskirts and leaving no one behind is necessary for the feeling of security and community, and for the solidarity necessary for community resilience. The public policies of the city should enable an upward mobility of citizens. If a part of the population lives in a dillapidated area then that area is a weak point of the city, and an obstacle towards the overall resilience. Such areas should be renewed and its citizens included.
Social peace is dependent on the ontological and physical security of the citizens. In order to make the citizens feel safe they must feel like they are part of an inclusive and safe community, where they are welcome and protected. Community can be developed through the concept of Smart Communities, by which is meant that the city must facilitate a constant online forum in which all citizens can participate. This way the citizens will be connected with their fellows, and be aware of the challenges other face in the city, leading to understanding, solidarity and community action.
Cooperation and the exchange of experience and knowledge is necessary both inside of the city among the citizens, and outside of it with other cities. No one is perfect and no one can think of solutions to all problems. To facilitate an exchange of ideas there must be programmes of knowledge exchange and cooperation. Only this can lead to effective problem solving and the employment of best practices. Citizens should be motivated to both give and receive new information related to their lives and the life of the city, including the opinion of everyone who has relevant knowledge to share.
Having access to resources and the means to purchase them is an important pillar of social resilience. The individual citizens as well must have adequate housing and employment in order to contribute both to their own wellbeing and that of the city. Hungry people think only of food and are not resililent, and a city must make sure that the basic needs of all citizens are met, for a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The city economy must also manage supply chain issues and food production and predict possible shortages or failures of infrastructure.

The City Structure

A green and sustainable city that is the one that is self-sufficient and which provides clean water and air to its citizens. A polluted city is not resilient, and therefore, ecological standards and an awareness of the vulnerability of the environment is imperative to the functioning of a resilient city.
Without access to affordable and constant communication the individual citizens are isolated and obstructed, while their daily lives and routines are disrupted. A city with reliable communication is a city that is constantly connected and ready to react immediately to unexpected challenges.
A resilient city needs a reliable and functioning public transport system which can avoid congestion. Every minute spent in a traffic jam is a minute wasted for each citizen stuck, leading to years of wasted time over one work week. Eliminating traffic jams is one part of the solution, another part is the connecting of all parts of the city to the center and to each other. A city’s resilience is improved by the ability of citizens to move quickly through it, and to safety (in case of a state of emergency or a natural disaster).
As we have pointed out, a city is made up of citizens whose wellbeing is the main component of social resilience. Citizens who live in sub standard housing are not satisfied and therefore do not contribute to resilience. Replacement of such housing with improved dwelling places, and the availability of public spaces for the social intercourse of the citizens leads to immediate improvements in the wellbeing of citizens, and the resilience of the city. This is also related to the problem of Overcrowding and how to manage it.
A city is resilient if it has a reliable, sustainable and ecological energy grid, that is stable and resistant to both breakdowns and sabotage. A city cannot rely on external energy sources if it seeks to have full self-reliance. It must have its own energy sources, which can be best achieved with renewable sources such as solar energy. It must have its own dependable energy production, as a city without energy is like a car without fuel – useless. This is also connected to the problem of pollution and its prevention.
The replacement of decaying areas with new green urban spaces for living and working is not just an aesthetic improvement of a city, it is also a contribution to the spacial unity of the city, which is a necessary precondition for its resilience. A thriving city where each street is held to a certain standard, and where there are no areas which are being avoided, is a resilient city. To achieve this there must be adequate renewal of the city, as well as proper urban planing through effective city management.