Ecocity Insights

Ten Essentials for Making Cities Resilient

Written by Jennie Moore

According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) there are ten essential attributes of cites that help make them resilient. These attributes comprise a checklist as follows (UNISDR 2015a):

  1. Organization and coordination.
  2. Assigned budget.
  3. Up to date risk data incorporated in land use plans.
  4. Critical infrastructure that reduce risk (e.g. good drainage systems).
  5. Safe schools and hospitals.
  6. Realistic, risk-compliant building regulations and land use planning principles.
  7. Education and training programs on community-based disaster risk reduction.
  8. Protection of natural ecosystems and buffers.
  9. Early warning systems and emergency management capacity development programs.
  10. Affected populations placed at the centre of reconstruction efforts.

UNISDR will work with Toronto-based World Council on City Data (WCCD) to incorporate these ten attributes within the ISO 31720 standard for resilient and sustainable cities (UNISDR 2015b). The standard incorporates 100 indicators measuring city services and quality of life.

Of particular interest with regard to ecocity standards ( is the eighth attribute which recognizes protection of natural ecosystems and buffers as essential to helping make cities resilient. The International Ecocity Framework and Standards (IEFS) inherently align with the protection of natural ecosystems by virtue of reducing the demand of cities on nature’s services. Each of the fifteen ecocity attributes dealing with urban design, bio-geophysical features, socio-cultural features, and ecological services contribute to the protection of natural ecosystems, and in turn support the resilience of the city itself.

To learn more about the work of UNISDR and the ten essential attributes of resilient cities visit: To learn more about the International Ecocity Framework and Standards visit: To submit a paper or poster on the topic of resilience and ecocities for the upcoming Ecocity World Summit 2015 visit: and select submission under the theme of “Urban Systems, Footprints and Metabolism.”

UNISDR. 2015a.The Ten Essentials of Making Cities Resilient. Online resource: (Accessed March 31, 2015).

UNISDR. 2015b. ISO Standard to Disaster-Proof Cities Announced at UN Conference. Press Release, 13 March, 2015-UNISDR 2015/08.


British Columbia Institute of Technology School of Construction and the Environment is Lead Sponsor of the International Ecocity Framework and Standards Initiative     



About the author

Jennie Moore

Dr. Jennie Moore is Director, Institute Sustainability at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Dr. Moore has extensive experience in the realm of ecological sustainability and urban systems including climate change and energy management, green buildings and eco-industrial networking. Prior to joining BCIT she worked for over a decade at Metro Vancouver as Manager of Strategic Initiatives. Her research explores the potential for Vancouver to achieve one-planet living. Jennie is a senior associate of the One Earth Initiative and a core advisor to the International Ecocity Framework and Standards.