Publishing its second resilience strategy, the City of Rotterdam has broadened the scope from climate risks to also increase the focus on economic, social, energy, ecological and digital readiness.
Rotterdam, a low-lying port city that is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, was one of the first cities in the world to publish an adaptation plan in 2013 and a documented resilience strategy in 2016. The new strategy which runs until 2027 outlines six issues that could have a significant impact on the city in the coming years. In addition to the climate crisis and the impacts of the pandemic, the plan pinpoints a decline in biodiversity, the increase in social inequality, rising pollution and depletion of raw materials, and growing cyber threats.
“Making and keeping Rotterdam resilient on all fronts requires spatial, social and economic resilience,” said Arno Bonte, Alderman for sustainability, air quality, energy transition and resilience.
“We have therefore broadened our strategy from its initial focus on climate resilience. A good coherence between these themes ensures a future-oriented city.”
Extending resilience thinking from the physical to the digital world addresses not only the growing threats related to targeted hacks and attacks on critical infrastructure but also the risks of online misinformation and new types of cyber-crime. Taking advantage of digital opportunities for employment and the economy is also a priority.
The strategy focuses on increasing digital skills and inclusion among residents, knowledge-sharing between organisations, internal co-operation between city departments, and driving a ‘security by design’ approach.
Marit Andersen, Rotterdam’s Cyber Resilience Officer, highlighted that the speed of technology development brings risks and opportunities.
“Cyber incidents can have a major impact,” she commented. “For example, think of the system of a hospital being hacked.”
It’s essential the city is prepared and protected, she said.
The strategy also outlines plans to further bolster community resilience amid challenges facing socially and economically vulnerable groups such as the rising cost of living, gentrification and decreasing opportunities for lower skilled workers.
“It is crucial to keep on anchoring the resilience thinking to increase resilience on a structural and systemic [level], and apply this on several scales within the city,” Arnoud Molenaar, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Rotterdam, told capitaltribunenews.com.
This includes using a set of principles for decision-making and prioritisation, and the application of seven resilience qualities: reflective, resourceful, robust, redundant, flexible, inclusive and integrated.
Rotterdam is working to create a first ‘resilient district’ In Bospolder-Tussendijken by 2028.
Image: Chay Kelly on Unsplash
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