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BS67000: setting the standard for city resilience

City resilience is critically important to economic, organizational, and community well-being. This has been recognised by the development of a standard for city resilience by the British Standards Institution. Robert Hall looks at the new BS67000 standard.

Led by Caroline Field, the Head of Resilience at Thornton Tomasetti, the committee formed to develop the new standard - a diverse group of consultants, city representatives, government officials, agencies, infrastructure providers and academia - has considered how resilience can help a city achieve its strategic ambitions, and thrive rather than just survive.

Perspectives on resilience have changed over time: what began as developing resilience (reactive to events) moved to maturity (horizon scanning, prevention and sustainability) and in highly resilient cities the thinking is now pioneering: agile, with resilience in the round.

The standard considers five fundamentals for resilience:

  • Inclusive: community cohesion and quality of life for all;
  • Durable: prepared and robust against identified shocks and stresses;
  • Reflective: learning, evidencing and continuous improvement;
  • Adaptive: agile and flexible to change;
  • Integrated: working together, solving multiple problems.

It also provides a framework to organize, assesses, plan, deliver and continuously improve resilience, ultimately allowing for an evaluation of the maturity of a city’s resilience.

The standard will provide practical guidance and tools, building on the growing portfolio of guidance available. It is intended for use by all stakeholders who contribute to a city’s life.

The ultimate goal of BS67000is to help cities be more prepared and more agile in the face of change and disruption, improving quality of life, financial stability, integration and community cohesion, and future proofing the city through long-term planning. As one participant in a focus group during the standard development concisely put it:
“A resilient city has the hindsight to learn from the past, the insight to know its strengths and weaknesses right now, and the foresight to anticipate and adapt to future disruptions and change.”

You can read more about the City Resilience Standard at the BSI website:

The author

Robert Hall is Executive Director of Resilience First, an initiative to improve urban resilience for business communities in the UK and beyond.

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