Today’s cities are all subject to the future shocks and stresses that will be associated with climate change, energy scarcity and global population growth. Their economies, food supplies, public and private transportation, and the production of materials to build them, are all energy intensive and fossil fuel dependent; and their existing building fabric has not been designed to stand up to the future environmental shocks and stresses produced by a warming climate.
Over the next 50 years, our societies and cities will therefore need to effectively respond to these challenges, or suffer significant economic and social consequences. This will happen for two reasons:
Climate Change: Efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and otherwise lower Earth’s rising average temperature will begin driving serious social and political projects across the globe. Their timing will roughly coincide with Peak Oil. Many societies will depend on the success of these projects for their survival.
Energy Scarcity (Peak Oil): Global production of fossil fuels is predicted to peak sometime between 2010 and 2020, and then begin to decline. Coupled with increasing oil demand from the world-wide population growth as well as the continued industrialization of the developing world, decreasing worldwide production rates will drive energy costs up sharply.
Global Population Growth: According to projections, the world population will continue to grow until at least 2050, with the population reaching 9 billion in 2040, and some predictions putting the population in 2050 as high as 11 billion (source: see http://esa.un.org/unpp/). This growth, at the present time, seems to be unsustainable by the current carrying capacity of the planet. Significant resource stresses, causing socio-polictical stresses seem the most probable result of this projected growth.
It is the purpose of ResilientCity.org to explore how best to respond to these two challenges by developing strategies and techniques for increasing the various aspects of urban resilience that will help our cities cope with the impacts of these stresses.