Urban resilience in the midst of violent turmoil

New York – Think of what resources are available to you today. Electricity, water, food, air, health care, internet — these and more are increasingly available, but far from all are utilized. When searching…

Urban resilience in the midst of violent turmoil

New York – Think of what resources are available to you today. Electricity, water, food, air, health care, internet — these and more are increasingly available, but far from all are utilized. When searching for new ways to gather fuel for your vehicle, lighting for your home, what supply of oil and energy do you have — or lack? In this first instalment of our series, “The Future of Urban Living,” we travel to Rwanda to learn about strategies that nurture resilience and resourcefulness in one of the world’s most violent areas and see what communities are doing to make sure that during periods of crisis there is a new way to live.

The fight against genocide is often seen as an anti-insurgency strategy, and while this may be true, resilience is at the core of community resilience. Well before the genocide, Rwanda had become accustomed to drought and other natural disasters. It was this relatively larger-scale hardship that facilitated the development of a coping mechanism.

As we approach the end of the 20th century, urban populations around the world are doubling every 35 years. New York is experiencing an increase of one person for every 55 seconds of the day, so it is not surprising that issues like urban resilience are among those being prioritized to combat climate change.

Dr. David Leaverton works at Facing Africa’s Future, an organization funded by the U.S. Congress that works with leaders, youth and civil society around Africa to address critical social, economic and environmental issues.

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