News | 15 March 2017

Wellington unveils its comprehensive urban resilience strategy to prepare the city for the next 100 years

Created in conjunction with 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, the Resilience Strategy will help the city thrive in the face of seismic risk, a changing society, and new climate realities

Resilient Wellington logo with the word resilient in a large black circle and Wellington in green lettering.

Wellington today (5.30pm) unveils Resilient Wellington, a comprehensive strategic roadmap to promote urban resilience in New Zealand’s capital city.

Prime Minister Bill English, Mayor Justin Lester, Mike Mendonça, Wellington’s Chief Resilience Officer, and Andrew Salkin, Chief Operating Officer for 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) will lead an event to discuss the strategy and its implementation with members of government, community groups and businesses.

The strategy, an effort led by the Wellington City Council with support from 100RC, proposes concrete actions to build citywide resilience to prepare the city for a future that looks very different from today’s reality.

Resilient Wellington was developed in consultation with the more than 200 people in Wellington, including infrastructure managers, researchers, community members, businesses and council staff from across the Wellington region.

Led by the Chief Resilience Officer, the city also conducted a wide range of consultation meetings, engaging various stakeholders and organizations through one-on-one interviews and citizen participation in workshops and focus groups. Through this process, Wellington built a consensus and determination for the city’s approach to resilience and prioritized actions and initiatives that will increase urban resilience.

Justin Lester, Mayor of Wellington, said “In recent years climate experts, disaster responders and sustainability proponents have come into rare alignment. They agree we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop and invest in a future for Wellington that ensures we will not only survive shocks and stresses, but also thrive afterwards.

This strategy lays out a coherent blueprint for dealing with future shocks and stresses. Some of the plans we have are short term and tactical; others are longer term and more strategic in nature. All of them have people at the centre.”

Mike Mendonça, Wellington Chief Resilience Officer, said: “As a modern city, Wellington needs to be prepared to survive, adapt and grow in the face of challenges. I always say that resilience is more than simply having a civil defence kit and strong buildings, because those things should be a given.

The strategy, with its comprehensive approach to resilience building, will enable our city to go beyond that, and grow stronger and smarter in dealing with shocks and stresses. This strategy outlines a vision for Wellington to face any future, while taking into account the needs of our community – ensuring that every citizen has a place and voice in our city.”

Andrew Salkin, Chief Operating Officer for 100 Resilient Cities said: “This strategy takes a clear-eyed look at Wellington’s future and plans for it by putting people first. Its focus on inclusive decision making and concrete steps for implementation empowers citizens and gives communities the tools to thrive and develop effectively. Wellington is leading by example and is a global model of how cities can be forward-looking and embrace adaptability in development.”

Resilient Wellington focuses on three interconnected areas for action, each with its own goals, initiatives and projects to strengthen the city and its communities:

  • People are connected, empowered and feel part of a community: focuses on community and household based resilience and features initiatives to reduce homelessness, develop disaster risk management plans for heritage areas and improve business continuity planning
  • Decision making at all levels is integrated and well informed: focuses on governance and utilizing information to inform future and risk planning and features initiatives to introduce regulatory tools for resilience, encourage climate adaptation actions and undertake recovery planning for the region to respond to future disruption
  • Our homes and natural and built environments are healthy and robust: focuses focuses on the city’s vital infrastructure and includes initiatives to help make homes safe warm and dry, improve water systems and support the widespread adoption of electric vehicles

As a member of the 100RC Network, Wellington has access to services, tools, and expertise from the 100RC Platform of Partners, comprised of leading private, public, academic, government, and NGO sector leaders, including SwissRe, Akzo Nobel, CSIRO, the World Bank, and the World Resources Institute. 100RC Platform Partners assist member cities with tools and services that facilitate the planning and implementation of their strategy process.

Wellington will be able to tap into the tools and services on the Platform, which are currently valued at over US$250 million, in order to support the implementation of the Resilient Wellington strategy.