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How Can We Improve Urban Resilience with Open Data?

Improve urban resilience with open data - recommendations and implementation approaches for policy makers.

The Rockefeller Foundation defines urban resilience as: “The capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience” (Rockefeller Foundation, 2016).

Urban resilience is a complex topic, and one that is inherently dynamic. A large part of the work in urban resilience is focused around issues that are constantly changing and evolving, such as migration patterns, employment trends, natural disasters, demographics, climate change, industrial developments and disease. The time is right to bring the open data community and the urban resilience sector together to work on these complex problems, to support improved outcomes for cities, and to explore the question at the heart of this paper: ‘How can urban resilience be improved with open data?’

This paper suggests five recommendations and implementation approaches for policymakers working to improve urban resilience with open data:

  • Couple open data and urban resilience efforts to build a culture of openness;
  • Assess and address similarities and differences in urban resilience work between low- and high-income countries globally;
  • Close the open data capacity gap;
  • Develop an agile approach to managing urban resilience;
  • Cultivate business opportunities that address urban resilience issues.


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