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Anne Kiremidjian: A resilient city is a sustainable city

December 17, 2016

By Ian Chipman

A city’s ability to bounce back from extreme events and persistent stressors is a key component of urban sustainability, says Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering Anne Kiremidjian at the Digital Cities Summit 2016. But this idea of urban resiliency isn’t just about rebuilding civil infrastructure after an earthquake or blunting the impact of long-term shifts like climate change: “It is rebuilding the economy, it is rebuilding the social fabric, it is rebuilding the health and wellness of individuals. It is preserving the political system.”

While developing, gathering, and analyzing data on transportation, power, communications, and water systems will help make our cities more resilient, the need doesn’t stop there. “Our cities do not survive because they have buildings,” Kiremidjian says. We also must preserve the societal fabric that makes it possible for people to return to normal. “If you are going to be developing digital cities, please remember that you need to develop a digital component for the social, economic, and political part of the city.”