Threat factors drive cities’ resilience spending to $335 billion in 2024

Oyster Bay, New York - City governments worldwide are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of making their cities able to withstand or recover quickly from a range of predictable and unpredictable disasters and catastrophes, driving global public spending on urban resilience projects from US$97 billion in 2019 to US$335 billion in 2024, according to a new report from ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies.

“Due to their very high population concentrations, cities are much more vulnerable to the catastrophic potential of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, sea level rise and flooding, food shortages, wildfires, extreme heat, hurricanes, tropical storms and typhoons, terrorist attacks, civil unrest, cyber-attacks, war, diseases and epidemics, nuclear or chemical contamination, extreme air pollution, and many other emergency situations. So much so that many cities have already appointed a Chief Resilience Officer,” explained Dominique Bonte, Vice President, End Markets at ABI Research.

While the smart cities concept is very much geared toward ensuring livability of citizens in the present, resilient cities guarantee future livability in the face of a changing urban environment not only in terms of acute shocks but also of chronic stresses related to economic, financial, environmental, social, and institutional crises.

“The significant growth of global public spending on urban resilience projects includes spending on both physical infrastructure and ICT infrastructure and services. Resilience spending is currently dominated by cities in developed regions. The cities of New York and Miami Beach have announced budgets of respectively US$500 million and US$400 million for flood prevention, sea-level-rise mitigation, and coastal areas reinforcement. By 2024, cities in developing regions will account for 40% of all resilience spending,” Bonte said.

Resilience strategies and solutions include many components ranging from detection and prediction via advanced sensors and AI-based analytics to alert systems, evacuation procedures, rescue missions, relief response modes in the immediate aftermath and recovery for survivors and the city as a whole in the longer term.

Critical resilience technologies and paradigms include predictive modeling and digital twins (already explored by cities like Cambridge, England, and Rotterdam, Netherlands), cybersecurity, redundant infrastructure, and system designs, decentralized service provisioning, demand-response optimization, sharing economy and cross-vertical integration, physical robustness, and robotics.

Key suppliers of resilience technologies covered in the report include NEC, Bosch, and ZTE. Organizations like 100 Resilient Cities (100RC), the United Nations (Making My City Resilient campaign), and the U.S. National League of Cities (NLC) (Leadership in Community Resilience program) are promoting best practices for designing resilient cities.

“Resilience programs for dense urban areas are closely linked to sustainability efforts aimed at preventing pollution and mitigating the impact of climate change on flooding and other severe weather conditions. According to Lloyd’s City Risk Index, climate-related risks alone account for US$122.98 billion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) under threat for a sample of 279 cities. With cities being centers of economic activity, minimizing loss of GDP is the most important incentive and justification for resilience spending in terms of Return on Investment (ROI),” Bonte concluded.

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