What is Urban Resilience? 

Create urban resilience, a safe daily routine

There are two main threats to the lives of cities and citizens. One is the chronic risk factor in which problems exist in our daily life and affect for a long time and continuously. For example, changes in population structure such as the economic downturn, unemployment, decrease in birth rates and aging population. This chronic factor is defined as the stress of the city. The other, on the other hand, is a factor that occurs suddenly and lasts for a short period of time. Examples include general natural disasters, such as typhoons, heavy rains, heat waves, earthquakes, terrorism, and collapse of buildings and facilities. These elements are defined as urban shock.

The stress and shock of the city can cause discomfort to individuals' lives in small amounts, but in severe cases, it can hurt citizens or even kill them. At this time, stress and shock factors are not just natural disasters such as earthquakes and heat waves. Conflict with neighbors, alienation from the community, and furthermore the physical/psychological/social damage of citizens due to economic instability, are also dark aspects caused by stress and shock. The extent to which this negative impact can also be extended beyond individuals to communities and cities as a whole. In addition, the same problem may change the importance or risk of changing perceptions or changes in urban conditions or urban conditions. In the recent case of fine dust in Seoul, only the elderly and the respiratory disease were initially a matter of paying attention to, but is now recognized as a matter of health and survival for all citizens.

Urban resilience refers to the ability of all the individuals, communities, institutions and businesses in the city to adapt, survive and grow, resisting stress and shock. A good recovery is that it can prevent or minimize damage due to its high resistance. It also means that the lives of the city's inner circle can continue even if the damage occurs, and that it can quickly return to its original state or beyond. After the same impact and stressors have occurred, the journey through is very different depending on the level of resilience in the city.

Enhancing Urban Resilience through Smart Technology and Governance

Urban safety is a fundamental value that supports the lives of citizens and urban competitiveness. As a lesson from the recent natural and social disasters, securing urban safety has emerged as an utmost policy task. Global environmental transitions including climate change and various economic and social changes have transformed today's conventional disasters in a more complicated way which cannot be classified simply as natural disasters or man-made. For the impact will bring grave consequences, a game-changing paradigm shift in the disaster management is required.


In a rapidly changing and interconnected society aligned with technological innovation, a country’s issue is no longer limited to that country alone. To achieve sustainable development by responding quickly to external changes such as economic crisis and disaster, resilience is the key to help cities withstand unexpected shocks. In order to prevent chronic and potential disasters, we need a systematic risk control strategy that minimizes damage, reduces vulnerabilities, and helps people adjust to changes rather than post-recovery focused measures.

 With the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution, the need for a smart safe city to solve disaster-related problems continues to increase at a rapid pace. Already, many countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas have begun to incorporate smart and safety strategies at the national level. As such, smart technology is unparallel aspect in all areas.

 Thus, we need to establish a smart safe city where all citizens can benefit directly from its focused safety strategies, not least disaster prevention. In order to accelerate the efforts, partnerships from businesses, academia, communities, and local governments around the globe will be crucial.

 『International Urban Resilience Forum Seoul 2019』 is a great platform to design integrated solutions and share information on urban resilience through diverse sessions and discussions under the theme of “Enhancing Urban Resilience through Smart Technology and Governance.” The Forum is to introduce trends and best practices and discuss the ways in strengthening resilience and sustainable city development. The Forum will provide excellent opportunities for city leaders and executives, experts, relevant organizations, and civil society to engage in sharing of their experience and knowledge on recent disaster-related issues.