What would happen if Montréal were hit by an earthquake? Or if another ice storm plunged the city into darkness for days? Once the dark hours have passed, the cities and communities affected need to be able to get back on their feet and seize the opportunities of evolution and transformation available to them. That is exactly what Montréal’s resiliency bureau, the Bureau de la résilience, wants to study; the new office has been active since May developing an urban resiliency strategy for the city.
If any such scenario were to occur, large and small businesses would inevitably be called upon to play a leading role in the city’s recovery. This is why the Board of Trade, like a number of other organizations in Montréal, has been collaborating on this new entity’s efforts.
The Rockefeller Foundation, which is behind this initiative, has committed to investing $100 million to partner with 100 cities around the world to help them become more resilient in the face of the social, economic and physical challenges of the 21st century. Montréal is the first Canadian city to begin its efforts, with Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver to follow close on its heels.
Resiliency means the ability of people, communities, institutions and businesses within a city to resist, adapt and develop in the face of acute shocks (for example, a cyber attack or a drinking water shortage) or states of chronic stress (poverty, climate change).
In January 2016, the Ville de Montréal organized a workshop on resiliency during which the city’s strengths and weaknesses were pointed out. Economically speaking, the diverse economy, the high number of SMEs and Montréal’s ability to attract international organizations were perceived as strengths. The weaknesses raised included the limited tendency to promote economic prosperity and take advantage of market recoveries.
The collaboration of some 60 participants from different backgrounds will help improve the city’s resiliency strategy by setting priorities, commenting on directions, promoting the effort in their own circles and putting in place initiatives to improve resilience.
Four working groups ‒ Diversity and Social Equity, Infrastructure and Urban Networks, Quality of Communities, and Prosperity and Innovation, which the Board of Trade will take part in – have been formed, and the first meetings will take place this fall.
A strategy should be unveiled in 2017. Until then, the Bureau de la résilience would like to get the public’s perception of the city’s resiliency and invites people to complete a five-minute survey to help further its work. You can do so by clicking here.
To find out more about the Rockefeller Foundation initiative: https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/