Urban resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and thrive in the face of the chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience. Learn more about urban resilience.
A shock is a sudden sharp event that threatens the immediate well-being of a city. In Toronto, we face potential shocks due to flash storms that lead to flooding, heatwaves, blizzards and cold snaps, and power outages.
A stress is chronic, meaning it plays itself out day after day. Stresses can weaken the fabric of our city, and impact our ability to bounce back in response to a shock. In Toronto, these stresses include growing economic inequality among residents, a worsening housing crisis, difficulty getting around, and ageing infrastructure.
Advancing equity is a core component of building resilience. The ability of a city to survive and thrive in the face of challenges is as much about the strength of its communities and neighbourhoods as it is about the design and management of its infrastructure and buildings.
A focus on equity is aligned with an all my relations Indigenous worldview. While different Indigenous communities have diverse sets of knowledge, many local Indigenous communities and communities across Canada share a teaching that could be translated in English as “all my relations”.
According to Thomas King, ‘all my relations’ “reminds us of the extended relationship we share with all human beings. But the relationships go further, the web of kinship to animals, to the birds, to the fish, to the plants, to all the animate and inanimate forms that can be seen or imagined. More than that, “all my relations” is an encouragement for us to accept the responsibilities we have within the universal family by living our lives in a harmonious and moral manner”.
The Resilience Strategy’s focus on equity is guided by the “all my relations” teaching.