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When we talk about threats to society, from pollution and rising sea-levels to crime, terrorism or simply ill-health and disease, it increasingly seems that ‘crisis is the new normal’. Discussions about cities are no exception. As the phrase ‘resilient cities’ becomes more ubiquitous, many urbanists become preoccupied with the potential failures of cities, rather than their successes. In place of grand ambitions for bigger and better urban development, the talk today is of ‘future-proofing’ and ‘resilience’ in the face of manifold threats.

Filmed at the Battle of Ideas by WORLDbytes volunteers, the speakers are George Furguson, CBE, former Mayor of Bristol; Christiana Fragola, regional director for Europe & Middle East, 100 Resilient Cities; Martin Powell, global head of urban development, Siemans; Austin Williams, associate professor in architecture, XJTLU University, Suzhou, director, Future Cities Project. The chair is Alastair Donald, associated director of the Future Cities Project and architecture programme manager, British Council.

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