Uruk was the world’s first city, but, far from Mesopotamia, Caral, in modern Peru, holds this honor for the New World. Despite their geographical and cultural separation, these two locations shared a plenitude of characteristics—large population, tall buildings, sewer systems, administrative government, walls, and other factors that designate a city. They also faced similar shocks and pressures that may have even forced these cities into decline.
Today, the shocks that cities face have proliferated. According to ISO 37123:2019 – Sustainable Cities And Communities – Indicators For Resilient Cities, these include “floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, pandemics, chemical spills and explosions, terrorism, power outages, financial crises, cyber-attacks and conflicts.”
A resilient city is one that is able to prepare for, recover from, and adapt to these shocks and stresses. With urbanization reaching new highs—55% of our total population lives in cities, and two-thirds of humanity is expected to occupy urban areas by 2050—a city’s resiliency is pertinent to most. Unfortunately, existing indicators for establishing the baseline for cities are often not standardized.
Global cities need indicators to set their baseline, and ISO 37123:2019 fulfills this need when it comes to resiliency. Other standards in the same series expand upon other areas.
ISO 37100 International Standards
ISO 37123:2019 closely relates to another international standard, ISO 37120:2018 – Sustainable cities and communities – Indicators for city services and quality of life. Helping to fit the need for consistent, integrated approaches to sustainable development, ISO 37120:2018 looks at indicators for city services and quality of life.
Ultimately, ISO 37120:2018 assists cities in steering and assessing the performance management of city services and all service provisions, outlining sectors and services a city provides. Stressing the relationship between sustainable development, resilient development, and smart development, the current, 2018 edition of this standard was intended for use in conjunction with two international standards published in 2019: ISO 37122:2019, which specifies and establishes indicators specific for smart cities, and ISO 37123:2019.
You can learn more here: Indicators for City Services and Quality of Life in Sustainable Cities and Communities in ISO 37120:2018.
Indicators for Resilient Cities, ISO 37123:2019
ISO 37123:2019 offers indicators for measuring progress towards resilient cities. While ISO 37120:2018 contains indicators to a city’s resilience planning, this new standard emerged from the need for additional indicators.
Applicable to any city, municipality, or local government measuring its performance in a comparable and verifiable manner, ISO 37123:2019 details an expanse of areas to focus on resiliency, including economy, education, energy, environment and climate change, finance, governance, health, population, urban planning, transportation, and many others. With this globally comparative quantitative data, cities can equip themselves with measurements to reduce vulnerability to risks.
ISO technical committee ISO/TC 268, Sustainable cities and communities, developed ISO 37123. Involving the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) during its development, this standard aligns with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a voluntary agreement by UN member states to work towards reducing disaster risk, and it contributes to the UNDRR’s global “Making Cities Resilient” campaign. It also follows the principles found in ISO 37101:2016, so it can be used in conjunction with strategic frameworks.
ISO 37123:2019 – Sustainable Cities And Communities – Indicators For Resilient Cities is available on the ANSI Webstore.