New standard launched to increase city resilience

28 May 2019

Helping cities to protect critical resources, create and sustain opportunities for enterprise, and empower individuals, communities and places to adapt and prosper

With an estimated three million people moving to cities each week worldwide1, the need to build resilience within our urban spaces has never been more important. BSI, the business improvement company has published a new British Standard, developed with the support of the World Bank, UNISDR, UN Habitat, OECD and representatives from UK cities to preserve the health and wellbeing of cities in the face of rapid urban expansion, climate change or disruptive events such as pandemics. It would allow our cities to enhance their ability to absorb and adapt in a changing environment. Such resilience will minimize the disruptive and deflating effect of shocks and stresses on city strategy and future direction.

BSI, the business improvement company, acknowledges that the health and wellbeing of our cities and national life needs to be assured and has therefore developed, BS 67000 City Resilience, as a key vehicle for facilitating such assurance.

This new British Standard provides practical guidance and tools highlighting how to organize, prioritize, plan and deliver increased city resilience through a process of continual improvement.

All parts of this standard, in some way, have been applied in cities somewhere in the world, and are captured within a framework that provides a path to future city resilience evolution. That framework supports:

  • Consistency in the language used within and between organizations
  • A reliable process to steer users through activities and interactions
  • A truly interoperable system so that resilient approaches can be developed incrementally, taking city scale and bespoke needs into account
  • The ability to share best practice and approaches to common issues
  • More agile planning, systems resilience and performance measures
  • A set of guidance documents that fit together to make the picture progressively coherent.       

Anne Hayes, Director of Sectors at BSI, said: “The potential cost and risk around not building resilience into our cities is concerning. As the impact following shocks, disasters or even social tension and disruption could devastate a city, its ability to recover will not be through luck and hope but by proper continuity preparation and its agility to respond. This standard supports those responsible to advise and guide them through the various scenarios from preparation to aftermath, to tackle future challenges and exploit opportunities.”

Greater Manchester was one of the representative cities involved in the developing of the new standard.

Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire in Greater Manchester, Beverley Hughes, said: “Resilience has been a constant throughout Greater Manchester’s history. Looking to the future, it remains critical as we continue to face risks associated with climate change, including flooding and rising temperatures; the increasing inter-connectivity of our world, such as supply chain failures; and other unexpected changes, shocks, and disruptions.

“Greater Manchester has long recognized the importance of resilience to our economic, institutional, and community well-being, and has been perfectly placed to work alongside others with the British Standards Institution in authoring and establishing this new resilience standard. This vital guidance will help cities across the UK to rigorously plan for the unexpected and ensure the continuing safety and security of their people and assets.”

BS 67000 City Resilience has been produced in consultation with over 200 senior city stakeholders from across the UK and drawing on best practice from across the globe.  It is intended for use by all stakeholders2 who contribute to city resilience.

Further information about BS 67000 City Resilience is available at:


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Notes to Editor:

1 UN-Habitat, 2009

2 City resilience stakeholders include: Local government authorities, city leaders and planners, public, private, voluntary and higher education body senior executives with resilience remit, and professionals in authorities such as regeneration, planning, safety and security, climate and sustainability, transport and civil contingencies.