Catalyzing City Resilience Solutions

Our multi-city program that supports cities with their building urban resilience plans. 

The Catalyzing City Resilience Solutions program aims to help cities’ local economy to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic by identifying and empowering SME-dominated sectors of the economy; the program looks to harness SMEs’ unique role in urban economies to develop and provide solutions that will allow cities to build urban resilience.

The Challenge

Cities’ need to curb local transmission of the Covid-19 virus through lockdowns and other safety measures contributed to pressure on jobs and local economies. Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which are essential drivers of economic and social well-being in cities, have been disproportionately affected and have become more vulnerable due to the pandemic. In 2020, the International Trade Centre surveyed SMEs in 132 countries and found that two thirds of SMEs reported that the crisis strongly affected their business operations and one fifth indicated the risk of shutting down permanently within three months.

With the overlapping climate crisis, strengthening SMEs in cities beyond surviving the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic is critical for local economies. A survey of Chief Resilience Officers in 2020 confirmed that city leadership is focusing on social equity and local economy enhancement as their top priorities when thinking beyond the pandemic. Hence, supporting SMEs for cities’ resilient recovery must also address the opportunity to emerge more inclusively and sustainably.

Program Objective

R-Cities is partnering with Citi Foundation to support a cohort of up to eight cities in Asia Pacific through the Catalyzing City Resilience Solutions program. It aims to help cities’ local economies recover from the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic by empowering and strengthening the identified critical SME sectors to continue creating solutions that will allow cities to build urban resilience.

Program Approach

The Catalyzing City Resilience Solutions program has four main areas of action:

  1. Support the city to identify opportunities for empowering the SME ecosystem by assessing an SME-dominated sector and its impact on the local economy.
  2. Facilitate and organize a co-creation process between the city, the selected SME-dominated sector and stakeholders to accelerate the identified potential opportunity that strengthens SMEs’ business continuity, addresses critical resilience challenges and contributes co-benefits to the city.
  3. Facilitate a transformative pilot to test and demonstrate the potential of the selected solution emerging from the accelerator process.
  4. Build a peer network among cities that works on the intersection of strengthening the identified SME-dominated sector and innovating on resilient solutions.

Up to six cities in the Asia-Pacific region will be selected for the program and the experience in each city will be documented as a case study for dissemination through R-Cities’ global network of cities.

Cities will also engage in a learning community with fellow participant cities, inspiration cities and partners.

R-Cities wants to ensure that this program is grounded in the realities that cities and their SME-dominated sectors are facing. The following principles guide us in implementing this program:


  1. Committed to supporting a critical and vulnerable SME-dominated sector
  2. Responded to the resilience challenges of the city
  3. Embedded in a collaborative spirit
  4. Integrated resilience co-benefits for the city

Participating Cities

Can Tho


Da Nang





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