Catalyzing City Resilience Solutions
Our multi-city program that supports cities with building their 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.
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.
R-Cities is partnering with Citi Foundation to support a cohort of six 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.
The Catalyzing City Resilience Solutions program has four main areas of action:
- Support the city to identify opportunities for empowering the SME ecosystem by assessing an SME-dominated sector and its impact on the local economy.
- 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.
- Facilitate a transformative pilot to test and demonstrate the potential of the selected solution emerging from the accelerator process.
- 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:
- Committed to supporting a critical and vulnerable SME-dominated sector
- Responded to the resilience challenges of the city
- Embedded in a collaborative spirit
- Integrated resilience co-benefits for the city
Catalyzing City Resilience Solutions Program Brochure
The Catalyzing City Resilience Solutions program aims to help cities’ local economy recover from Covid-19 by empowering and strengthening a critical SMEs sector to continue to develop and provide solutions that will allow cities to build urban resilience.
A Point of View: Empowering SMEs for Urban Resilience
A Point of View: Empowering SMEs for Urban Resilience presents our first resilience perspective drawing on the invaluable lessons from our Catalyzing City Resilience Solutions program, supported by the Citi Foundation. It offers insights that advocate for SMEs as vital catalysts for urban resilience and economic growth.
A Practical Guidance: Emerging Insight from the Catalyzing City Resilience Solutions Program
The Catalyzing Cities Resilience Solution program represents a significant step towards resilient SMEs and local economies, stimulating more discussion, awareness, and action. This Practical Guidance is based on valuable learning opportunities from the program that could be useful for local governments or partners to undertake a similar effort in other cities.
SME Resilience Profiles
SME Resilience Profiles assess the resilient recovery of an industry/sector which is made up of and driven by small businesses. The Profiles highlight the private sector’s role in, relationship to, and impact on six Southeast Asian cities and their communities.
The Bangkok SME Resilience Profile explores the relationship between the Bang Mot community, local businesses, and the canal environment which are all deeply intertwined. It also demonstrates the strength of the community to self-organize and collaborate.
The Can Tho SME Resilience Profile examines the practices of small waste collection, transportation, and segregation businesses whom the city relies on to maintain a clean environment. Municipal waste management in Can Tho involves a range of actors from informal waste pickers to composting companies.
The Da Nang SME Resilience Profile follows the traditional fish sauce industry in Nam O coastal village as they adapt to environmental, economic, and demographic changes. Recognized as a cultural heritage, the city is sustainably conserving and promoting the Nam O fish sauce craft and product.
The Jakarta SME Resilience Profile takes a peek into green mussel processing stalls which often have unsafe work environments and waste disposal methods, posing environmental and health risks to locals and the surrounding coastal environment. It is estimated that one dump truck of the mussel’s shell waste is generated daily.
The Melaka SME Resilience Profile focuses on the Melaka River’s once thriving tourism industry which has been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Phase II of the Melaka River, beyond the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s main tourism attractions, has even less economic activity, offering an opportunity to revitalize the riverfront.
The Semarang SME Resilience Profile gets up close and personal with some of Semarang’s 300 batik businesses and its craftspeople to understand their struggles during the pandemic, competition from batik industries of neighboring cities, and challenges with pollution.
News and Resources
Episode 18: Holistic Disaster Resilience featuring Bangkok
Resilient Community Impact Funds to award Jakarta’s Kalibaru Hub: A catalyst for sustainable waste management and local economic growth
Ocean Conservancy, The Circulate Initiative, and Resilient Cities Network Announce Three New Cities to Join Urban Ocean®
For more information on our programs