Semarang is a coastal city in central Java subject to a variety of sudden shocks and everyday stresses. Arup International Development recently spent time supporting the Semarang City Government prepare to measure the resilience of the city using the City Resilience Index (CRI).
Arup’s relationship with Semarang goes back to the work we did on the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (2008-16). Semarang was also one of six geographically diverse cities around the world involved in the fieldwork we undertook in developing the CRI with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.
As a coastal city, Semarang’s most pressing concerns are around water such as impacts from floods, coastal erosion, and land subsidence.
However, it also has issues with disease outbreak, traffic congestion and high unemployment. Home to more than 1.5 million people – that is more people than live in Adelaide – the city of Semarang released its Resilience Strategy on 23 May 2016. The CRI will provide a resilience baseline against which contributions from Resilience Strategy activities can be identified.
To help prepare the City Government to undertake the CRI, we delivered training to the city’s Core Resilience Team. The training was designed to deepen their understanding of key city resilience concepts, of the CRI in general, and how the process of undertaking the assessment works, including navigating the CRI online tool to enter data and generate a resilience profile. We supported the Core Resilience Team to then deliver a bespoke training to the broader City Government Team who are responsible for data collection.
The benefits of greater city resilience was well understood by the officials we encountered. No doubt this is the result of the city’s sustained effort to understand the impact of climate change on various city systems as well as first-hand experience of when those systems fail. For example, livelihoods being interrupted by flash flooding.
Enabling the city to carry out the self-assessment to baseline its resilience will inform planning and track progress on improving the city’s ability to survive and thrive no matter what they encounter. ”Luke Millar
Along with this understanding came a stated commitment to use the CRI to help them strengthen Semarang’s resilience, including by the City Secretary with whom we met.
The Core Resilience Team were fantastic at tailoring training content to best meet the needs of the broader City Government Team . These needs focussed on providing examples of the kind of qualitative questions the City Government Team will need to answer, including running mock exercises that promoted a ‘learning by doing’ approach.
I enjoyed engaging with the Core Resilience Team and better understanding the potential benefit of the CRI to the city planning process and the city’s ongoing work as a part of the 100RC network in implementing its Resilience Strategy. ”Luke Millar
The assessment will be carried out over the next three months. The team at Arup International Development will then assist the city of Semarang to interpret the results so they can be used to baseline Semarang’s resilience and contribute to city development plans.