Can Canadian cities teach the world a lesson in how to avoid or bounce back from adverse events? Perhaps, given that three Canadian hubs--Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary--rank in the top 10 of the world's most resilient cities according to a new report from London-based property investment company Grosvenor. The report, "Resilient Cities," examined 50 of the world's most important cities according to their vulnerability and adaptive capacity in terms of their community, infrastructure, resources, environmental threats, and climate change-related threats, in order to identify the best bets for long-term real estate investment.

The report used the broad definition of resilience as a city's capacity to "maintain itself as a centre of production and culture in the face of adversity while offering its inhabitants a decent standard of living," according to the full report. Threats from climate change such as vulnerability to sea level change, hurricanes and typhoons, wildfires, floods, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis, and mass population shifts were used to asses risk and vulnerability, as were metrics regarding environmental pollution and overconsumption of land resources. Other variables examined include access to resources such as energy, water, and food; a city's housing, transportation, and basic utilities infrastructure; and the availability of affordable housing, education and health facilities, and religious freedom, as they relate to community development and support.

Ten Most Resilient Cities

10. Atlanta
9. Washington, D.C.
8. Zurich
7. Boston
6. Stockholm
5. Pittsburgh
4. Chicago
3. Calgary, Alberta, Canada
2. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
1. Toronto

The overall resilience rankings were by a combination of a city's vulnerability score  and its adaptive capacity score. While six of the top 10 cities overall were in the U.S., the country's cities as a whole didn't score well overall due to higher vulnerability scores attributed to social tension, lack of investment in utilities, and urban sprawl and overconsumption of resources, according to the report. The most vulnerable cities in the report, none of which were in Canada or the U.S., suffer from inequality, poor infrastructure, environmental degradation, and climate vulnerability. The need for resilience only increases in the future, as seven of the 10 most vulnerable cities also have the highest forecast population growth of the total group of 50 cities, a critical factor as "the least resilient cities are the ones facing the greatest pressure to grow," according to the study. What cities are most at risk?

Ten Most Vulnerable Cities

10. Shanghai
9. Delhi, India
8. Rio de Janeiro
7. Mexico City
6. Cairo
5. Guangzhou, China
4. Manila, Philippines
3. Mumbai, India
2. Dhaka, Bangladesh
1. Jakarta, Indonesia

Click here to access the Grosvenor briefing.

Image courtesy Flickr user Prayitno under Creative Commons license.