Continuity of Urban Services

The continuity of urban services following an emergency and/or disaster event is critical. This collection of solutions and blocks provides a quick summary of resources on this topic.

Continuity of all critical life-safety services


Recent events have highlighted the extreme vulnerabilities and interdependencies of core life-safety infrastructure and utilities (e.g. energy, water and sanitation) and the need for their combined secure, continuous operation during crisis. Advance planning for large-scale, high-impact events is critical to ensuring that these incidents do not overwhelm either immediate response capabilities or the long-term well-being of highly vulnerable segments of Boulder’s community. The city will design and implement a community wide network of resilience centers that ensures continuity of critical community services, protection for high-risk populations and infrastructure, and an enhanced capacity to provide and maintain basic services at a neighborhood scale, and develop the capacity to ‘island’ critical infrastructure provision without jeopardizing core life-safety functions. These resilience centers will contain small-scale or compartmentalized infrastructure systems that can operate independent of the larger utility system to sustain a sheltering facility during wide-scale disruption.

Continuity planning strategies with local businesses


The sooner local businesses return to normal operations after a disaster, the faster the surrounding neighborhoods and city recover. We will collaborate with public and private institutions and organizations to identify best practices; facilitate the use of continuity plan templates and other resources; develop policies and procedures for improved situational awareness; coordinate between business support organizations; and communicate with businesses after a disaster. Ultimately it is in each organization’s interest to proactively plan for uncertainty and disruption, but our community at large has a clear stake in helping all businesses weather the inevitable crises and bounce back faster and better.

Develop methodologies for resilience in infrastructure projects with adaptive measures for public facilities

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The concept of resilience is new, even within the decision-making process. This action is therefore aimed at influencing construction projects in the operation and improvement of strategic infrastructure and public urban facilities so that these projects incorporate resilience qualities, recognize the risks to which they are exposed, improve the effectiveness of adaptive measures, and better prioritize investments. This action helps promote a multifunctional information infrastructure that can reduce risks to the population, ensure continuity of basic services, and improve the environment and quality of life of the inhabitants of CDMX.

Foster regional collaboration

This solution addresses lack of regional collaboration in Mexico City, Mexico for local communities

Identify primary drivers of change

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As a part of the Strategic Foresight Initiative's (SFI) scenario planning and trends analysis, SFI employs an analytical approach used commonly by organizations such as the U.S. National Intelligence Council to identify macro-level factors that have significant influence in the world. These macro-level factors fall into five dimensions—Social, Technological, Environmental, Economic, and Political (STEEP). Using this STEEP approach, the SFI community of practitioners and subject matter experts identified 9 major drivers of change (categorized along the 5 STEEP dimensions) that will likely have the most significant influence on disaster management in the U.S. over the next 20 years. These drivers include Changing Role of the Individual, Climate Change, Critical Infrastructure, Evolving Terrorist Threat, Global Interdependencies, Government Budgets, Technological Innovation and Dependency, Universal Access to and Use of Information, and US Demographic Shifts.

Increased redundancy & reliability of of energy infrastructure


Reliable power is especially important for infrastructure and critical facilities that support and protect public health and safety. In order to reduce power outages, we'll improve the redundancy and reliability of our energy infrastructure, using microgrids, small backup electrical generation and distribution systems that can disconnect from the traditional grid to operate autonomously. Microgrids also enable the integration of renewable energy sources and reduce energy loss in transmission and distribution, further increasing efficiency.

Rapid post-disaster impact assessment capacity improvements with business community


The ability for businesses to rapidly access resources and financial assistance after a disaster is essential for the successful return to operations. Each day that businesses remains idle represents lost revenue, wages and taxes, eliminating vital infusions of financial capital just when a community needs it most. Boulder will partner with local businesses and associations to develop the necessary capacity, relationships and systems to quickly and efficiently collect impact information and data, access recovery funds and return businesses to operation after a disaster with minimal disruption. The city will also explore the creation of a Business Disaster Assistance Center that would become operational when needed. By developing a user-friendly process to address gaps in our response to the 2013 flood, we are preparing for future uncertainty.

Risk Identification for future economic vitality

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Ensuring the continuing vitality of the local economy is an essential component of long-term community resilience. The City of Boulder will incorporate an analysis of the local business community’s vulnerability to disruptions in core infrastructure provision, workforce availability and financial services into an update to the Economic Sustainability Strategy. Boulder will also explore whether there are latent vulnerabilities to larger macro-economic trends that the city can plan for proactively. Cyclical swings in the economy are normal and are predictable stresses whose effects can be minimized through thoughtful preparation.