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Roundtable on Understanding Resilient and Sustainable Cities

Online event jointly hosted by NESC and Maynooth University
Thursday, 15th April 2021


Click here to view video Roundtable on Understanding Resilient and Sustainable Cities – Online Conference 


Caroline Creamer, Maynooth University
John Tully, Director of City and Organisational Strategy, Belfast City Council
Prof Robin Hambleton, Emeritus Professor of City Leadership at the University of the West of England, Bristol

Claire Davis, Digital Officer, Cork City Council
Cathy Burns, Climate Programme Manager, Derry City and Strabane District Council
Rosie Webb, Senior Architect, Limerick City and County Council

NESC Roundtable explored resilience in cities.

As part of its work programme, NESC has been examining approaches to strengthening sustainability and resilience, as outlined in the recent Council Statement Grounding the Recovery in Sustainable Development. A central question underpins this work: what does it mean to build-in resilience to adapt and cope with future shocks in all aspects of our economy, society and environment?

For this purpose, NESC commissioned research and scoping papers that probe resilience within in both urban and rural contexts. The Department of Environment, Climate Action and Communications supports NESC’s sustainable research programme.

A key focus of NESC’s wider work in 2021 is to undertake research to contribute to building a shared knowledge base and understanding about possible ways in which greater cooperation can emerge across a number of economic, social and environmental areas in Ireland, North and South, and also between these islands East and West. This work is ongoing as part of NESC’s Shared Island project, to support the work of the Government’s Shared Island Initiative.

Resilience Cities Research

The OECD defines resilient cities as cities that have the ability to absorb, recover and prepare for future shocks (economic, environmental, social & institutional). Resilient cities promote sustainable development, well-being and inclusive growth (

Caroline Creamer and colleagues from Maynooth University provided NESC with a scoping paper on building long-term resilient and sustainable cities. Their paper identifies several significant case studies which are outlined at this event. As their work outlines, at its core, the concept of resilience is rooted in action and not just high-level principles. It has become an important goal for cities around the world—not least in response to climate change.

Purpose of Roundtable

This Roundtable provided an opportunity to share this new work and some of the innovative practices it identifies in cities on the island of Ireland, the UK and internationally. It was an opportunity to show case the Shared Island work and NESC’s interest in prompting exchange and in this instance putting the spotlight on the case studies of Belfast and Bristol.  In addition, the experiences of Cork, Limerick and Derry will be highlighted. The event was open to Council members and interested stakeholders including  key city/urban decision makers, researchers, NGOs and Local Authorities.

Download the Programme


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