20 May 2016
The Future Before Us: Building a Resilient Porto Alegre

Lead UN Global Compact Innovating city Porto Alegre has recently released its Resilience Strategy, Desafio Porto Alegre Resiliente.

The development of the Resilience Strategy has been led by Secretario Cezar Bussato, Minister for Local Governance and Citizen Participation who also holds the position of Chief Resilience Officer, Porto Alegre, as part of the 100RC Resilient Cities initiative.

Porto Alegre, an international leader in participatory systems, has drawn upon its extensive experience in Participatory Budgeting and Local Solidarity Governance and brought its own particular style to the development of resilience in its city. It works with cross-sectoral community focused networks across 17 regions in the city that are delivering resilience projects with social, environmental and economic outcomes.

Below: Cezar Bussato speaks about Porto Alegre’s participatory systems and how they are now being applied in the city’s Resilience work

The following overview of Porto Alegre´s Resilience Strategy has been taken directly from the english translation of Executive Summary of Porto Alegre’s Resilient Strategy, released January 27, 2016.

Dreams are often the beginning of any story about great achievements. By the 250th anniversary, to take place in 2022, we dare to dream of a more resilient Porto Alegre. This strategy involves planning that will make this achievement a reality.

We intend for Porto Alegre, an example of participatory processes, to advance in tackling its chronic and acute risks. Above all, we want it to be a place that exercises the fullest form of collaboration between government bodies, private sector, communities and citizens. Ideally, we would like our transformations to inspire nearby towns in Latin America and to be recognised internationally as part of the Participatory Budget.

To be more resilient, Porto Alegre must meet the challenges of low diversification of the economy; the lack of integration of practices and concepts of health, safety and education; families still living in informal areas; and the lack of organization protection system hydrological, geological and anthropogenic disasters. We need to come to a consensus on mobility in Porto Alegre and incorporate the resilience permanently into the planning of the city. The selection of Porto Alegre for the first cities of Team Challenge 100 Resilient Cities, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation in December 2013, represents the city’s commitment to build a better future for its citizens. For this, the city faced the complex challenge of joint research, building ideas, concepts and planning to create the first Resilience Strategy of the City.

The Resilience strategy of Porto Alegre has the vision of making the most resilient city and a model for other cities in Latin America in this regard. It has developed six strategic objectives that will guide the city to achieve this vision.

To support the development of the objective, we defined 25 goals for increased resiliency in different aspects of the city and more than 60 high-impact initiatives that contribute substantially to the increased resilience of the city by 2022.

Porto Alegre’s strategic objectives are to have a city of:

1. Dynamic and Innovative Ecosystems

Owning a diversified economy that fosters creative economies and collaborative technologies; developing degraded areas of the city; exploring the agricultural productive potential of rural areas; and stimulating the production of organic and family farming.

2. A Culture of Peace

Democratize access to quality education, preventive health and public safety; focus on the integration of concepts, practices and systems; widen and improve preventive, restorative and collaborative action; reduce social inequalities; develop initiatives aimed at guaranteeing the fundamental rights of cultural identity, sexual, gender and ethnic groups.

3. Risk Prevention

Devise a risk prevention system, especially for flooding; prevent the occupation of areas susceptible to these risks; protect families from losing their belongings; prevent the displacement of people; prevent accidents that affect the environment.

4. Quality of Mobility

Guests have a system that meets the needs of Porto Alegre with integrated alternative modes, relieved traffic, punctual public transportation, universal accessibility and sidewalks without damage or irregularities.

5. Land Legality

Have a process of land regularization able to eliminate the informal settlements; provide basic water, electricity, sanitation and transportation to all; exercise the dialogue with all stakeholders based on trust, collaboration and transparency.

6. Participatory Budgeting and Resilient Management

Owning a management model that promotes a culture of resilience in all city actions and a qualified participatory budgeting that contributes to the increased resilience of the City.

Multi-Sector Collaboration

The strategy has been constructed with the collaboration of actors from the public and private sectors, academia, community leaders and the third sector. In particular, there is the contribution of local networks resiliency of the 17 regions of interest, which brought a better perspective of regional challenges for the city and the opportunities that are already underway and should be incorporated in a long-term work.

The development of this strategy sought to enhance the efforts already created or running in the city to increase its resilience compared to the chronic and acute shocks already facing, while targeted the future to identify new challenges that we face.

I knew little about the concept of resilience and were incorporating its design while we discovered its qualities, many of them already present in our city.

Beginning in February 2014, the development process of Porto Alegre strategy, held numerous meetings with university, city government, community leaders and NGOs have organized themselves into working groups to define the focus areas of the strategy, increase knowledge through research the challenges and build initiatives that would strengthen the resilience of the city.

The Resilience Strategy of Porto Alegre, a result of this collaborative work is an important step in making the city able to transform and adapt to the different challenges it faces. Be resilient, so it is a new and necessary goal for Porto Alegre and all other cities in the world.

For more information, see www.portoalegreresiliente.org

To download the full strategy, Desafio Porto Alegre Resiliente, click here.