Holistic resilience assessment & management

Use these guidelines to:

Implement a holistic resilience assessment in your city

Cities, being systems of interdependent systems, cannot be understood by sectorial and disciplinary approaches alone. In this sense, RESCCUE goes beyond conventional urban resilience approaches delivering a forward looking, multi-scale, multisectoral and multihazard methodology.

With a holistic resilience assessment, the city vulnerabilities can be identified, together with its critical infrastructures and key relationships among critical services, by using a common language, visuals and insights from key stakeholders. This allows to understand the existing interdependencies between urban services.

Therefore, decision makers can mitigate the cascading effects that can escalate through interdependent assets, with often significant hidden costs. Taking into account the particular context and local conditions, cities can be proactive and invest wisely. This approach can be used for neighbourhoods, a whole city, urban technical networks or critical infrastructures.

5 steps to your solution:

What is your goal?
What benefits should you achieve?
What does a holistic resilience assessment offer?
What should you do?
What can you use?

What is your goal?

Identify the most vulnerable elements and enhance commitment and strategic leadership within the city

The main objective of a holistic resilience assessment is to help city decision makers and urban service operators make fully informed and structured choices to make their cities more resilient, analyzing the interdependencies between different city services, monitoring the city and simulating cascade effects in case of impacts that may affect the city.

In order to implement a holistic resilience assessment, detailed information on climate variables, as well as simulations on hazards and impacts on strategic urban services must be used. With this information, the holistic assessment can be done, also including the effects of climate change and the benefits obtained by implementing adaptation strategies. Although the strategies could be directly obtained from the traditional approach -using the results of sectorial models-, they can strongly benefit from a holistic approach, being able to consider the co-benefits and transversal effects.

What benefits would you achieve?

A more resilient city and society – by design

This process builds local capacity, enables collaboration, and delivers foresight.

Creation of a Resilience Community

A community of key stakeholders that will step up for their city and prepare it for crisis.

Simulate and gather information to take more informed decisions

With all this information (plus simulation and monitoring the city), the process helps city managers to decide about planning, investments, organisational matters, new protocols, and other next steps to strengthen the resilience of the city.

Breaking the silos

Using this process, communication within and between organizations is far more effective.

The city will react as a team to cascade effects

Thanks to the intuitive and engaging approach, your city will react better and jointly to threats and their chains of consequences

Who should you involve?

In order to effectively deploy a holistic resilience assessment, you should identify and involve the key players from services and infrastructures, responders and city managers across the city to establish a Resilience Board.

RESCCUE solves your problems
This is how!

What does a holistic resilience assessment offer?

Assessment resilience diagnosis
Integrated analysis of the operation of urban services during a crisis


Creation of detailed sector models to identify critical infrastructures and services.
Diagnosis of the ability of cities to respond to impacts.


Definition of existing impacts (considering the effects of climate change) and their propagation into the cities due to cascade effects.
Laying the groundwork for the creation of a Resilience Action Plan.


Identification of existing interdependencies between the various services and infrastructures.
Identification of critical points and links in urban networks.


Define the comprehensive strategies (for infrastructures and operations) to improve urban resilience.
Identify all possible improvements to implement.

What should you do?

Gain the commitment of the city leaders to improve city resilience.

Appoint (and support) a pragmatic knowledgeable city (resilience) leader to coordinate the process.

Build and motivate a resilience community with the key stakeholders that will build and own the model and improve resilience.

Deploy a holistic resilience assessment to identify the most vulnerable elements of your city.

Define and implement resilience strategies to improve the capacity of the city.

Every 3 years, the process should be repeated, re-doing steps 3, 4 and 5.

What can you use?

The RESCCUE Toolkit

Most of world population will end up living in cities, therefore it is critical and highly urgent to have tools available to assess, plan and monitor urban resilience in an integral way.

RESCCUE has contributed with a set of innovative tools for urban resilience assessment, planning and management, which are gathered in the RESCCUE Toolkit. These tools, methodologies and results will help cities with their climate change adaptation strategy and will also improve their current capacity to cope with emergencies.

City resilience assessment experts:

The RESCCUE partners worked together under the leadership of Aquatec-SUEZ Advanced Solutions to tailor the deployment of a holistic resilience assessment in three cities: Barcelona, Lisbon and Bristol. Together, they provided the right mix of expertise, facilitation and cityspecific knowledge to assess the resilience of these cities with a holistic approach.

Using RESCCUE’s holistic approach, the current resilience level of the different urban services in each city has been assessed, integrating the climate change scenarios, urban services modelling and climate change adaptation measures and strategies developed previously within the project.

– Aquatec – SUEZ Advanced Solutions
– Hidra
– Urban DNA
– EIVP (École des Ingénieurs de la Ville de Paris)
– LNEC (Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil)

– University of Exeter

Aquatec-SUEZ Advanced Solutions continuously participates in different international projects related to climate change adaptation, urban resilience, risk assessment and socio-economic analysis in the field of water management.

Expert contact info:

AQUATEC – SUEZ Advanced Solutions
Ciutat de l’Aigua
Ps. Zona Franca 46-48 – Edificio L
08038 – Barcelona

Tools & Results


Assessment of city resilience in Lisbon

Holistic resilience assessment & management


This video presents the main steps of RESCCUE methodology application in Lisbon Research Site. From the identification of resilience-related goals, key stakeholders to engage and critical services and infrastructures to include in the analysis; to the study of interdependencies and consequent cascade effects triggered by a climate-related disruptive even, in the case, rainfall induced floods. In Lisbon, 19 services from 7 sectors were considered, including 146 infrastructures. Data collection was performed through a set of 13 meetings, at the service operational level, and 5 local workshops, at strategic and steering levels, involving all the key stakeholders.