This content was originally published on The Resilience Shift website. The Resilience Shift, a 5-year programme supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation and hosted by Arup, transitioned at the end of 2021 to become Resilience Rising. You can read more about The Resilience Shift’s journey and the transition to Resilience Rising here.

As a key partner in our Resilient Leadership initiative, Lauren Sorkin, Acting Executive Director, Global Resilient Cities Network, writes on how resilience leadership in cities is critical.

Covid-19 is the challenge of our generation – and how we respond and recover will either lay the foundation for a more equitable, cohesive, and climate-responsive future or it will reinforce old systems that leave poorer, more vulnerable people behind and in harm’s way.

Either way, cities will be on the front line.

Cities have registered 95% of Covid-19 cases, and the economic crisis brought about by response measures – like social distancing and lockdowns, intensify vulnerabilities that existed in urban communities, including access to food, to livelihoods, and to affordable healthcare.

That’s why resilience leadership in cities is critical.

Across the world, Mayors, City Commissioners, and their Teams are busily responding to impacts on their citizens while also dedicating themselves to thinking about the day after. In fact, within the Global Resilient Cities Network, 88% of member cities are already working to embed resilience into their recovery efforts ( However, city leaders can neither manage this pandemic nor foster a resilient recovery on their own.

Our Cities’ Leaders, CROs, and partners of the Global Resilient Cities Network have built up trust over six years of working together. And in the months since we first started facilitating conversations about coronavirus response ( they have continued to articulate demands for sharing experiences broadly. We committed to sharing knowledge on how to build a resilient future with our Cities on the Frontline campaign.

As a part of this effort, The Global Resilient Cities Network joined forces with The Resilience Shift, and Conversations that Count’s Peter Willis, to shine the light on Resilient Leadership through a new innovative real-time format. We believe that our CRO’s experience across regions and the diversity of challenges and opportunities they face provide useful lessons for all.

12 senior leaders are interviewed weekly for 16 weeks to capture their reflections on the challenges they are facing day to day. Seven of the participants are in large, globally significant corporations, five are the Chief Resilience Officers of a major city in Europe, Africa, India, Brazil, and the United States of America. See who is involved.

Summaries of these weekly interviews and a podcast series, are now available from The Resilient Leadership project, part of a series of research ventures by The Resilience Shift entitled “˜Learning from Crisis’.

Follow the project’s progress at this link. We also invite you to share your own perspectives on learning from the current crisis with our team. We are delighted that those participating in this initiative are contributing to the future resilience and capability of senior decision-makers around the world.

This is resilience leadership in action.

We will not have another opportunity like this again. The next generation is counting on us so let us keep sharing and working together to build a resilient future


This article was first published by the Global Resilient Cities Network.

With thanks to Lauren Sorkin, Jordi Veytia, and Luis Bonilla Ortiz Arrieta