A resilient city is one that can deal with shocks and stresses. Shocks may include climatic events such as floods, or it could be the disappearance of an industry upon which the city is highly dependent. Stresses are issues that weaken a city, and may be associated with income inequality, high unemployment, a lack of affordable housing, poor education, and high rates of crime. Ensuring resilience at various scales (city, neighborhood, district) requires the ability of cities to engage with their stakeholders to form a greater understanding of vulnerabilities that span communities, government agencies, city departments, businesses, and utilities.
55 The proposed Resilient Innovation Districts are a combination of Energy Innovation Zones (EIZs), Resilient Innovation Neighborhoods, and the Smart Cities Concept. They are there to deliver low carbon, resilient approaches in order to establish the business models that can see their deployment elsewhere.
The SEAP is based upon the three pillars of buildings, transportation, and generation, with these being set on a foundation of innovation. To maximize economic advantage and speed up the innovation process, structures need to be put into place to prove and realize the transition to a low carbon future. The suggested approach is to establish a set of Resilient Innovation Districts55 (RIDs) as the City seeks to ‘rid’ itself of CO2e emissions while ensuring resilience and maximizing job opportunities. These RIDs should be in different areas of Charlotte and will integrate the three pillars - this will allow the City to address economic mobility. The proven low carbon, resilient business models can then be applied elsewhere with revenue opportunities returning to Charlotte, and at the same time deliver greater resilience.
The suggested concept of a Resilient Innovation District (RID) builds upon the existing Smart City District Model (SCDM). The SCDM promotes energy efficient projects and renovations for neighborhoods and communities that lead to a scaling up of proven energy efficiency solutions.
Through the RIDs, barriers to action due to policies and regulations can be overcome through piloting projects and data collection. This will enable emissions to be reduced alongside costs, while at the same time creating jobs and exports from the City that can be deployed around the United States and beyond, bringing finance with them.