Metropolitan District of Quito Resilience Strategy

Quito, Ecuador

The city of Quito is preparing to face the challenges of the 21st century based on its adaptive capacity, which is built on social and economic inclusion, efficient urban performance and environmental sustainability.

The City of Quito was selected to be part of the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) initiative, which supports cities around the world in their efforts to build urban resilience. By using the 100RC methodology, it was possible to analyse the city’s strengths and vulnerabilities and evaluate its capacity to face these challenges.

The Resilience Strategy of Quito addresses the need to develop mechanisms that strategically respond to acute shocks, and solve chronic stresses that afflict the city. While the city’s location in the Andes creates critical challenges, other characteristics, such as human and biological diversity, become a corner stone for resilience building.

The Strategy has been developed at a time when new urban planning parameters for the Metropolitan District of Quito are being defined, both in terms of mobility and urban development. This includes the construction of the first metro line, and the city’s commitment to the New Urban Agenda, which was adopted by the UN in Quito during Habitat III.


City information

Size and population development
2011: 1,622,000; 1990: 1,088,000; 2025: 2,142,000; 2010-2015: +1,70% / year

Population composition
Illiteracy rate: 3.6%, unemployment rate: 9%, mostly Roman Catholics

Main functions
highest Capital City in the world (altitude), capital of Pichincha province, world heritage site

Main industries / business
service industries, and tourism

Political structure
Mayor and 15-member City Council

Administrative structure
32 urban parishes also known as cabildos, 8 zonas, 19 parroquias urbanas (contradictory information)

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Background and objectives

Planning for urban resilience requires an understanding of the systems and subsystems that make up the city and its surroundings. “Socioecological systems” refer to the environment, including moorlands, mountains, forests and rivers; while “sociotechnological systems” are related to infrastructure, mobility systems, and water or electrical supply (Meerow et al., 2016). The interaction and interdependence between these two systems generates synergies and clashes. The constantly changing dynamics of these systems require prepared responses and resilience structures that both support and depend on each other (Kristinsson, 2012).

The Quito Resilience Strategy is based on the analysis of these dynamics, and from there weaknesses and opportunities are identified. The Strategy sets forth an integrated, cross-disciplinary approach to the city’s main acute shocks and chronic stresses, through which concrete actions aimed at improving the city’s capacity to adapt and thrive in the face of these potential threats were defined.

The Strategy has been developed through a highly participatory process that included meetings and consultations with a wide variety of stakeholders from both the public and private sectors, NGOs and academic institutions. It is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda, and the Metropolitan Plan for Development and Land Management, which governs the municipality’s work.


The implementation plan was developed with multiple municipal agencies and other partners who worked together to identify priority actions and develop programs and projects to create a time frame transcending election cycles. This also includes the identification of resources and the establishment of a road map to achieve effective results. Together with these stakeholders, connections between Resilient Quito and the city are being forged, especially with and for the most vulnerable citizens.

At the institutional level, the process carried out during the development of the Strategy with the different municipal agencies clearly established the importance of multisector contributions and the need to generate internal synergies. Therefore, special emphasis was placed on delving deeper into the model of collaborative work and inviting stakeholders from the private sector, academia, other municipalities, and NGOs to join in the effort.

At the international level, through the 100RC initiative, the city of Quito is taking advantage of a wide “library” of valuable experiences, using the platform to collaborate with cities facing similar acute shocks and common chronic stresses. The initiative’s platform partners also provide continuous collaboration with work and technical guidance that allow the city to strategically implement the resilience agenda.

Finally, the city’s capacity to build resilience requires a monitoring system to ensure periodic evaluations that show the advances in implementing the Resilience Strategy. This monitoring system is being developed to help verify the impact of the different initiatives that contribute to building the city’s resilience.

Financing and resources

The new Metropolitan Resilience Directorate, located in the General Secretariat of Planning of the Municipality of Quito, has the responsibility of managing and coordinating the activities of all the technical agencies in order to implement the Resilience Strategy. The General Secretariat is responsible for constructing, establishing and implementing the Metropolitan Plan for Development and Land Management of the city. This ensures that part of the budget invested by the city of Quito is used to promote the resilience agenda.

Simultaneously, through 100 Resilient Cities, the city receives technical assistance to promote the different activities of the Resilience Strategy. Additionally, the Metropolitan Resilience Directorate coordinates with other technical agencies of the Municipality to work on other programs and projects that have and may receive resources from international organizations of different kinds.

Results and impacts

The Strategy is a long term proposal. However, the following actions are being developed and implemented using principles outlined in the Quito Resilience Strategy:


  • Different neighbourhoods face different challenges. Approximately 60 municipal technicians have been trained so they can facilitate workshops to formulate Neighborhood Development Agendas under a lens of resilience.
  • Five training workshops for neighborhood leaders (about 130 leaders) have been held to formulate these plans.
  • The Municipality of Quito has implemented a digital platform for citizen participation to allow citizen engagement in city planning and decision making.
  • The Municipality of Quito has designed and built  5 parks in a participatory manner with the community to reduce social insecurity.


  • The Municipality of Quito, together with a local company, promotes a research project on Nature-Based Solutions (CLEVER Project) with other European partners.
  • The Municipality of Quito has launched the "Quito Recycles" program to encourage the participation of citizens in the reduction of waste generation.


  • The feasibility study for Transport-Oriented Development addresses the main challenges of the city in terms of mobility and social inclusion.
  • It has been launched by the Quito Eco-efficiency Resolution, which encourages the real estate sector to construct buildings near the stations of mass transport systems, including mechanisms that reduce the environmental footprint during the construction and operation of these buildings.
  • The Development Plan for the Historic Center of Quito is being developed under a resilience lens.
  • Several streets have been designated for pedestrians only in the Historic Center of Quito with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


  • The production sectors that have the greatest capacity to create quality jobs have been identified and are now part of the city's investment promotion agenda.
  • The Agroalimentary Strategy of Quito has been developed through a highly participatory process with many sectors of the community and government and builds on resilience principles.
  • Furthermore, the Municipality of Quito, based on an agreement signed between 100 Resilient Cities, the FOMIN and Fundacion Avina, is working to promote a pilot project base on the circular economy in industrial polygons of the city to reduce the environmental footprint of the production processes.


  • The Municipality of Quito, together with the Architects Association of Ecuador-Pichincha, is developing a pilot project to reinforce the safety of existing housing stock and reduce the risk of collapse of buildings against physical threats.
Barriers and challenges

The main challenge has and continues to be, to break down the silos which the different agencies usually work within the Municipality of Quito.

This has been achieved based on communication and coordinated work efforts, dedicating time and developing appropriate mechanisms to achieve this goal.

Lessons learned and transferability

The process of formulating the Resilience Strategy of Quito could be beneficial in the urban planning process of any city. In the same way, the mechanisms developed to break the silos of the different agencies could be very useful.

The main lesson learned is acknowledging that while cities have a responsibility to manage large systems, such as mobility, social and production, these need to be incorporated into the city's resilience strategy for it to be successful.


- Meerow, S., Newell, J.P. y Stults, M. (2016). Defining Urban Resilience: A Review Landscape and Urban Planning. DOI: 10.1016/j. landurbplan.2015.11.011. - Kristinsson, J. (2012). Integrated Sustainable Design. Delftdigitalpress. For further reference please refer to the Resilience Strategy of Quito.

External links / documents