Resilient Willoughby

In the last three years Sydney has experienced severe storms and flooding, record-breaking drought and heat, major bushfire risks, hazardous smoke pollution, and the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of these events were of unprecedented severity and demanded an exceptional response from government, business and the community. The social, economic and environmental consequences of these events will be felt for some considerable time. Due to the growing impacts of climate change, we can expect that many of these events will be repeated in the near future, with increasing intensity. We are experiencing a 'new normal' which we need to understand and adapt to, in order to survive and thrive in the 21st century. 

Willoughby Council is committed to working with its community, government partners and stakeholders to improve our resilience to the challenges which lie ahead.

What is city resilience?

City resilience is "the capacity of individuals, communities, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt and thrive, no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience” - Resilient Sydney Strategy, 2018

Chronic stresses weaken the fabric of society and people’s ability to cope with life’s challenges over time. They include transport stress, unaffordable housing, family violence, climate change, economic downturns, mental health challenges, social isolation and lack of community connections.

Acute shocks are sudden, short-term events that threaten a city and some people’s own security. They include major storms, extended heatwaves, disease pandemics, bushfires, infrastructure failures (e.g. roads, power), cyber attacks.

Resilient Willoughby Plan

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The Resilient Willoughby Strategy and Action Plan (the Plan) outlines how Willoughby City Council and its partners can support the community to withstand the challenges of the 21st century.

The Plan identifies the range of shocks and stresses most likely to impact on the people of Willoughby, and proposes a range of actions to help the community overcome them. Some of the shocks and stresses are with us now, like the impact of bushfires or expensive housing, whilst some have yet to occur.

The impacts of shocks and stresses are not distributed equally across the community. People already affected by chronic stresses such as ill health, social isolation, housing stress or insecure employment have less capacity to overcome acute shocks such as COVID-19 or extreme heatwaves.

The Plan pays attention to the needs of vulnerable communities, whilst also focusing on benefits to the broader community. It outlines the many actions already being undertaken by Council to strengthen community resilience, and proposes a suite of exciting, new actions to address gaps and emerging threats.

Council is committed to work closely with our community, partners and stakeholders at every step in the process, to listen to their ideas and build our collective strength to cope with an uncertain future.

A draft Resilient Willoughby Strategy and Action Plan was placed on public exhibition from 18 June to 1 August 2021. Minor changes were made following public exhibition and the finalised Plan was formally adopted by Council at its meeting on 18 October 2021.

For more information about Councils’ Resilient Willoughby Program, contact our Resilience Specialist at