It'd be nice if we could all afford a nice big homestead to live on. But the reality is many of us are stuck in the city. Whether it's for school, work, or simply a lifestyle choice, it's important survivalists brush up on these skills to better survive a crisis in an urban environment. Because there's a good chance you'll be caught up in a concrete jungle when the SHTF and your ability to escape will depend on these key skills. And it's not just about starting fires or building shelters. You need a particular set of skills to survive a disaster in a city.
Learn how to defend yourself
You don't need to be Jackie Chan, but it's important you know how to throw a punch and hold your own in a fight. There will be desperate people everywhere, and once the people around you have missed a few meals, they will be willing to do almost anything to get their next one. So, take a few classes, buy self-defensive items like pepper spray and a tactical flashlight, and ensure you're able to defend yourself, just in case. You will be surprised just how dangerous the city gets after the utilities fail and people start getting hungry.
Learn the ins-and-outs of your neighborhood
When your phone no longer works and Google Maps isn't there to guide you, it's important you know your way around your neighborhood, and can find your way in and out of the city. Get comfortable with the local area and learn your way around without a map. I explore new routes when I go jogging, and I like to think I've got a pretty good handle of my local area. Of course, it's a smart idea to have a map in your car and your bug out bag, but you don't want to rely on this.
Learn how to ride a motorbike
As soon as a crisis hits the roads are going to be gridlocked with cars, people trying to evacuate and escape. It's going to be like a five-o-clock traffic jam, only a thousand times worse. Instead of trying to fight this in your car, get an off-road motorcycle and learn how to ride. You'll be able to bypass much of the traffic and take footpaths and other shortcuts that cars simply cannot pass. If a motorbike is out, make sure you've got a bicycle. You need a means of transport that's faster than your two feet.
Learn the basics of lockpicking
Everywhere you go the doors are going to be locked. Whether it's a padlock holding the loading bay of a restaurant shut, or a door you need to open to find shelter. But trying to pry these open with a crowbar gets noisy, and wastes time. Instead, it's important to invest in a lockpicking kit, and also learn how to use it. Most locks can be picked in minutes, which could make all the difference if you're able to get away from a group of troublemakers or to find somewhere quiet to hunker down for the night.
Learn how to blend in with the crowd
When you're surrounded my millions of other people, you're going to be seen. The trick here is to hide in plain sight. You want to find ways to blend in during a crisis, so that you're not targeted by any criminals looking for an easy score. Dress conservatively like everyone around you, avoid "military surplus" gear, keep your eyes down, and do everything you can to look as downtrodden and hungry as the rest of the population. If you stand out, you will be noticed.
Learn where to find food and supplies
The good news about a big city is the amount of supplies all around you. The trouble is finding them, as you'll be competing with everyone else for these. So instead of heading to the supermarket, what you want to find is distribution centers, government buildings, and even churches and manufacturing facilities. I play a game when I'm exploring the city and make note of all the different companies in the warehouses I see. Once I get home I do a little research to find out what each brand does. I may only come across one or two on each run, but after a while you'll get an idea of potential scavenging targets when the SHTF. The more you know now, the better your chances of survival.
Learn to use situational awareness
One skill that will really serve you well in a city is situational awareness. I liken it to being able to take in everything around you, and quickly identify any threats. You can start by simply playing out scenarios in your head in your everyday life, like plotting escape routes and hiding spots when you enter a new building. As you get better you also want to evaluate people, checking for "normal" behavior and trying to identify any warning signs that something is wrong. It takes time to develop, but as you get better your instincts will improve, and you'll learn to trust your "gut" when something just doesn't feel right. And that'll give you an edge in any confrontation.
Surviving in a city requires a different set of skills to those you'd work on developing if you live on a homestead, but the fundamentals are the same. You need to be able to find shelter, protect your family, and ensure you've got the supplies you need to keep your family safe and well-fed.