Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that the city’s first chief resilience officer will be Aaron Koch, a deputy commissioner in water management since 2012 and developer of the Chicago Green Stormwater Strategy. In his new position, funded through Chicago’s partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities, Koch will coordinate city policy to help neighborhoods prepare for and recover more quickly from natural disruptions like flooding and blizzards.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Aaron as the city’s first chief resilience officer,” Emanuel said in a statement. “Harnessing his experience and work, this position will help to build upon existing efforts within the city to fortify our communities against environmental threats and other challenges.”
Chicago was selected as a 100RC city in the second round of applications, in December 2014. Koch will lead the creation of a resilience strategy to help the city plan for current and future risks. Berkeley, California, another 100RC city, recently rolled out such a plan. With the help of local partners and expert technical advisers supplied by 100RC, the city will identify gaps in its ability to face challenges and develop plans to fill those gaps. Koch will also receive guidance from other chief resilience officers in cities around the world.
“I am honored by this appointment as Chicago’s first chief resilience officer,” said Koch. “I look forward to working with stakeholders across Chicago to prepare for the stresses, shocks and natural hazards that we face now and into the future.”
Jen Kinney is a freelance writer and documentary photographer. Her work has also appeared in Philadelphia Magazine, High Country News online, and the Anchorage Press. She is currently a student of radio production at the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies. See her work at jakinney.com.