Today, 37 cities on five continents — including Nairobi, Jakarta, Honolulu, Panama City, Tel Aviv, Belfast and Tbilisi — were announced as the final cohort in The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities group (100RC). In this third and final round since the program’s inception since 2013, 325 cities applied to join the network. The chosen cities from this and earlier rounds receive grant funding they can use to hire a chief resilience officer, can access technical assistance, services, and tools, and are members of a network sharing ideas and solutions that strengthen their ability to deal successfully with natural disasters and manmade ones.
“The 100 Resilient Cities network is showing the global community a new way of coping with shared, complex challenges — building urban resilience,” said Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation, in a statement. “Incorporating resilience planning and principles not only prepares cities for disasters and long-term threats, but also improves everyday living standards for all members of an urban community. The geographical, political and cultural diversity in the now-complete 100RC network demonstrates that when it comes to dealing with this century’s toughest challenges, resilience planning is essential.”
Eight American cities are on the final list, including Washington, D.C., and a Florida collective that includes Miami, Miami Beach and Miami Dade County. Also making the cut: Pune and Jaipur in India; Haiyan and Yiwu in China; Lagos, Nigeria; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Since the first winners were announced in 2013, more than 50 chief resilience officers have been appointed, which has also inspired non-participating cities to hire for such a job too. At least a dozen members of the network, including Porto Alegre, New Orleans and Berkeley, have released formal resilience strategies that lay out their specific commitments and investment goals. Norfolk, Virginia, has analyzed its flood risk; Boulder, Colorado, is utilizing technical assistance available through 100RC to map its urban canopy. The recently released City Resilience Index is a tool to help cities understand their strengths and weaknesses in the face of potential shocks.
“Since 100RC’s founding in 2013, we have seen the resilience movement grow from a bold idea into a burgeoning fixture of local governments all over the world,” said Michael Berkowitz, president of 100 Resilient Cities, in a statement. “We are proud today to celebrate the fulfillment of our initial commitment to reach 100 cities, but the real work lies ahead. The threshold of success for 100RC will not solely be progress within our network of 100 cities. Instead, it will be the ability for solutions to scale, and for all cities around the world to build off of the innovative work leveraged by these 100 Resilient Cities through implementation of their Resilience Strategies.”
A list of all 100 cities is available here.
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.