In the face of urbanization and climate change, cities face “shocks” — sudden natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes and floods — and “stresses” — slow-burning crises like homelessness and water shortages. To stay healthy and sustainable, cities must become more resilient.
Yesterday, the Rockefeller Foundation announced that applications are open for the last 33 spots in their 100 Resilient Cities initiative. The program identifies cities worldwide that have demonstrated “commitment to building resilience in the face of the complex, multiform challenges of the 21st century,” according to a press release.
The winners will be announced in April 2016, and those chosen will join 67 others worldwide that have been accepted into the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) network in the first two rounds. Cities from Accra, Ghana, to Toyama, Japan, have received support since the foundation started the initiative in 2013.
Cities receive technical help with developing a resilience strategy; access to partners and service providers to help realize that strategy; and membership in the global network of 100RC cities to share experience and insight. They also get financial and logistical guidance in establishing a new government position: chief resilience officer, to lead resilience efforts across municipal departments. CROs have been hired in cities from Medellín, Colombia, to Norfolk, Virginia.
“What we’re learning through the first two rounds of the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge is that not every disruption must become a disaster for cities,” said Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. “We can build our cities to be resilient — to be better prepared for, to withstand, an event, to transform and grow in the face of these shocks and stress. And through those same investments, cities not only become future-proof, they become better places to live and work right now.”
The Rockefeller Foundation also announced that it is dedicating an additional $64 million to 100RC, bringing its total financial commitment to the initiative to $164 million. Cities may apply online until November 24, 2015.
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.