The Rockefeller Foundation has established a bold new project aimed at improving the resilience of cities around the world. They define resilience as, “the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.”
In 2013, the Foundation launched the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, inviting cities to apply for awards and technical assistance valued at about $1 million over three years. Out of nearly 400 applications, 32 cities were selected for the first round of awards. The selected cities span every continent, and range from familiar mega-cities such as New York, Rio de Janeiro and Rome to lesser-known places such as Mandalay (Myanmar), Ashkelon (Israel), and Dakar (Senegal).
The 100 Resilient Cities project offers each city financial and logistical guidance for appointing a Chief Resilience Officer, access to expertise and service providers who can help to develop their resilience strategies, and membership in a global network of cities who can learn from, and help each other.
No matter what their size and location, it appears that resilient cities share certain core capabilities—constant learning, rebounding rapidly from shocks, limiting the impacts of failure, adapting flexibly to change, and maintaining spare capacity. True resilience is not just about responding to disasters, but also dealing with stresses such as unemployment, urban violence, and food or water shortages.
One of the most important lessons emerging from this program is that resilient cities are able to turn tragedy into opportunity, rebuilding to become stronger than before. This includes awareness of the environmental and social factors that enable a city to remain healthy, vibrant, and diverse.
For more information: http://www.100resilientcities.org/