Promoting resilience in times of change

Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities (100RC)  – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, explains how this innovative initiative is helping to drive change, and shape growth – starting with 100 cities. 

Resilience – the key to a safer futur

In the past year alone, we’ve seen massive blizzards in North America, Brazil’s worst drought in decades, and an air pollution crisis in Southeast Asia. With an increasing number of the world’s population moving to cities, there is more at stake than ever. 100RC, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation  in 2013, aims to help cities around the world deal with critical issues they’re facing - encouraging them to become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.

Resilience – a collective initiative

We believe that resilience means working together, to survive, adapt, and grow, no matter what kinds of chronic stresses your city may experience. To achieve this, 100RC champions the combined efforts of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems, because we believe that together, we can ultimately foster more inclusive cities that take a holistic approach to problems. Resilience is, after all, about inclusivity – resilient cities must empower a broad range of stakeholders to ensure that everybody is well informed, capable, and involved in decision-making processes.


Resilience – is a process

A resilient city embraces and prioritizes the notion that the challenges they face are inherently linked and require interconnected solutions, thinking, and planning.  It’s a process that cities are undertaking to rethink and reorient government to work more efficiently and effectively solve critical problems. So, how do we put this into practice? We provide the cities in the 100RC Network with the resources they need, to develop a roadmap to resilience. This includes:

  1. Financial and logistical guidance to establish an innovative new position in city government, a Chief Resilience Officer, who will lead the city’s resilience efforts;
  2. Expert support for the development of a robust resilience strategy;
  3. Access to solutions, service providers, and partners from the private, public and NGO sectors who can help them develop and implement their resilience strategies; and
  4. Membership of a global network of member cities who can learn from and help each other.

Two cities that have implemented impressive Resilience Strategies are the U.S. cities of New Orleans and Norfolk, led by CROs Jeff Hebert and Christine Morris, respectively. Both cities have been ravaged by urban emergencies, and have tirelessly and effectively pooled efforts across the private and public sectors to promote resilience and stand strong in the face of adversity.

Resilience - encouraging communication and sharing best practice

Sydney - Australia

Promoting learning and sharing best practices between member cities are critical components of our work. This is done through our Platform Partners, and our CRO Summits, which bring together our Network leaders to share and learn from one another. COP 21 has also provided us with the opportunity to highlight the efforts of our cities and shine a light on their achievements, in a bid to encourage others. Furthermore, COP 21 has enabled us to promote resilience, bringing together leaders, experts, and practitioners to create dialogue to drive change and shape growth.