Looking forward: Chief Resilience Officers share their hopes for the next 5 years

As hard as it is to believe, five years ago the position of Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) did not exist in any city in the world. Today there are at least 86, all acting as champions of a city’s resilience efforts and an essential leader who drives the process of developing a holistic Resilience Strategy. Working under the auspices of the city’s chief executive, the CRO brings together multiple government agencies to take on challenges and opportunities in a collaborative manner – an effort often unseen in municipal government.

100RC takes great pride in the outstanding work done by member cities’ Chief Resilience Officers. We asked a group of them from across the network to reflect on the past five years as part of the 100RC network and share their excitement for the five years ahead.

We asked them each to share what they are most excited about over the next 5 years:

See what Chief Resilience Officers shared when asked about the work they’ve done with 100RC to date.

DeVon Douglas, Chief Resilience Officer of Tulsa, United States

For the next five years, I am most excited about Tulsans being more engaged. I see people eager to get involved in actions like the new 918 Day, Equity Dinners, and the Youth Job Program. I see folks who previously kept themselves isolated from their neighbors, now jumping into neighborhood resilience feet first! And we are only in the dawn of Resilient Tulsa. I look forward to five years down the road because this growth and excitement are exponential. By 2023, we hope our social fabric will be brighter, stronger, and more diverse.

Arnoldo Matus Kramer, Chief Resilience Officer of Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City Chief Resilience Officer Arnoldo Matus Kramer

In the next 5 years, I am excited to see 100RC together with its member cities begin to develop projects which demonstrate the co-benefits of integrating a resilience lens in urban development. By bringing experience and knowledge of the urbanization process to the global level, this will increase the potential impact of resilience, address important cross-border challenges such as climate change, and build better communities of the future.

Christine Morris, Chief Resilience Officer of Norfolk, United States

Over the next five years, the St. Paul’s area transformation is an opportunity to implement all facets of Norfolk’s Resilience Strategy in a 240-acre area of our city. Our goal is to transform an area of highly concentrated poverty adjacent to downtown into a vibrant mixed-income and mixed-use neighborhood. The redevelopment targets three public housing communities, currently cut off from the economic centers of Norfolk by an antiquated and flood-prone grid of streets and highway. While managing the water serves as a catalyst for change, we are working with community members and partners to create strong neighborhoods where all residents thrive. Our partnership with 100 Resilient Cities now focuses around this transformation, and we are excited by the support and expertise brought by 100RC.

Andrea Valsagna, Chief Resilience Officer of Santa Fe, Argentina

The most exciting thing for the following years would be to see that the initiatives in Santa Fe Resiliente – created in collaboration between different actors of the city – begin to generate real changes in our city. It is exciting to think about the potential for transformation in Santa Fe as a result of incorporating the resilience approach into its development policies, the most exciting being how our citizens’ lives can change for the better. For example, how can we reduce the number of individuals and families in flood-prone areas, improve security, grow access to employment and other rights? In implementing our Resilience Strategy together, our proposals will become reality.

New York City Chief Resilience Officer Daniel Zarrilli

Dan Zarrilli, Chief Resilience Officer of New York City, United States

The next five years will prove to be a tipping point for our resilience actions as we confront the challenges of climate change and rising inequality. OneNYC laid out the pathway to building a more resilient New York City and we look forward to continuing to work with our communities as we build a strong and just city.

Akua Serwaa Ansah, Deputy Chief Resilience Officer of Accra, Ghana

Akua Serwaa Ansah, Deputy Chief Resilience Officer of Accra, Ghana

We are extremely excited about completing our city’s Resilience Strategy and utilizing it as a roadmap to create a smart, resilient, and sustainable city. We look forward to implementing transformative initiatives that will offer long-term benefits for our citizens and respond to key challenges which have threatened the City for decades.

Krishna Mohan, Chief Resilience Officer of Chennai, India

Over the next five years, I am most excited to work with government, civil society, academia, and the citizens of Chennai to firmly plant the seeds of three initiatives. With projects on water management, urban horticulture, and an Integrated Planning Dashboard and Knowledge Portal, we aspire to make Chennai a more livable city for all.

Sébastien Maire, Chief Resilience Officer of Paris, France

Over the next five years, I am most excited about proving the efficacy of resilience thinking through successfully implementing projects in Paris’ Resilience Strategy. The ultimate goal here is to concretely improve the population’s quality of life, thanks to the multi-benefit approach of resilience thinking. I additionally look forward to taking a leading role in the global movement for resilience, by onboarding, training, and sharing best practices and solutions with other cities and local governments from around the world.

Craig Kesson, Chief Resilience Officer of Cape Town, South Africa

Strengthening Cape Town’s resilience over the next five years is undoubtedly an exciting prospect. The opportunity to do this as part of the global 100RC Network, where we can continue to build partnerships and learn from other cities across the world means that the next five years will be vibrant, challenging and exciting on so many levels.

Melbourne Chief Resilience Officer Toby Kent

Toby Kent, Chief Resilience Officer of Melbourne, Australia

Our work with The Nature Conservancy, a 100RC Platform Partner, to deliver the first metropolitan-wide urban forest strategy in Melbourne will set in place a city that is ready for the future, while also locking in livability benefits, including helping us adapt and thrive under the increasing pressures we face due to stresses such as climate change. More generally, we are doing the work now to embed the practice of urban resilience in our city’s institutions, and these efforts will be further supported by the development of our second metropolitan urban resilience strategy.

Eleni Myrivili, Chief Resilience Officer and Vice-Mayor for Urban Nature, Urban Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation, Athens, Greece

Looking towards the coming years, we are growing in numbers and focusing on implementation: tangible actions that address our city’s most denied resilience challenge, rising temperatures and heat waves. At the same time, we are continuously trying to co-create the framework and root resilience in the city’s long-term planning and vision. What is most exciting to me is introducing, designing, and “embedding” nature-based solutions in the consciousness and the practices of municipal administration and community groups around the city.