The 100RC CoLab: Enabling Collaboration and Innovation in Response to Complex Urban Challenges

A critical challenge in building resilience is enabling cities and potential partners to collaborate on solutions for urban challenges. To address this, the 100RC Platform of Partners provides access to well-curated resilience-building tools and services supplied by the private, public, academic, and non-profit sectors. However, to truly catalyze a mutually beneficial process of innovation where both cities and partners can develop new ideas, products and tools to build resilience, they must also transform their practice of engaging with one another.

CoLabs provide the conditions to achieve this and unlock the potential of these collaborations. They are a convening of Platform Partners, Subject Matter Advisors and cities to drive innovation in services, tools and products in response to a particularly complex city resilience challenge. The problems that CoLabs are designed for reflect multi-city demands and established partner priorities. They typically require a cross-industry or cross-discipline multi-partner response.

CoLabs are a new tool for facilitating exploration and work on the challenge by partners and cities. They typically focus on a real place or situation and supports and contributes to existing local initiatives and opportunities.

In early February, in St. Louis, Chief Resilience Officer Patrick Brown and other city leaders, including ones from Tulsa, Nashville and Chicago, joined with several 100RC platform partners such as IHS Markit, EY, Fourth Economy, Manchester Bidwell, the Urban Land Institute and several others, for the first in a series of 100RC CoLabs. Together they addressed and collaborated on solutions for the deeply entrenched economic inequity that is a legacy in many of the city’s neighborhoods, and that is shared by several other cities.

Economic stresses lie at the intersection of several inter-systemic urban challenges. Solutions needed to build economic resilience in low income communities range from: education, skill training and employment; business development and credit; affordable housing; health care and healthy lifestyles; and civil rights and criminal justice.  Those gathered in St. Louis seek to address the question: what processes, services, and tools can be used together at the neighborhood/district scale to plan and build capacity for economic resilience of low income communities

CoLabs provide the arena for answering this, catalyzing solutions specific to St. Louis and leading to potential engagements with participating partners. Importantly, they also lead to other engagements, between partners and other cities, and to the continuing development of economic resilience-building solutions amongst all participants.

As our cities develop and implement their Resilience Strategies, they learn to evaluate their challenges and opportunities in innovative ways that account for their complex ecosystems. Building resilience requires a reappraisal of established players and practices, and appropriate scales that provide the most effective interventions. Bridging the gap between the tools and services partners provide, and the challenges cities face is key to developing urban resilience. The solutions that CoLabs unlock can redefine this fundamental interface.