Our work in 2018

As we take the time to reflect on our work in 2018, what’s most striking about the impact of 100 Resilient Cities is the leap from planning to implementation we’re seeing in cities around the world. Nearly half of all member cities have released visionary and actionable Resilience Strategies, a major milestone for the network. The process of developing each Strategy is a groundbreaking effort for cities and we are continually impressed by how these roadmaps to resilience have the power to cross traditional silos in municipal government, uniting people, projects, and priorities. Even more exciting is that cities are putting their strategies in action and real impact can be seen on the ground.

This past year alone we’ve seen the impact of urban resilience gaining steam – changing institutions and planning processes around the world. We’re proud to be a part of a global movement. A midterm program evaluation by the Urban Institute found that 100RC’s model, unique for its breadth and depth of engagement, is among the first global urban initiatives to employ a consistent set of tools, support, and resources across so many diverse cities. Key findings clearly show that 100RC membership helps cities institutionalize resilience; our organization helps cities implement solutions; and that lessons in urban resilience have spread beyond the 100RC network.

With 2018 coming to a close, the urban resilience movement is thriving. Our global network now includes 83 CROs, and cities have released 49 Resilience Strategies containing almost 2,600 tangible initiatives. Impressively, more than $3.35 billion has been leveraged by member cities to implement resilience solutions.

Because resilience solutions are designed with multiple benefits in mind, the dollar amount of impact is much greater. We often refer to a flagship project in Paris, which has already begun to transform impermeable asphalt-covered schoolyards into cooling green spaces that all Parisians can use during extreme heat. Doubling as community centers and cultural hubs after school hours, these “schoolyard oases” stand to improve community cohesion and reduce isolation among city residents.

In Wellington, a city prone to earthquakes, tidal flooding, and storm surge, the City has prioritized funding and implementation of resilience-building projects and begun changing how it engages with communities. This includes completing construction of emergency drinking water stations to ensure residents have access to secure water supply.

Montevideo has begun work on the socio-economic regeneration of the Pantanoso Stream Basin, which affects 15% of the city’s population. Through sustainable environmental management and community-focused investment, Montevideo hopes to reverse the trend of environmental problems, lack of investment and employment opportunities, public infrastructure, connectivity, and green space that characterize the Basin and make Pantanoso both an attractive place to live and to work. These are just three of hundreds of resilience initiatives completed or underway in member cities that are helping cities improve the lives of residents.

Building resilience into a city’s DNA allows it to seize more opportunities and achieve a deeper level of impact.  100RC is unique for its global approach in helping cities achieve this goal, helping them to address a wide range of shocks and stresses. Los Angeles, for example, has embedded resilience as a value that guides municipal planning across all of city government. The appointment of over 30 Departmental Chief Resilience Officers (DCROs) by Mayor Eric Garcetti has effectively curated an in-city network of resilience practitioners to advance initiatives – from critical infrastructure to disaster preparedness and recovery – as well as embedded ownership of the Resilient Los Angeles Strategy throughout each branch of city government.

This was an exciting year to engage cities, partners, practitioners, and philanthropists in critical dialogue. In Addis Ababa, Boston, Mexico City, and Milan, our signature Network Exchanges – a convening of member cities to share best practices, solve problems collectively, and access expertise from peers and partners – addressed critical themes like urban informality and racial equity, which underpins all resilience work. We also developed a new proprietary tool for member cities whose most intransigent challenges are too complex for any one sector or discipline to solve or existing market solution to tackle; the results from CoLabs in Accra, Cali, Cape Town, New York, St. Louis, and Thessaloniki, have led to a new body of thematic expertise within 100RC and among participating cities. In partnership with the Ministry of Environment in the Netherlands, the IABR and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, 100RC successfully piloted a new process for designing investments that build resilience in cities by transforming their relationships with water. Through the Water as Leverage Program, interdisciplinary teams investigated water challenges in Chennai and Semarang. Design solutions were presented to investors in December and the preparation of projects resulting from the winning designs, with benefits that could accrue to the millions vulnerable to flood risk in these two cities will continue next year. Finally, the second annual CityXChange Summit invited city leaders from around the globe to collaborate with technology innovators on solving tough urban resilience problems.

This work affects more than 225 million people in our member cities, their safety, health, and livelihoods. But this is not just about cities in the 100 Resilient Cities network. It’s also about sparking inspiration and creating tangible, credible examples for institutions and cities all over the world. Faced with irreversible global trends, cities will see more risks and more calamitous events. We will continue to support member cities responding to acute disasters, as we’ve done for the S19 earthquake in Mexico City, the drought in Cape Town, and the collaborative ReImagina Puerto Rico.

100RC remains steadfastly committed to supporting cities as they plan and implement innovative solutions and create long-lasting and transformational impact. In the new year, we hope that you will continue to join our cause in whatever city you may live, providing your opinions, your expertise, your critical thinking, and your passion.