An Update from 100 Resilient Cities

You may have heard some news regarding 100 Resilient Cities in the last few days. Before I address that, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the history and impact of this work.

In 2013, The Rockefeller Foundation launched 100 Resilient Cities to help cities around the world become more resilient to the challenges of the 21st century. Six years later, I am confident our work has cultivated a truly global urban resilience movement.

We have helped cities around the world hire more than 80 Chief Resilience Officers and built a robust global network of city leaders and partners. By the end of this year, we expect 80 cities around the world to have comprehensive Resilience Strategies. Across the world, cities are undertaking more than 2,600 actionable, tangible initiatives, and have leveraged more than $3.35 billion to-date to implement projects that will make cities more livable, sustainable, and resilient.

While we know our work is far from complete, we’re excited to see that our cities are making progress and that this global movement is gaining steam, changing institutions and planning processes in cities.

An independent report from the Urban Institute found that 100RC is making important progress in helping cities institutionalize resilience and implement solutions to shocks and stresses, with a model that has unique breadth and depth of engagement, and lessons from our work spreading beyond the existing network of cities.

Key findings of the Urban Institute’s evaluation include:

  • Membership in 100RC helps cities institutionalize resilience
  • 100RC helps cities implement solutions
  • 100RC’s model has a unique breadth and depth of engagement
  • Lessons from 100RC have spread beyond the 100RC network

Our work is without comparison in the urban field: “Most comparable programs have focused on projects or services, while 100RC’s theory of change foregrounds the transformation of institutions and systems in cities in addition to project implementation.”

As more and more cities begin to implement strategies and institutionalize resilience, our organization must also evolve to continue the work of this global network.

To that end, The Rockefeller Foundation has made the decision to transition the work of 100 Resilient Cities into at least three separate pathways: a new Resilience Office within the Foundation, supporting place-based resilience work within new economic mobility efforts at the Foundation in the United States, and funding a resilience effort at the Atlantic Council.

Our work is far from over. In July, 100RC will join the City of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to host the Urban Resilience Summit, to celebrate our many accomplishments and the work already underway in cities around the world. Together with Chief Resilience Officers, partners, urban experts, and 100RC staff, we look forward to using the Summit as the launchpad to chart the path forward for the urban resilience movement.

We incubated 100RC so that there could be a place where talented urbanists could come together, innovate, and create this resilience movement. I have no doubt this team will continue that work in a variety of forms and organizations.

From San Francisco hiring the world’s first-ever Chief Resilience Officer in 2014 to helping Accra join more than 50 other cities around the world to release a resilience strategy, there is much to be proud of over the last six years. Our work will continue in new ways and we look forward to being part of this important movement for years to come.

We plan to share more about our plans over the coming weeks and months.

Thank you.