Berkeley’s Resilience Strategy Designed to Advance Preparedness and Equity by Building Community

BERKELEY, CA – Today, the City of Berkeley released a Resilience Strategy designed to help the community prepare for and respond to some of Berkeley’s most pressing physical, social and economic challenges, including earthquakes, wildfire, the impacts of climate change and racial inequity. The strategy was developed with extensive community and expert input, as well as with support and partnership from 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC), and marked with a community event at La Peña Cultural Center led by Mayor Tom Bates and Berkeley Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) Timothy Burroughs. With its release, Berkeley became the sixth city in the world – and the first in the Bay Area – to unveil a comprehensive Resilience Strategy.

The City of Berkeley’s Resilience Strategy emphasizes initiatives that build community resilience by creating stronger connections between neighbors. As the Resilience Strategy emphasizes, getting to know your neighbors, especially those that may need extra assistance, can provide critical support and lifelines in the event of a disaster.

“Berkeley’s Resilience Strategy outlines actionable steps that our city will take to prepare itself for immediate and long-term challenges, so that generations from now, Berkeley residents will live in an even stronger, healthier, and more equitable city,” said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. “Issues we have confronted for years, like combating racial inequality and strengthening the social bonds among our residents, will continue to challenge us, and new and emerging threats like climate change will pose new tests for our City. But through taking a resilience approach that combines input from across the community – including help from the public, private and nonprofit sectors – I am confident that Berkeley will continue to be a world-class City for its residents to live and work – no matter what comes next.”

“Berkeley’s Resilience Strategy reflects months of community input from civic, business, and cultural leaders – along with leading global experts,” said Timothy Burroughs, Berkeley’s Chief Resilience Officer. “Working with 100 Resilient Cities has helped us to identify new and innovative ways to work together as a city to prepare for 21st–century challenges.”

One priority identified in the Resilience Strategy is improving access to reliable and clean energy for Berkeley residents and institutions. A traditional approach to back-up power is to install a diesel generator at critical facilities. The City and several partners are pursuing opportunities to develop “micro-grids,” a multi-benefit solution that enables one or more facilities to operate autonomously when the main grid is disrupted and can be powered by clean energy sources, such as solar and energy storage batteries.

Another priority identified in the Resilience Strategy is improving access to disaster preparedness and other City services. La Peña is one of the many community-based organizations that is partnering with the City as a new “Community Resilience Center” by serving as a host for training community members on disaster preparedness, public health, and climate action. Through the program, the City will provide free disaster supplies and disaster planning assistance to faith-based groups, social services organizations, and cultural centers.

The Resilience Strategy also outlines a plan to upgrade City community and senior centers, which serve as care and shelter sites in the event of a disaster. The City conducted seismic evaluations and energy and water audits of its care and shelter sites and identified several cost-effective upgrade opportunities to make the facilities both safer and greener. Other priorities include actionable initiatives to coordinate with other municipalities in the Bay Area to address drought.

“Our work with the City of Berkeley serves as a model for what effective resilience building looks like – combining a committed public sector with an active and engaged citizenry,” said 100 Resilient Cities President Michael Berkowitz. “We look forward to continuing our partnership to help Berkeley implement the ideas contained in their strategy.”

In 2014, Berkeley was one of the first cities selected, from a pool of approximately 400 applicants, to join the 100RC network, along with San Francisco and Oakland. The 100RC Network also includes a diverse group of global cities, such as Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Paris, Rotterdam, Bangkok, and Accra, and has received over 1,000 applications since its inception.

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About 100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation

100 Resilient Cities - Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic, and physical challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each of our cities who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a Resilience Strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. For more information, visit: www.100ResilientCities.org

 

Contact Info:

Timothy Burroughs: Chief Resilience Officer, City of Berkeley – 510.981.7437, tburroughs@cityofberkeley.info

Andrew Brenner: 100 Resilient Cities – 646-612-7236, abrenner@100rc.org

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