Atlanta is a cosmopolitan city that celebrates a diverse cultural tradition, high levels of education, and the 3rd largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the US. However, the city’s success has also led to an overtaxed transportation system, which causes traffic congestion and increases Vehicle-Miles-Traveled (VMT), introducing new challenges such as poor air quality and social cohesion. A lack of affordable transportation options also exacerbates growing inequality, impeding the city’s neediest from access to food centers and economic opportunities.

Atlanta’s dependence on highways also makes infrastructure a primary concern; a disaster affecting a major highway or bridge could prevent emergency responders from reaching areas affected by electrical outages or assisting citizens trapped in areas of flooding. Atlanta is working to mitigate the potential impact of resilience shocks such as infrastructure failure through the creation of an Emergency Preparedness and Management group consisting of 30 multidisciplinary stakeholders.

Resilience Challenges

  • Aging Infrastructure
  • Cyber Attack
  • Drought
  • Economic Inequality
  • Infrastructure Failure
  • Overtaxed/ Under Developed/Unreliable Transportation System
  • Rainfall Flooding
  • Terrorism

Meet The Chief Resilience Officer

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Stephanie Stuckey Benfield is Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Atlanta.

Stephanie Stuckey Benfield received both her undergraduate and law degree from the University of Georgia.  She graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1992.  After law school, she served as a public defender and then went into private practice before being elected to the Georgia General Assembly in 1999.  Stephanie served as a State Representative from the Decatur area for 14 years, during which time she was a member of the Judiciary and Natural Resources Committees.  She then went on to serve as Executive Director of GreenLaw, an Atlanta-based public interest law firm dedicated to giving Georgia's environment its day in court.  In May 2015, she was appointed by Mayor Kasim Reed to be Director of Sustainability for the City of Atlanta. In November 2016, Stephanie was named the Chief Resilience Officer for Atlanta, working in conjunction with the Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 Resilient Cities.”

Stephanie’s legal expertise was recognized in 2011 when she was given the Outstanding Lawyer in Public Service Award by the Atlanta Bar Association.  Stephanie serves on the Boards for the Green Chamber of the South, EarthShare of Georgia, and the Olmsted Linear Parks Association.  She is a member of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership Class of 2013.

Snapshot of Atlanta

  • 450,000

    population as of 2013

Around the World

Explore cities facing similar resilience challenges to Atlanta.

  • Aging Infrastructure
  • Cyber Attack
  • Drought
  • Economic Inequality
  • Infrastructure Failure
  • Overtaxed/ Under Developed/Unreliable Transportation System
  • Rainfall Flooding
  • Terrorism
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