Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States, an important cultural and economic center, and a bustling transportation hub. However, the city faces the challenge of an unequal distribution of resources and access to professional opportunities. Chicago has been working to map and analyze local neighborhoods with a focus on vulnerable populations. Officials have also been promoting a strategy focused on high-quality science, technology, engineering, and math education as a pathway to strengthen the city’s digital manufacturing sector and its middle class.

Chicago is developing plans to engage communities more effectively in infrastructure design, including water management. As a city that also faces severe weather, Chicago has developed preparation and response plans for blizzards, emphasizing strategy and coordination among various agencies. Flooding is also a challenge, and while the city has begun to plan ways to divert water from high-flow areas, it still needs to increase infrastructure capacity to deal with the amount of water that falls on a regular basis.

Shocks and Stresses

  • Aging Infrastructure
  • Crime / Violence
  • Economic Inequality
  • Financial / Economic Crisis
  • Inadequate Educational Systems
  • Infrastructure Failure
  • Poverty
  • Rainfall Flooding
  • Riot / Civil Unrest
  • Severe Storms
  • Shifting Macroeconomic Trends
  • Structural Racism
  • Terrorist Attack
  • Unemployment

Meet The Chief Resilience Officer

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Aaron Koch serves as the Chief Resilience Officer in the City of Chicago under Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Aaron served as the Deputy Commissioner for Sustainability in Chicago’s Department of Water Management. He was responsible for implementing the water initiatives in Sustainable Chicago 2015, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s roadmap for environmental stewardship and economic development. He was the author of the Chicago Green Stormwater Infrastructure Strategy, which is a $50 million plan to use natural systems to better manage rainfall and reduce flooding risk.

Aaron previously served as a Senior Policy Advisor in the New York City Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. He was an author of the water chapters of PlaNYC, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s sustainability plan, as well as the New York City Wetlands Strategy and the Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan. As part of this work, he was a creator of New York City’s strategy to improve stormwater management through a $1.5 billion public investment in green infrastructure. Aaron also coordinated the City’s waterfront policy initiatives including Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan and the New York City Waterfront Action Agenda.

Aaron previously worked as the Director of the Mayors' Institute on City Design; as a Fellow in the Office of Mayor Richard M. Daley; and as the National Vice President of the American Institute of Architecture Students. Aaron holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. He was previously a faculty member in Columbia University’s Master of Sustainability Management program.

Snapshot of Chicago

  • 2,700,000

    population as of 2010

Around the World

Explore cities facing similar resilience challenges to Chicago.

  • Aging Infrastructure
  • Crime / Violence
  • Economic Inequality
  • Financial / Economic Crisis
  • Inadequate Educational Systems
  • Infrastructure Failure
  • Poverty
  • Rainfall Flooding
  • Riot / Civil Unrest
  • Severe Storms
  • Shifting Macroeconomic Trends
  • Structural Racism
  • Terrorist Attack
  • Unemployment
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