Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About 100 Resilient Cites
100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation – is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping cities around the world build resilience to the economic, social and physical challenges that are increasingly part of the 21st century.
This FAQ is organized in two parts. First, we present the most important and immediate questions we receive. Following that we answer less-asked, though still important, questions.
1. What is ‘resilience’?
100 Resilient Cities defines resilience as the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow, no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience. Shocks are typically considered single event disasters, such as fires, earthquakes, and floods. Stresses are factors that pressure a city on a daily or reoccurring basis, such as chronic food and water shortages, an overtaxed transportation system, endemic violence or high unemployment. City resilience is about making a city better, in both good times and bad, for the benefit of all its citizens, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
To learn more, visit www.100resilientcities.org/resilience.
2. What does 100RC offer to member cities? Does each city receive $1 million?
Cities only receive direct funding to hire a CRO, and those costs vary from city to city. Therefore, it is important to note that cities will not be receiving a check for $1 million. However, the value of our core offerings will likely far exceed $1 million for each city.
Through 100 Resilient Cities, cities will receive financial and logistical guidance for establishing an innovative new position in city government, a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), who will lead the city’s resilience efforts; Technical support to develop a holistic resilience strategy that reflects each city’s distinct needs; Access to an innovative platform of private sector and NGO services to support strategy development and implementation; and inclusion in the 100 Resilient Cities Network to share knowledge and best practices with other member cities.
3. Who are the current 100RC member cities?
The complete list of 100RC member cities can be found here: http://www.100resilientcities.org/cities
Guadalajara (Metro), Mexico
4. Which cities are part of the 100RC network? How does a city become a member?
We currently have 100 member cities. The list can be found at www.100resilientcities.org/cities.
The 100 Resilient Cities Challenge was the application process by which cities join our network. 100RC selected a first group of 32 cities in December 2013, a second group of 35 in 2014, and its final round of winners in May 2016.
Members of the 100 Resilient Cities team and a panel of expert judges reviewed applications from prospective cities. The judges looked for innovative mayors, a recent catalyst for change, a history of building partnerships and an ability to work with a wide range of stakeholders.
5. What will a CRO do?
A Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) is a top-level advisor to the city’s mayor or chief executive. His/her task is to bring in stakeholders from across silos of government and sectors of society, and to access all available resilience building tools and experts to develop a resilience strategy.
Read more about the role of a CRO here: http://www.100resilientcities.org/blog/entry/what-is-a-chief-resilience-officer1.
6. How is resilience different from sustainability, green, and disaster risk reduction (DRR)?
Although resilience incorporates notions of sustainability and DRR, it goes far beyond these concepts because of the holistic and proactive approach it embodies. While sustainability is about putting the world into long-term balance amidst the depletion of natural resources, resilience looks for ways to make systems endure and even thrive in an imbalanced world. Resilience is also broader than DRR, as the latter concept is about reducing the damage caused by natural hazards while resilience is about developing a proactive and integrated plan addressing both shocks and stresses, from natural disasters and to adverse socio-economic trends.
In essence, resilience doesn’t involve merely coping and adaptive strategies, but also transformative actions to make cities better, for both the short and long-term, in the good times and bad.
7. Many governments around the world are dealing with austerity measures and all that comes along with it. Is this the appropriate time to be adding someone to the government? Particularly since you will only pay his/her salary for two or three years?
The upfront investments needed to take the necessary hard and soft measures can of course carry a high price tag – resources that many governments don’t have. However, resilience offers a way to maximize benefit for the cost, allowing governments spend to their funds in the best way possible, which is important in a time of fiscal austerity and budget cuts. By working across sectors of government, a major part of a chief resilience officer’s job will be to ensure that cities are getting the most out of everything they do, and that every project or initiative that the government engages in has more than one benefit.
For example, resilience is about making sure that if you are building a road, it doesn’t have just one purpose. Instead, working across silos of the government, you realize that by raising that road you can create a flood barrier. And by lighting it well, you can create a safe place for people to walk and gather. And by using it to connect desperate communities, you can improve cohesion. And by connecting a community with few health care facilities to one with many, you can improve health outcomes.
In that way, we can accomplish many goals with one project, saving time, money, and effort in the process. In other words, a chief resilience officer is a perfect tool for an age of austerity.
8. The grant you are providing pays for one person – how is it possible that just one person can make a difference on all of these issues?
It’s important to remember that it’s not just one person – the CRO is marshaling the resources of the city, of a team of consultants, of our platform partners, and a wide variety of local stakeholders. The CRO is a connector, bringing together disparate people and processes, and bringing resources together in an effective and efficient way.
In other words, the CRO is the tip of the resilience spear, not the entire spear – they have a whole team and set of resources behind them.
9. Building resilience is expensive – how are we going to pay for the suggested initiatives that come out of the strategy process?
First of all – not all resilience building exercises are expensive. Promoting community cohesion, reforming government agencies, improving building codes, etc. don’t have to cost much money, but can make a significant difference in building a city.
Second, as noted above, by working across sectors of government, the CRO can make government more efficient, freeing up resources for other projects.
And finally, our suite of platform partners are there to assist in implementation. Ultimately, we’ll be offering cities everything from innovative financial products to world class risk analysis tools to both reduce the cost of resilience building and to connect cities with the resources they need. One thing is clear – cities are sick of just planning, and not taking action. We intend to help them take action.
10. What is the relationship between 100 Resilient Cities and the Rockefeller Foundation?
100RC was created by the Rockefeller Foundation on the foundation’s Centennial in 2013. It is financially supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and managed as a sponsored project by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides governance and operational infrastructure to its sponsored projects. Learn more about RPA at www.rockpa.org and the Rockefeller Foundation at www.rockefellerfoundation.org.
11. What is the City Resilience Framework?
The City Resilience Framework (CRF), is a unique framework developed by Arup and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, based on extensive research in cities. It underpins the 100RC strategy development process as a method for understanding the complexity of urban systems and the drivers that contribute to a city’s resilience.
To learn more, please visit http://www.100resilientcities.org/resilience.
12. What is the 100RC Platform?
100 Resilient Cities provides member cities with access to a curated suite of resilience-building tools and services supplied by a carefully selected platform of partners from the private, public, academic, and non-profit sectors.
But helping individual cities leveraging resources beyond Rockefeller’s $164 million commitment, isn’t the only goal. By introducing Platform Partners to cities, 100RC will facilitate the creation of a private sector marketplace for resilience tools. Once Platform Partners understand what cities need, they can begin building new tools and improving old ones – tools that will be available to all cities.
Read more on our Platform here: http://www.100resilientcities.org/blog/entry/what-is-the-100-resilient-cities-platform-of-partners.
13. Who are the 100RC Platform Partners?
Our list of Platform Partners is growing quickly, but it currently includes organizations such as:
• SwissRe, which provides member cities with CatNet, a proprietary tool that allows them to understand their hazard exposure and focus their planning efforts;
• Palantir, a data analysis company that helps member cities understand and integrate the massive streams of information and data they have coming in, so they can make the best use of them, often solving problems in new, transformative ways;
• The American Institute of Architects and Architecture for Humanity’s Resilient Design Studios help member cities build more resilient built environments through professional development, model building codes, and design services.
Read more about our platform and our partners here: http://www.100resilientcities.org/blog/entry/what-is-the-100-resilient-cities-platform-of-partners.
14. What is the goal of the 100RC Network?
By being part of the 100RC Network, cities and CROs will be able to share best practices, solve problems collectively, learn from each other, and connect with other resilience experts. These network activities will make CROs global resilience ambassadors, and facilitate the creation of a global practice of resilience building.
One of the problems that 100 Resilient Cities was created to solve is that solutions in cities aren’t scaling – in other words, cities are facing many of the same challenges but are starting from scratch in trying to solve them. By connecting resilience practitioners around the world who are facing similar challenges, we hope to solve this problem.
15. What is the 100RC Resilience Strategy Process?
The 100RC Resilience Strategy Process is a 6-9 month effort to develop a roadmap to resilience for the city, engaging a broad range of stakeholders, identifying cities’ unique resilience priorities, and resulting in an actionable set of initiatives.
One of the early steps a CRO takes is to catalogue existing plans - the goal is to build on the good work cities have done, not recreate it. CRO’s will work to understand the shocks and stresses that cities face while at the same time evaluating the city’s capacity to address them. This includes learning about existing resilience strategies and then incorporating them into a single strategy while filling in the gaps, where they exist.
Therefore, cities will be aligning and leveraging what they’re already doing, while improving their systems with the help of additional resources, such as platform services and consulting partners offered by 100RC.
16. What is the goal of the 100RC Resilience Strategy Process?
The main objective of the 100RC Resilience Strategy Process is to trigger action, investment and support within city government and from outside groups. Rather than a static road map, the resilience strategy is a living document to be continuously fine-tuned as priorities are addressed and initiatives get implemented.
17. Who are the strategy partners working with member cities?
100RC is working with some of the best global technical experts to build resilience strategies in member cities (e.g. AECOM, HR&A, Dalberg, Accenture, Arup, ICLEI, and more). Because these firms have both local offices and global headquarters, 100RC can leverage their local capacity while using their global influence to maximize impact across regions, facilitate lessons sharing, and scale best practices.
18. What is the Resilience Dividend?
The resilience dividend is the return on resilience investments, whether it’s a financial return, or more qualitative, such as reduced inequality or increased social cohesion. It’s the idea that building resilience realizes benefits in both times of crisis and times of calm.
In November 2014, PublicAffairs published a book by Judith Rodin, titled The Resilience Dividend, which draws from Rockefeller’s work and beyond to make the case for why companies, communities, cities, and countries should take a resilience mindset and thereby realize the resilience dividend.
To learn more visit www.resiliencedividend.org.
19. Who can I contact if I have further questions about 100RC?
Reach out to us to learn more about becoming part of and joining the resilient cities movement at http://www.100resilientcities.org/pages/contact/contact-us.
20. Why do we focus on cities?
First, the world is rapidly urbanizing—by 2050, 75% of the world’s population will live in cities. Second, global pressures that play out at a city scale − such as climate change, disease pandemics, economic fluctuations, and terrorism − pose new challenges and uncertainty. Sudden shocks or accumulating stresses in cities can cause significant damage and disruption; in 2011, the cost of natural disasters was estimated at over $380 billion. Because city systems are interconnected, breakdowns can lead to multiple or sequential failure. At worst, this can result in social breakdown, physical collapse, or economic decline.
To learn more about why cities are the place to start building resilience, read our blog at http://www.100resilientcities.org/blog/entry/six-big-reasons-we-focus-on-cities.
21. How long will you continue to pay the salary of the CRO? Does the city have to pay once your work is done?
100RC pays the salary of the CRO for at least two years, and potentially for three. But we expect that the city will get such great value out of the role – far more than the salary – that they will continue funding the position after that time period.
22. How does a grant of 1 million dollars help? Our infrastructure needs are in the billions.
Cities don’t actually get a “grant” of $1 million. 100RC pays for the salary of a Chief Resilience officer, but the rest of the benefits of working with us come in other, even more valuable forms, such as deep technical expertise; support to develop a resilience plan; and access to our platform partners – the best resilience building tools in the world, provided by the private sector, the public sector, and NGOs.