Resilience Accelerator

The Resilience Accelerator is a partnership between 100 Resilient Cities and the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes at Columbia University. New support from The Rockefeller Foundation connects the diverse challenges of a global network of cities to the expertise of one of the world’s top schools of planning and design.


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About the Accelerator

What We Do

  • Design: Convening immersive workshops that bring together multi-disciplinary expertise to advance strategy and project design.
  • Connect: Networking hundreds of creative thinkers and technical experts chosen for their ability to facilitate and advise in order to help communities survive, adapt, and thrive no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.
  • Learn: Embedding resilience thinking within Columbia University’s Graduate School for Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.

How We Do It

We organize our work in three ways:

  • Accelerators: We spot key moments in a project’s lifecycle where we can convene a workshop to integrate resilience thinking and design expertise to create more funding and investment opportunities and produce better resilience outcomes.
  • Deep Dives: We work with 100RC partner cities to identify urgent problems suited for support from a design studio or seminar over the course of a four- to ten-month engagement co-organized by Columbia University GSAPP and local institutions and implementers.
  • Strategic Partnerships: We form partnerships with leading organizations committed to resilience-building to leverage resources across organizations.


Samuel Carter

Director, Resilience Accelerator

Samuel Carter is Director of the Resilience Accelerator at 100 Resilient Cities.

Sam most recently served as Managing Director leading the Resilience Team at The Rockefeller Foundation.  In that role he led the Foundation’s partnership with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development on the National Disaster Resilience Competition, as well as its work in the New York region post Sandy and in the Louisiana state ongoing long-term recovery efforts. Sam helped to establish the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, where he served as Associate Director.  Prior to working at the IPK, Sam worked as Program Coordinator for the President’s Office of the Social Science Research Council, where he coordinated the SSRC Katrina Task Force and two books for the Privatization of Risk Series with Columbia University Press.

Sam has taught at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and NYU’s Stern School of Business.  He has served as a Researcher for Vice President Joe Biden and political strategist Robert Shrum.  Sam has a MPA from NYU where he studied policy and planning.

Kate Orff

Faculty Director, Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes
Principal, SCAPE

Kate is the Founder of SCAPE and a MacArthur Fellow, and Faculty Director of the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes at Columbia University. Kate focuses on retooling the practice of landscape architecture relative to uncertainty of climate change and fostering social life which she has explored through publications, activism, research, and projects. She is known for leading complex, creative, and collaborative work processes that advance broad environmental and social prerogatives.

Kate was awarded the MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Grant in 2017, the first given in the field of Landscape Architecture. Kate was named a 2012 United States Artist Fellow, an Elle Magazine “Planet Fixer,” and shared SCAPE’s design methodologies at the International TEDWomen Conference in 2010. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia with Distinction and earned a Master in Landscape Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Kate is also the Director of Columbia University GSAPP’s Urban Design Program.

Thaddeus Pawlowski

Managing Director, Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes

Thaddeus Pawlowski is an urban designer who has been working at the forefront of adapting cities to climate change. Working in New York City government since the early 2000s, he has sought to integrate adaptation and resilience into the long term development patterns of the city through the design of projects, policies and programs. After Hurricane Sandy, he worked with the NYC Mayor’s Office on setting up disaster recovery programs and worked with communities to navigate the complex regulatory programmatic, regulatory and design landscape of recovery and resilience. He has a Masters in Architecture from University of Pennsylvania and was a 2015 Loeb Fellow at Harvard University.

News About the Accelerator

Get Involved

In this round of work, we are focusing our efforts on cities in the 100RC network and strategic partnerships to advance resilience projects.

We also want to work with professionals and organizations that can help drive projects to realize resilient outcomes.  We would love to talk if you are:

  • a design professional or expert interested in supporting the resilience agenda.
  • a network of resilience practitioners eager connect to important work.
  • an organization committed to designing or advancing resilience-building projects.
  • a funder or investor looking to identify projects ready for resources that will produce resilient outcomes.

Send us an email at if you have a question about partnering.

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