Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published on October 14, 2014, and updated with the following note on April 2, 2015.
Last week, the second Platform Partner Summit convened in the Bay Area of California, USA. Over 20 partners joined us to discuss how they can help cities in this regional cohort – Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco – strategize to achieve some of their resilience goals. Some of the most exciting takeaways from the event include:
- Coordination between cities and Platform Partners is constantly uncovering new opportunities to combine Platform Partner tools and services to yield resilience benefits. Working together in real time, partners proposed: combining existing city data; high resolution images from new partner Digital Globe with natural hazard models from the American Geophysical Union; and viewing them through partner Trimble’s platform to alert Chief Resilience Officers to potential problem areas.
- Water is a common challenge across most of our cities, and the Platform includes partners that are ready to get to work; The EPA, The Nature Conservancy, and The World Wildlife Fund have already worked on helping cities improve water management and build green infrastructure in the face of the acute water shortages facing the region.
- Platform partner tools can help cities overcome previously intractable challenges by enabling cities to ask new questions and reframe the problem; build on design, implementation, and management expertise; and to leverage new ways to integrate existing information and assets to devise better strategies and solutions.
The energy at the event was just the most recent indicator of what happens when cities and urban practitioners from the public, private, academic, and non-profit sectors come together to build urban resilience.
100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation was created in part to help solve two key problems:
1) cities are complex ecosystems, resistant to change and made up of a myriad group of systems and actors; and
2) existing solutions aren’t scaling or are not being shared more broadly. In other words, cities constantly find themselves reinventing the wheel.
Our platform of partners, one of the four key offerings we provide our cities, is designed to help address the second problem. Through our Platform Partners, 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.
The Platform and our Platform Partners are a way to leverage resources beyond the $100+ million commitment that the Rockefeller Foundation initially made when it pioneered 100 Resilient Cities as part of its centennial commitment to urban resilience. The catalogue includes tools and services that cities might not otherwise be able to access for a number of reasons, such as affordability, not knowing that the tool existed, or not understanding that it could be applied to address their unique city needs.
The tools and services we have on our platform can help educate our cities and can facilitate the planning and implementation of their strategy process. For example, we have tools that aggregate, evaluate and integrate big data into decision making; encourage stakeholder engagement; assess risk exposure to hazards; monitor and protect water resources; design resilient urban infrastructure and environments; identify opportunities for operational efficiency and provide education around the concept of resilience.
City resilience will improve, the marketplace will produce better tools, and the global practice of resilience will advance.
How does it work?
Cities surface unmet resilience-building needs during a six-to-nine-month Strategy development process, and 100RC matches those needs with the capabilities of our Platform Partners.
Although it won’t address all of our cities’ resilience-building needs, the Platform’s purpose is to help cities identify some of the tools and services they can use that have worked elsewhere. With the support of the Platform, cities can address many of their current resilience needs and begin to build the capacity to continue working on their resilience building into the future.
Helping individual cities isn’t the only goal. By introducing these world-class actors to cities, we are facilitating a process by which the cities themselves help inform the market place. Once they understand what cities need, these private sector, NGOs, and publicly funded partners can begin building new tools and improving old ones – tools that will be available to all cities.
Through our Platform, cities will become more resilient, the marketplace will produce better tools, and the global practice of resilience will advance ever further.