100RC and Columbia University Announce “Resilience Accelerator” to Help Cities Take on Critical Projects That Address Their Major Challenges

With $3.7 million grant from The Rockefeller Foundation, the Resilience Accelerator will work directly with cities to move resilience projects from concept to design through collaboration with industry experts, designers, and thinkers

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation will use grant funding to support work by the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes, dedicated to advancing understanding of cities as dynamic systems

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – At the Ninth Session of the World Urban Forum, 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) – today announced the launch of the Resilience Accelerator, a new initiative in partnership with the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University.

The Rockefeller Foundation provided a $3.7 million grant to fund the Resilience Accelerator and support work by the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes at Columbia University. The Resilience Accelerator will fast-track progress on eight separate projects over two years and will invest in high priority resilience projects in 100RC network cities. The Accelerator will work closely with the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes, 100RC, and global experts to expedite projects that will help cities survive, adapt, and confront chronic stresses and acute shocks they face.

“We have worked with cities across the world to bring together governments, NGOs, and the private sector to initiate and find solutions to the greatest urban challenges, and now it’s time to make them a reality,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “The Resilience Accelerator will identify key moments in a project’s lifecycle where we can bring people together to connect expertise, create more funding and investment opportunities, and produce better resilience outcomes. Our partnership with Columbia GSAPP will allow us to help cities test what works and create innovative designs that can serve as blueprints for urban leaders everywhere.”

Beginning this spring, 100RC member cities will be able to submit projects for potential intervention through the Accelerator, and two finalists will be selected each semester for collaboration with experts, scholars, and Columbia graduate students. Samuel Carter will be the director of the Resilience Accelerator. He most recently served as Managing Director leading the Resilience Team at The Rockefeller Foundation.

“Design and planning methods are rapidly changing to face issues of climate dynamics and the need for adaptive, flexible and equitable urban landscapes,” said Dean Amale Andraos of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. “The Resilience Accelerator and newly formed Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes will bring together the most innovative thinkers and experts to help cities address these challenges and thrive.”

“Cities across the globe have identified projects that can make an immediate impact as they prepare for future challenges, including climate change and income inequality,” said Samuel Carter, Director of the Resilience Accelerator. “Many of these cities would like to move quickly to make these projects a reality, and the Resilience Accelerator will connect city leaders with the technical expertise to move their projects closer to the finish line.”

After projects are submitted for consideration, the Resilience Accelerator will identify creative opportunities and planning challenges suited for collaboration through immersive workshops, seminar, and design studios co-organized by Columbia University GSAPP. The Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes is led by its Faculty Director, Kate Orff, a landscape architect and MacArthur Fellow, and its Managing Director, Thaddeus Pawlowski.


About 100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation 

100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic, and physical challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each of our cities who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a Resilience Strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. For more information, visit: www.100ResilientCities.org.

About Columbia GSAPP

Among the world’s leading research universities, Columbia University in the City of New York continuously seeks to advance the frontiers of scholarship and foster a campus community deeply engaged in the complex issues of our time. Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (Columbia GSAPP) offers a range of programs in architecture, historic preservation, planning, real estate development, and urban design that bring together imagination, experimentation, and critical thinking towards new forms of practice. GSAPP is committed to shaping a more equitable, sustainable, and creative world by engaging architecture and the built environment from diverse and global perspectives. The school functions as an urban condenser of ideas and drives innovation and change through the leadership of its faculty, the excellence of its academic programs, the expansion of interdisciplinary opportunities as well as the richness of its research initiatives and events.