The Rockefeller Foundation is creating an opportunity for many more cities to engage in its work in the resilience space through an exciting and creative challenge. With the goals being to surface new innovations, new commitments, and enable new action in at least 100 cities to prevent poverty and environmental degradation, the Foundation will launch the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge (100 RC) and invest $100 million in building urban resilience worldwide. 100 RC will bring together cities, public and private organizations, and respected experts to drive action on the ground, support Chief Resilience Officers (CRO) and citywide resilience plans, and bring innovative financing and technology to the table. The Challenge will also result in the 100 Resilient Cities Network - a new collaboration to drive the urban resilience movement forward.
The 100RC cities will be selected over the course of the next three years in three separate groups (outlined in the Action Plan). The cities will submit an application and selected cities will be chosen by an expert judging panel. The cities selected will be required to name a resilience contact, identify and hire a CRO, attend resilience workshops run by the Rockefeller Foundation, and send their CRO to the first 100RC Conference.
The selected cities will receive four elements of support: 1) membership in the new 100 Resilient Cities Network (100RC Network) where member cities will be provided support and the ability to share new knowledge and resilience best practices, 2) support to create a resilience plan, 3) tools for mobilizing and accessing resources, with a focus on innovative financing to leverage billions of dollars of potential private sector financial support, as well as public dollars, to realize their resilience plans, and 4) support to hire a CRO (The role of the CRO will be to lead resilience thinking across city planning, and integrate the resilience plan into the existing response systems within a city. They will also ensure resilience-building and coordination is the specific responsibility of one person in a city government)
In order to further support the selected cities, the Rockefeller Foundation will work through the CGI platform to engage potential partners to support the 100 RC platform, which supports plan implementation by mobilizing services from 100 RC and third-party providers. These partners will be engaged in four areas:
- Policy: Informing government-sponsored legal initiatives (e.g., updating building code) through bringing an outside perspective to existing policies and leveraging international policymaking expertise.
- Community & social resilience: Citizen engagement with regards to preparation, learning, and recovering from shocks. This includes donated services and off-the-shelf workshops, toolkits, and more.
- Infrastructure: Advancing long-term physical development projects (e.g., sewage system upgrade) with a focus on mobilizing investment.
- Technology: Advancing technical, data-driven, and mobile solutions (e.g. SMS alert systems), and determining data needs based on best practices & post analysis support.
With the launch of this Commitment to Action, the Rockefeller Foundation is announcing the first partners in this effort.
1. Building off of their 2013 Commitment to facilitate more efficient disaster response, Palantir will jointly deploy their data fusion and analysis platform to empower a diverse spectrum of cities around the world. The technology will provide a resilience dashboard for CROs and other city officials, improving their ability to conduct strategic planning, empirical risk assessments, and capital investment decisions when preparing for, responding to, and recovering from natural, economic, political, and biological shocks.
As the final component of this commitment, the Rockefeller and Palantir partnership will launch a pilot with the city of New Orleans. The City will be the first to have access to the newly created resilience dashboard. The Dashboard includes data sets and indicators that when put together can assist a city with its Resilience planning. The City of New Orleans commits to working with Palantir and the Rockefeller Foundation to refine the dashboard so that it is most useful for the 100 Resilient Cities once they are selected and have access.
2. Swiss Re will offer their CatNET software to the 100 selected cities free of charge and continue to provide thought leadership around the issue of risk transference. Swiss Re will develop and offer a suite of tailor-made risk transfer solutions to the cities to help absorb the financial shock of certain events. Initial solutions will focus on natural catastrophe and climate-related risks. Swiss Re will deliver these risk transfer solutions utilizing the 100 Resilient Cities platform.
3. Architecture for Humanity and American Institute of Architects will support 100RC through their own CGI Commitment, Resilient USA: Professional Partnerships for Our Future, sharing the capacities and aligning the activities offered by the Regional Resilient Design Studios they will establish in five major cities. The 100RC platform will include training for architects and other design professionals. The Rockefeller Foundation commits to align their activities with the priorities and recommendations from the Regional Resilient Design Studios and will work to ensure the networks long-term permanence and expansion.
4. The World Bank will support the cities selected through 100RC by increasing their access to credit and financing opportunities and supplying a comprehensive suite of planning and financing services.
May 2013: 100 Resilient Cities Announcement
August 2013: Round 1 of the Centennial Challenge Opens
September 2013: Centennial Challenge is announced as a CGI commitment at the CGI Annual Meeting
October 2013: Round 1 of the Challenge Closes
December 2013: Round 1 Challenge winners (20-25 cities) are announced at the Rockefeller Foundation Innovation Forum
January - June 2014: The Rockefeller Foundation will run resilience agenda workshops in selected cities
Year 2014: Round 2 of the Centennial Challenge will be held
Year 2015: Round 3 of the Centennial Challenge will be held
Year 2017: 100RC Network is fully established self-sustaining
Ongoing: The Rockefeller Foundation will continue to approach potential platform partners on an on-going basis throughout the life of the challenge based on the four buckets described in the 'Approach' section as well as continue to refine the offerings available to cities and partners through the 100 RC platform.
A century ago only one tenth of the world's population lived in cities. Today that number has risen to over 50 percent, and will reach 75 percent by 2050. As natural and man-made shocks and stresses grow in frequency, impact, and scale, public and private sector leaders are working to build greater resiliency to these stresses and increase their ability to respond. This is particularly true at the city-level where these shocks and stresses have a large scale impact due to the population density, resulting in very significant economic consequences.
The Rockefeller Foundation defines resilience as 'the ability of a system, entity, community, or person to withstand shocks while still maintaining its essential functions and to recover quickly and effectively.' Simply put, resilience is what enables people to survive, adapt, and thrive in the face of acute shocks and chronic stresses.
Building resilience cannot be done by a single actor or sector, no matter how innovative or passionate they may be. Rather, building resilience requires partners from all actors in the system: governments creating the right policies, plans and infrastructure investment; businesses ensuring the functioning of our economic systems; communities and civic institutions organizing to be more flexible, responsive, and robust; and organizations and individuals learning the core skills required to adapt and cope.
The Rockefeller Foundation has funded work on resilience that ranges from addressing post-Sandy New York and post-Katrina New Orleans to rapidly growing Asian cities, and agricultural innovations in African countries. It has already invested more than $100 million in programs that has resulted in significant knowledge development, the production of practical solutions, and stronger resilience in these communities and regions. Additionally, the Rockefeller Foundation will draw on its previous urban and innovative financing work. A strong example of this work can be seen in Chicago, where the The Rockefeller Foundation assisted the city in creating the Chicago Infrastructure Trust and provided $1.5 million in grants through this Trust for Chicago's Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) development efforts.
The Rockefeller Foundation has established itself as a leading global thinker and actor in the developing field of resilience through its work to fostering climate change resilience in Asian cities, supporting more resilient African agriculture and rebuilding American cities impacted by natural disasters.