Clinton, $100M Rockefeller grant jumpstart Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge

Sources: Clinton Global Initiative, New York City; CP staff; MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub

A hot button topic indicating homes, buildings and communities’ ability to absorb and limit damage from natural or man-made hazards, resilience is drawing the attention of the Clinton Global Initiative, Rockefeller Foundation, American Institute of Architects, and a property/casualty underwriter tied to billionaire Warren Buffet.

The Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action will support 100 or more cities to hire a chief resilience officer and create resilience strategies while providing implementation tools, technical support and resources, including access to innovative finance for infrastructure development. Former President Bill Clinton announced the Commitment at the group’s annual meeting in New York City, coinciding with the 2013 General Assembly of the United Nations. The 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge is led by the Rockefeller Foundation, which has committed $100 million to the effort; American Institute of Architects and Architecture for Humanity; and, insurer Swiss Re.

“Building resilience cannot be done by a single actor or sector, no matter how innovative or passionate they may be,” notes Rockefeller Foundation President Dr. Judith Rodin. “[It] requires a shared vision and investment among a range of partners including cities themselves. The Rockefeller Foundation has been on the front lines of urban resilience for nearly a decade, and we are thrilled to have this initial set of partners joining us to transform this vision into progress in our rapidly urbanizing world.”

Building resilience strengthens cities’ ability to prepare for and bounce back more quickly from the inevitable shocks and stresses of extreme weather, seismic events or terrorism, she adds. Accounting for the increasing concentration of persons living in cities—a trend that by 2050 will include an estimated 75 percent of the world’s population—the Rockefeller Foundation sees building urban resilience as a 21st century imperative.

100 Resilient Cities will select the first round of participants to join the chief resilience officer network following the Challenge process, open to cities around the world. More than 500 cities have registered to date, 20 to 25 of them to be named as inaugural participants at the Rockefeller Foundation’s annual Innovation Forum in December.

“The American Institute of Architects and Architecture for Humanity are committed to creating a series of Regional Resilient Design Studios,” says AIA Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA. “By building upon our experience helping recover in the wake of major disasters, these studios will train and engage architects in their communities before disasters strike.”