The Rockefeller Foundation announced their 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge during their 100th birthday on May 14th, 2013. Following over 1,000 registrations and 400 applications from cities around the world, the first group, having “demonstrated a dedicated commitment to building their own capacities to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back rapidly from shocks and stresses,” has been selected. The panel of judges, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Olosegun Obasanjo, based their review on the clearness of the city plans to approach resiliency by adapting and decreasing the vulnerabilities and dangers faced by each geographic location.
The Rockefeller Foundation makes $100 million commitment to resilient cities at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative
Of the first thirty-three cities from Africa to Asia, selected in the first group of this global network, four of them are in the Bay Area of California. San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda, will all collaborate in a pilot for regional strategic planning.
The Rockefeller Foundation will award four types of support to each city selected in the challenge:
- The support the hire of a Chief Resilience Officer as the central coordinator of resiliency planning and implementation;
- Support for the Chief Resilience Officer to perform the duties of planning and analysis for the development of actionable priorities and initiatives;
- Access to services supporting the implementation of a developed strategy, including investment solutions to spur infrastructure financing, information technology tools, and models for policy, laws and regulations to enable resiliency;
- Connection to other Network members, spotlighting success to share what works for the integration of regional and global innovations in urban resilience.
Oakland City Hall: One of many civic buildings in Oakland having received energy and seismic retrofitting. Such programs would be expanded to include residential buildings not already upgraded
Recognizing the award for Oakland CA., Mayor Jean Quan acknowledged Oakland’s innovation and resiliency in worldwide terms, having recovered from two natural disasters, the Loma Prieta Earthquake and Oakland Hills Firestorm, just two years apart. The mayor targeted the city priorities for the award to focus on retrofitting of infrastructure, including the 24,000 units of residential housing susceptible to a quake and the city’s climate action plan to deal with global warming conditions. She thanked the Rockefeller Foundation, the fellow network cities and the multiple partners involved in defining Oakland’s objectives towards resiliency including the Oakland Climate Action Coalition, The Adapt to Rising Tides (ART) Project (a collaboration of the Alameda County Public Health Department, Port of Oakland, regional transit authorities, utility companies, local hospitals and environmental regulatory agencies), The Resource Innovation Group, The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), The California Earthquake Authority, The Pacific Earthquake Engineering and Research Center and more.
A symbol of Oakland's resiliency, at over 200 years old, one of the city's oldest and largest Oak trees in Frank Ogawa Plaza, downtown
The Bay Area is known globally as a leader of sustainable resilience in urban planning for the sake of their citizenry. The recognition and support from the Rockefeller Foundation offers a platform for such strategies to be shared worldwide as a leading example of mitigation and adaption to emerging conditions faced far and wide. The challenge still has sixty-seven cities to include in this network of leading urban examples.
What cities would you select for such an award and why?
Credits: Images by Gina Kiani and linked to sources. Data linked to sources.