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Mayor Walsh and the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities Host "KickOff" Workshop Marking Beginning of City's Participation in Innovative Global Urban Resilience Initiative

May 19, 2015

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) - pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation - to kick off the process of developing a comprehensive resilience strategy that will enable the city to better survive, adapt and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks it experiences. The workshop brought together local officials and civic leaders, as well as engineers, architects, economists, faith leaders, academics and urban planners from around the city to participate in discussions on shared priorities and the essential elements for our preparedness plans.

“Thanks to 100 Resilient Cities and The Rockefeller Foundation, Boston has a real opportunity to address lingering social and economic impacts of our history,” said Mayor Walsh. “This workshop is a first step towards creating a tremendous resource and will move Boston towards a stronger, more resilient future.”

Boston’s initiative includes a unique focus on social resilience. Forty years after the busing crisis, Boston remains a city affected by divisions of race and class that undermine community cohesion. Gaps in health, educational and economic outcomes are evidence of how these fissures weaken resilience. The goal of the 100RC Initiative is to find ways to infuse the principles of resilience into all aspects of local planning, ensuring the city's ability to weather and recover from the physical, social and economic crises that are increasingly prevalent in the 21st century.

In the months following today’s workshop, the city will continue to engage those stakeholders, resilience experts and 100RC staff in drafting the plan. As part of the process, Mayor Walsh is seeking applicants for the position of Chief Resiliency Officer (CRO) for the City of Boston to ensure Boston's resilience strategy incorporates and responds to the overarching issues facing Boston, including racial and socio-economic inequity, the lack of affordable housing, unemployment and underemployment, violence, climate change, flooding and terrorism. The position is funded through 100RC.

The CRO will report directly to the Mayor and will support the development of a resilience strategy and policy discussion in the city that includes an assessment of our social resilience opportunities and challenges. The CRO will also work with external stakeholders towards a shared vision on economic development, transportation, housing, climate change and the arts. Boston residency is required for this position. Interested applicants can apply at the City of Boston’s website: http://www.cityofboston.gov/ohr/careercenter/

In December 2014, Mayor Walsh announced that Boston had been selected as one of 35 cities from around the world to join the 100RC Network, which supplies its member cities with tools, funding, technical expertise and other resources to build resilience to the challenges of the 21st century. 

“City governments are on the front line of dealing with acute shocks and chronic stress,” said The Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin. “Boston is part of a group of cities leading the way on resilience to better prepare for, withstand, and recover more effectively when disruption hits. Through this type of inclusive resilience planning cities can be better prepared for the unexpected. T hey can also realize the resilience dividend, the economic and competitive advantages that come from taking a resilience mindset. Boston’s commitment to resilience thinking, planning and action will set a global example.”

“Boston is helping fuel global momentum around building urban resilience, and leading by example,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities.  “The agenda workshop will clarify the city’s needs, surface innovative thinking, and give us a blueprint for engaging partners from across sectors to bring Boston the tools and resources needed to become more resilient.” 

About 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation:

100 Resilient Cities – pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation -- is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC supports the adoption and incorporation of a view of resilience that includes not just the shocks but also the stresses that weaken the fabric of a city on a day-to-day or cyclical basis. Examples of these stresses include high unemployment; an overtaxed or inefficient public transportation system; endemic violence; or chronic food and water shortages. By addressing both the shocks and the stresses, a city can better respond to adverse events and is more capable of delivering basic functions in good time and bad, to all populations.

The 100 Resilient Cities Challenge was launched in 2013 as a $100 million commitment to build urban resilience. Officials or leaders or major institutions from over 700 cities have applied to the Challenge. The first cohort of 32 cities was announced in December 2013, and 100RC announced their second cohort of 35 cities in December 2014. Information on the Challenge itself is available at www.100resilientcities.org/challenge

An FAQ can be found at: http://www.100resilientcities.org/pages/100RC-FAQ#/-_/

Media Contact for 100 Resilient Cities: Maxwell Young – Myoung@100RC.org