Resilient Cities Network
Urban water Europe

Resilient Cities Network rises to build on 100 Resilient Cities’ legacy

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

The Resilient Cities Network has been launched following the Rockefeller Foundation’s decision to sunset the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) initiative.

Co-creating urban solutions

The Resilient Cities Network has been launched following the Rockefeller Foundation’s decision to sunset the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) initiative.

The new organisation has the ambition to “co-create urban solutions to address complex and interrelated urban challenges, so that cities and communities thrive”.

Executive director Lauren Sorkin will lead the organisation, and its Global Steering Committee will be led by co-chairs from Belfast, Northern Ireland and Christchurch, New Zealand.

Other cities represented on the committee include Buenos Aires, Salvador, Pune, Cape Town, Kigali, Rotterdam, San Francisco, and Houston.

By 2050, more than 70 per cent of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas, and already nearly 500 million urban residents live in high-risk coastal areas.

During a virtual summit, it was said that a “resilient recovery remains a priority,” as cities around the world are still battling the unprecedented pandemic, compounded by risks of climate change and social inequality.

Focus on three priorities

The Network will focus on three priorities to be delivered through programs of collective action with member cities during the next two years. These include:

  • Pursuing a resilient recovery to reinforce equity, to promote private-public partnerships, and to foster stronger local economies 
  • Helping cities to be prepared to further build climate resilience, not only to protect citizens from water-related challenges but also to strengthen the capacity of communities to cope with the effects of climate change
  • Promoting circular economies through indigenous and technological solutions, to rapidly and sensibly enhance waste management and food systems.

"We have in our hands a promising opportunity to build a healthier and more sustainable future for all."

“We have in our hands a promising opportunity to enhance the quality of life, improve access to infrastructure, and build a healthier and more sustainable future for all,” said
Lauren N. Sorkin, executive director of the Resilient Cities Network.

A short update on the history

In April 2019 it was announced that the 100 Resilient Cities initiative would no longer receive funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, six years after being launched.

“Budget issues and a change in leadership at the foundation” were cited by Cities Today as likely reasons for 100RC’s sudden funding exit.

However, the foundation agreed to continue offering financial support for urban resilience work, including the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center at the Atlantic Council, and for Chief Resilience Officers still within the life of their original 100RC grant.

Two further organisations were spun off: the Resilient Cities Catalyst, and also the Global Resilient Cities Network (GRCN).

Backed by Facebook and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Catalyst was launched as a non-profit organisation acting as a go-between for cities and non-governmental bodies.

Meanwhile, the GRCN started operations on September 1, 2019, as a global network of cities and urban resilience experts, endeavouring to drive urban resilience.

Following a refreshed look and clearer focus and mission, GRCN has emerged as the Resilient Cities Network, with the new visual identify, website and logo.

Delivering collective impact

The Resilient Cities Network said it will activate projects to deliver collective impact to “benefit 220 million citizens around the globe, 50 million of them living under vulnerable conditions”.

"Now more than ever building city resilience makes sense,” said Grainia Long, co-chair of the Global Steering Committee, Commissioner for Resilience, Belfast.

She added: “Working with cities to create prosperous, equitable, and safe urban environments while prioritising access to healthcare for vulnerable populations is a key driver for us. We are committed to growing the practice of urban resilience across the globe in a way that it accrues social, economic, and political capital, making our cities thrive.”

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