Resilient DC: Integrating Hazard Mitigation and Resiliency

In May 2016 the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) announced the third and final cohort of cities for inclusion into the 100RC Network. This network provides financial and logistical guidance and support, as well as a group of dedicated professionals and community members from around the world sharing best practices and pit-falls. Among the final 33 cities to be chosen was Washington D.C.

The competition for entry in to the 100RC Network was fierce, in the last round of selection over 1000 cities from across the global vied for just 33 slots. The team from DC had a though road ahead of them. But through the dedicated leadership of Mayor Muriel Bowser and her team of city officials, DC was selected for the final cohort. The Office of Resilience, under the Office of the City Administrator, lead by Harrison Newton, is responsible for implementing and coordinating the capital’s resilience strategy.

One of the first steps on the road to resiliency under the 100RC network is to establish the position of Chief Resiliency Officer (CRO). This position is responsible for coordinating collaboration and guiding strategy development throughout the process. Resilient DC is currently searching for a CRO. While the city searches for their candidate, resiliency work continues.

On February 9th, 2017 the city held an Agenda-Setting Workshop to share the 100RC process with key leaders from government, academia, private industry, non-profit organizations, and citizens. The Agenda-Setting Workshop also began the process of identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the city, the shocks the community is likely to encounter, and the drivers of acute and chronic stresses within the community.

A resilient city is made up of the resilient systems that provide stability and adaptability to shocks and stresses. According to 100RC a resilient city is reflective, resourceful, inclusive, integrated, robust, redundant, and flexible. A well managed integrated hazard mitigation program contributes to all of these qualities.

Based on the consensus of the Agenda-Setting Workshop participants, climate change and its corresponding effects will be one of the important stresses to address in the quest for resiliency. Mitigation and adaptation will be required to overcome the challenges and hazards presented by climate change. By integrating hazard mitigation and climate change mitigation into the resiliency strategy of DC the city will become an example for cities across the United States. As national politics continues to create divisions and slow progress, it will be up to cities to create the future that we need.

This is just the beginning of what will hopefully be an ongoing series discussing mitigation and resiliency.