Why 100 Resilient Cities?

The Rockefeller Foundation has been a leader in urban policy since the late 1950s when it launched an Urban Design Studies program. One of its first grants was to a then-obscure author for the research and writing of The Death and Life of Great American Cities. More than fifty years later, Jane Jacobs’ book remains one of the most influential works ever written on urban design, and it laid the foundations for urban resilience.

In 2013, building on this long tradition, and in celebration of its 100-year anniversary, the Rockefeller Foundation launched 100 Resilient Cities (100RC), a non-profit dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges of the 21st century. Our mission is to catalyze an urban resilience movement, and we have rapidly built a dynamic global organization. We work along four key pathways in pursuit of our mission:

  1. CITY ACTION: We partner closely with cities to help them take practical action toward building their resilience. We work with them to hire a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), to create a holistic Resilience Strategy in collaboration with a wide range of community stakeholders, and to implement the actions designed in that strategy. We provide funding, capacity building, technical assistance, and access to a wide array of resources that help cities take action to implement resilience solutions and institutionalize resilience thinking.
  2. RESILIENCE SOLUTIONS: Cities often lack access to the tools or technical assistance they need to design and implement solutions to their resilience challenges; sometimes they don’t even know what kind of support they need. We have built a diverse Platform of Partners, including global industry leaders and innovators from the private and nonprofit sectors, to respond to cities’ demands and support them in taking action. We connect cities to Partners who have the solutions and expertise they need, and help catalyze the marketplace to create new solutions where necessary.
  3. LOCAL LEADERS: To catalyze a resilience movement, local leadership must serve as champions, galvanizing support among stakeholders and residents. We have developed a peer-to-peer Network through which Chief Resilience Officers and other local leaders receive trainings, share best practices, and collaborate on solutions. These leaders are the vanguard of a new urban resilience practice, and are crucial ambassadors advancing the global movement.
  4. GLOBAL INFLUENCE: In order to catalyze an urban resilience movement, global organizations with the capital, power, or regulatory authority to dramatically impact urban challenges must be committed and engaged. By proving the value of resilience solutions, 100RC seeks to inspire and influence global thought leaders, policy makers, and financial institutions to incentivize and fund resilience building efforts — in our member cities and around the world.

Our Impact

100RC’s diverse and dynamic network of cities is facing a common set of shocks and stresses. Member cities face rainfall flooding, infrastructure failure, earthquake, extreme heat, and disease outbreak as their most common shocks, and aging infrastructure, a lack of affordable housing, inadequate public transportation, environmental degradation, and economic inequality as their most common stresses.

Catalyzing a movement takes time, and our vision for change is multigenerational. However, in the last four years, we have already seen the following successes along our four pathways for impact: