Implementing Resilience beyond Saving Lives and Protecting Property

Written by Resilient Cities Network
Thursday, 15 September 2022


Resilient Cities Network presents 52 projects to strengthen urban resilience

(R-Cities) – New York. – Member cities of the Resilient Cities Network (R-Cities) and the cities’ Chief Resilience Officers from across the United States and Canada have outlined 52 innovative and impact-driven projects that, once turned into reality, will advance urban resilience, strengthen infrastructure, protect homes and other key infrastructure. The 52 projects outlined in R-Cities Prospectus 2022 were selected from the cities’ Resilient Strategies Concepts and highlights a wide range of projects, reflecting a broader definition of resilience and offering unique funding and financing opportunities.

2022 has seen major flooding in cities all around the US and extreme weather events such as the catastrophic floods in Pakistan have been devastating to millions of people around the world. According to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, 2021 came in second to 2020 in terms of the number of disasters and third in total costs, with a price tag of $145 billion USD. Additionally, a historic heat wave in June to July 2021 and the persistent western drought cost $8.9 billion USD and killed 229 deaths.2 Excessive heat claimed an average of 138 lives per year in the U.S. from 1990 through 2019, according to NOAA. That’s higher than the average annual death tolls from flooding (88), tornadoes (65), hurricanes or tropical storms (45) and lightning (41) in that 30-year period.

“Business-as-usual” models of reactive planning are simply no longer working. As the world becomes more interconnected, new and adaptable models of governance are required. City governments will need to engender the strength and flexibility essential for their communities to thrive in the face of cascading shocks and stresses. Resilient Cities Network Prospectus 2022 is the direct response to those challenges.

The Prospectus is a call to action. It showcases city resilience projects that have been identified by Chief Resilience Officers as priorities for financing and implementation. Public-Philanthropic-Private partnerships are needed to fight the immediate effects of climate change, such as extreme heat and flooding, and the environmental and social injustices that limit a cities’ ability to survive, adapt and thrive in the face of shocks and stresses. The Prospectus is a blueprint for how to help the most vulnerable people in cities that are often the most impacted.” says Laurian Farrell, Resilient Cities Network Regional Director North America.

The projects range from the Resilient Building Guidance for San Francisco, a study to identify the overlap between vulnerable populations and the vulnerable buildings in which they live to climate related programs such as the Biscayne Bay Resilience Accelerator in Florida.

“The Resilient305 team- the City of Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, and City of Miami exist in a dense urban environment that surrounds Biscayne Bay- an aquatic preserve,” explains Amy Knowles, Chief Resilience Officer in Miami. “Restoring Biscayne Bay is the #1 action of our Resilient305 Strategy. While the problems facing Biscayne Bay are serious and complex, we have a plan for a healthy and resilient bay. As a team we have taken action- from passing fertilizer bans, investing in infrastructure, and prioritizing green infrastructure into our resilience work. Funding a Biscayne Bay Resilience Accelerator would infuse expertise and collaboration and serve as a catalyst to implement the plan recommendations.”

Prospectus 2022 includes five “network wide” projects that take advantage of the fact that City members of the Resilient Cities Network are deeply connected and can identify areas where collective action would allow for the acceleration and scaling of initiatives.

The Resilient Infrastructure Diversity and Equity Scorecard (RIDE) is one of them, an innovative new framework for assessing urban resilience infrastructure projects that are climate ready, equitable and allow for the creation of green jobs.

Also operating across the global network is The Resilient Community Impact Funds (RCIFunds), established by Resilient Cities Network with seed funding from the Z Zurich Foundation and Bank of America, delivering key innovation and gap funding to drive benefits for vulnerable communities and ensure long-term resilience impacts to cities. Resilient Cities Network (R-Cities) is actively raising funds for the RCIFunds, targeting a minimum fund size of $10 million USD, over the next two years. The catalytic funding will be put towards prioritized resilience projects small to medium in scale. It will also leverage funding on the ground from key financing and grant-making stakeholders, as well as from the cities themselves.

“The Resilient Community Impact Funds platform is specifically designed to help get urgent, implementable projects, such as those highlighted in the Prospectus 2022, off the ground. The RCIFunds has an ability to fund projects for generations to come,” Stewart Sarkozy-Banoczy, Global Director, Policy and Investments and RCIFunds project director. “The RCIFunds model is meant to be catalytic in nature, from the global to the local and across sectors and themes, which will allow for many more projects to be funded as the world and city issues and goals change from year to year. Making an investment in the RCIFunds is an investment into a resilient future for all.”

The Resilient Cities Network Prospectus is supported and accompanied by the Resilience 21 Coalition, formed in late 2021 by 50+ dedicated resilience experts from across the US offering guidance and insight from members’ collective experience to federal policymakers. Now with many hundreds of active members, R21 aims to implement a coordinated set of solutions with resilience as both the goal and the mechanism for change. R21 recommendations have already influenced key decisions and changes in the Biden-Harris administration. The R21 Action Agenda will continue to improve lives in the United States and beyond through the identification and sharing of resilience-based policies that translate directly to resilience practice at the local level.

A recent United Nations report stated that by the year 2050, 89% of the US population will live in urban spaces and within those urban spaces shocks and stresses will be unequally distributed across racial and income groups. Without action the most vulnerable populations will disproportionately live in dangerous conditions. A moment of crisis can create opportunities to introduce bold solutions and bounce forward and even help to become better than before. City leaders across the network are stepping up to the challenge

But Cities cannot do this work alone. The Resilient Cities Network, a city led global initiative helps to provide public, private, and philanthropic partnerships, building partnerships to design, invest and scale urban resilience solutions in the face of acute shocks and chronic stresses.

About the Resilient Cities Network

Resilient Cities Network is the world’s leading urban resilience network. It brings together global knowledge, practice, partnerships, and funding to empower its members to build safe and equitable cities for all. Its unique city-led approach ensures cities drive the agenda to benefit the communities they serve. At work in nearly 100 cities worldwide, the Resilient Cities Network supports on-the-ground projects and solutions to build climate resilient, circular and inclusive cities while also facilitating connections and information-sharing between communities and local leaders.

Download the entire report.

For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Thomas Halaczinsky, New York
Media Consultant, Resilient Cities Network
+1 347 985 6885

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