Houston’s resilience journey

Houston is a diverse, thriving metropolis in Southeastern Texas, driven by the large presence of the energy industry, renowned research institutions, and strong neighborhoods.

Situated on the Gulf Coast, the city has worked to prepare for the extreme weather events and severe storms to which it is vulnerable. Houston’s response to Hurricane Harvey in 2017 validated the city’s readiness to predict meteorological threats, communicate with citizens, and make rapid and informed crisis decisions.

But Houston remains vulnerable to less familiar shocks and stresses, which, left unaddressed, will the city’s Houston’s efforts to thrive in a rapidly changing global economy.

By taking steps to address chronic stresses, such as traffic congestion, homelessness, and economic disparity, Houston will be equipped with the strong foundation needed to be prepared and responsive. Houston is now investing financial, intellectual, and political capital not only in “building back” but also in “building forward” – strengthening long-term resilience by redesigning infrastructure, overhauling building codes, accelerating an affordable housing strategy, leveraging innovative partnerships, and coordinating regional policies.

Houston’s participation in 100RC was supported by Shell.

Meet the Chief Resilience Officer

Marissa Aho

Chief Resilience Officer

Marissa Aho, AICP, has served as Houston’s Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) for Mayor Sylvester Turner since February 2019. In this role she leads the resilience-building efforts for the City of Houston, including the development and implementation of Living with Water Houston (January 2020) and the Resilient Houston Strategy (February 2020).

Resilient Houston has five chapters, 18 goals and targets, and 62 actions that address challenges including flooding, climate change, inequity, housing affordability, and improved mobility. Resilient Houston added a COVID-19 addendum in May 2020.

Marissa previously served as Los Angeles’s first CRO for Mayor Eric Garcetti beginning in 2015, where she led citywide resilience efforts, including those of the Resilience by Design report (December 2014) and the Resilient Los Angeles Strategy (March 2018).

Marissa holds a BA in Political Science (CLEG) from the American University and a master’s degree in Planning from the University of Southern California.

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