December 3, 2014

Mayor Emanuel Announces Chicago Selected As Winning City In 100 Resilient Cities Challenge

City to receive grant money for enhanced tools, funding and technical expertise to build resilience to the challenges of the 21st century
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the City of Chicago was selected by the Rockefeller Foundation as one of 35 global cities to join the 100 Resilient Cities Network. The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Network (100RC) includes a leading community of pioneers, innovators, and highly esteemed cities ready to build urban resilience across the globe by improving their own capacities to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back rapidly from shocks and stresses. Chicago was selected for its emergency preparedness, continuing 21st century infrastructure improvements, economic diversity, and urgency to identify, prepare for and combat threats that are most likely to challenge its resiliency. As a part of the award, the City will be granted funding for no less than two years to hire its first Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), as well as expanded resources to strategize and execute long-term goals with a holistic focus on resilience at the neighborhood level.

“Chicago’s neighborhoods and residents are the heart of our City and it is crucial we remain global leaders in how we strengthen and prepare our communities for any challenges that may arise,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The new position of Chief Resilience Officer will be a welcome addition to the City, and I look forward to ensuring Chicago continues to grow its emergency response and public safety efforts. I would like to thank the Rockefeller Foundation for selecting Chicago for this award.”

Once selected, the CRO will work from the Mayor's Office and coordinate policy throughout the government to ensure every Chicago community can respond to shocks like flooding or blizzards and recover at a stronger and more rapid rate. This work will incorporate emergency preparedness, public safety and other community-focused support departments and agencies across the City in addition to outside partners like the Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD) of Northeast Illinois to better prepare for unexpected weather and/or environmental events.

The CRO’s role will include launching a six to nine month resilience strategy creation process. As part of the strategy, the City will work with a broad set of stakeholders, and with an expert technical assistance provider supplied by 100RC, will examine the challenges it faces and its capacity to address those challenges. The city will then develop a list of priorities and initiatives that will address existing gaps.

“By identifying our City’s greatest challenges, we are preparing Chicago and its residents for the future right now,” said Karen Weigert, Chicago’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “The CRO will work to identify potential improvements and focus available resources throughout the City, so that as a whole we are able to survive, adapt to, and grow from the chronic stresses and acute shocks that may occur.”

The City applied to join the 100RC in September of 2014. As part of the application, the City ranked the top shocks and stresses that are most likely to disrupt and potentially endanger the lives of Chicagoans – shocks such as extreme weather and infrastructure failures and stresses including economic disparity amongst communities, aging infrastructure and crime. The City identified its last significant shock as flooding in April, 2013 and determined the shock it was best prepared to address was a blizzard.

A total of 330 cities in 94 countries applied to be a part of 100RC. A full list of the newest Network Members is below:

Accra (Ghana) Deyang (China) San Juan (USA)
Amman (Jordan) Enugu (Nigeria) Santa Fe (Argentina)
Arusha (Tanzania) Huangshi (China) Santiago de los Caballeros
Athens (Greece) Juárez (Mexico) (Dominican Republic)
Barcelona (Spain) Kigali (Rwanda) Santiago (Chile)
Belgrade (Serbia) Lisbon (Portugal) Singapore (Singapore)
Bengaluru (India) London (United Kingdom) St. Louis (USA)
Boston (USA) Milan (Italy) Sydney (Australia)
Cali (Colombia) Montreal (Canada) Thessaloniki (Greece)
Chennai (India) Paris (France) Toyama (Japan)
Chicago (USA) Phnom Penh (Cambodia) Tulsa (USA)
Dallas (USA) Pittsburgh (USA) Wellington (New Zealand)

###

100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation—is financially supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and managed as a sponsored project by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides governance and operational infrastructure to its sponsored projects. Learn more about 100RC at www.100resilientcities.org, RPA at www.rockpa.org, and The Rockefeller Foundation at www.rockefellerfoundation.org.