Calgary forges ahead with ‘resilience’ plan despite folding of 100 Resilient Cities program

City staff say they will forge ahead with plans to implement a “resilience strategy” this spring despite the news earlier this month that the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program will end funding and wrap up operations by this summer.

“(Despite) the announcement from 100RC, we continue with the development of our strategy. We’re just kind of ready to cross the finish line here,” deputy city manager Brad Stevens said following the announcement from the Rockefeller Foundation. “We’ll be releasing our strategy in the next couple of months.”

Calgary was first selected in 2016 to join the network of global cities — including New York, Toronto and Mexico City — to tackle problems facing urban centres, including high unemployment, economic diversification and extreme weather events.

Read entire post City forges ahead with ‘resilience’ plan despite folding of 100 Resilient Cities program  |  Meghan Potkins  |  Calgary Herald

Urban resilience: Why should we pay more attention?

Think cities — how they form, prosper, interconnect, and yield exponential gains on all fronts. There are numerous reasons why cities are created — colonial ambitions; sea-connectivity; part of ancient routes of trades, including slavery; centre for learning; economic growth; sites of administrative and cultural centres; and religious importance. Thus, there are reasons galore why cities are formed but very few on why they disappear at the drop of a hat.

However, climatic events can cause catastrophe to cities that can render them grounded in minutes

Change in the structure of national and local economy, poor infrastructure, rising pollution levels and lack of physical safety leads to decline of cities at a glacial pace. However, climatic events can cause catastrophe to cities that can render them grounded in minutes. The floods of Mumbai and Chennai, Nepal Earthquake, Uttarakhand floods are few such instances where our cities, many hundreds of years old, became paralysed and inhospitable. Cities are at real risks.

By one estimate, every year, around 46 million people in cities are at risk from flooding from storm surges in the East Asia region alone. Many coastal cities, particularly in Asia, are staring at the risk of submersion due to rising sea levels. More than 1,000 people died and 45 million people suffered losses in terms of loss of livelihood, homes, and services in 2017 when severe floods hit south-east Asian cities, including Dhaka, Mumbai and Chennai

Read entire post Urban resilience: Why should we pay more attention? | DEVASHISH DHAR | OrfOnline

Addressing challenges before they occur leaves regions resilient for the future

Natural disasters have left a long and tragic trail in the United States this past year. Wildfires, tornados, hailstorms and hurricanes have all taken their toll. These events left thousands of people in the dark, without potable water, constrained by blocked roads, and suffering the loss of homes and, and most tragically, the loss of life.

Posted on 100 Resilience Cities
By Amy Chester

Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Enviornmental Education Center
Taken together, the economic damage is staggering: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association reports that in 2017 the US experienced 15 separate weather disasters that have each caused at least $1billion in damages.

As these regions begin to rebuild, they have a major opportunity to address their challenges through an integrated approach that will build meaningful resilience and ensure they are prepared for whatever the future might next bring. The San Francisco Bay Area, home to 101 cities and nine counties, is embarking on a major program that does exactly that.

This past May saw the launch of the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, made possible by a $4.5M grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, to identify community-focused solutions for strengthening resilience to sea level rise, severe storms, flooding and earthquakes – before they happen.

Building Resilience at the Metropolitan Scale: Key Insights from the Network

Posted on 100 Resilience Cities
By Paul Nelson

In early December 2017, the city of Santiago de Chile hosted partners, Chief Resilience Officers and urban resilience experts from all around our network for our final Network Exchange of 2017: Building Resilience at the Metropolitan Scale.

Our discussions took place against the local backdrop of the passage of legislation outlining the powers of the new regional metropolitan authority in the capital and a presidential election that will ultimately shape the future regional leadership in Santiago – so there was a palpable energy and urgency around the exchange of ideas between Santiago leaders and our member cities and partners.

To paraphrase Intendente Claudio Orrego’s opening remarks, “Building metropolitan resilience is not a theoretical discussion; it’s a practical one grounded in the real management challenges the region faces – whether that’s water supply cuts or power outages that cripple the transit system.

Read entire article Building Resilience at the Metropolitan Scale: Key Insights from the Network | Paul Nelson | 100 Resilient Cities

How to develop a Resilience Strategy

Cities consist of vast networks of individuals, institutions, and systems. The same networks are shaped by centuries-old structures that make deep collaborations and innovation within government agencies and across sectors all too rare.

Posted on 100 Resilient Cities
By Bryna Lipper

In the 21st Century, it is financially and socially imperative for cities to operate differently. The City Resilience Strategy is one of the tools that propels 100 Resilient Cities member cities in this holistic and integrated direction. The City Resilience Strategy is the product of a six-to-nine month process during which a city develops a better understand of the challenges it faces; reviews its ability to address those challenges; and unites people, projects, and priorities, so that cities to collectively act on their resilience challenges.

The document that is produced at the end of this process is not a master plan, but rather an expression of the cities priority’s for building resilience.

Cities around the world, from New York and Medellin to Melbourne and Rotterdam have produced their first-ever resilience strategies. As more and more cities prepare to take this important step, we want to share more about the process of developing a sound resilience strategy, so that other can learn from this work.

One of the core principles in the Strategy Development Process is to avoid reinventing the wheel, building on the existing activities, processes and projects that are already underway.

Read entire article How to Develop a Resilience Strategy | Bryna Lipper | 100 Resilient Cities

Credit rating agency issues warning on climate change to cities

One of the largest credit rating agencies in the country is warning U.S. cities and states to prepare for the effects of climate change or risk being downgraded.

In a new report, Moody’s Investor Services Inc. explains how it assesses the credit risks to a city or state that’s being impacted by climate change — whether that impact be a short-term “climate shock” like a wildfire, hurricane or drought, or a longer-term “incremental climate trend” like rising sea levels or increased temperatures.

Ratings from agencies such Moody’s help determine interest rates on bonds for cities and states. The lower the rating, the greater the risk of default. That means cities or states with a low rating can expect to pay higher interest rates on bonds.

This puts a direct economic incentive [for communities] to take protective measures against climate change,” says Rachel Cleetus, the lead economist and climate policy manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

It can be difficult for a policymaker to justify a big investment when the associated benefits or risks seem a long way down the road. Moody’s announcement may change that.

Read complete article
Credit Rating Agency Issues Warning On Climate Change To Cities | NPR

San Francisco just put the brakes on delivery robots

It’s 2017. And in the Bay Area, robots currently drive cars, conduct home tours, clobber each other in prize fights, and guard area dogs. But machines must step lightly if they try to step onto a San Francisco sidewalk.

The SF Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday, December 5 to severely restrict the machines, which roll on sidewalks and autonomously dodge obstacles like dogs and buskers. Now startups will have to get permits to run their robots under strict guidelines in particular zones, typically industrial areas with low foot traffic. And even then, they may only do so for research purposes, not making actual deliveries. It’s perhaps the harshest crackdown on delivery robots in the United States—again, this in the city that gave the world an app that sends someone to your car to park it for you.
Actually, delivery robots are a bit like that, though far more advanced and less insufferable. Like self-driving cars, they see their world with a range of sensors, including lasers. Order food from a participating restaurant and a worker will load up your order into the robot and send it on its way. At the moment, a human handler will follow with a joystick, should something go awry. But these machines are actually pretty good at finding their way around. Once one gets to your place, you unlock it with a PIN, grab your food, and send the robot on its way.

Because an operator is following the robot at all times, you might consider the robot to be a fancied-up, slightly more autonomous version of a person pushing a shopping cart. “But that’s not the business model that they’re going after,” says San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee, who spearheaded the legislation. “The business model is basically get as many robots out there to do deliveries and somebody in some office will monitor all these robots. So at that point you’re inviting potential collisions with people.

The harshest crackdown on delivery robots in the United States

The ordinance, allows the Department of Public Works to issue permits for the testing of “Autonomous Delivery Devices” with a long list of rules in place, including but not limited to:

Autonomous delivery devices would not be allowed to travel more than three miles per hour.

A human operator would be required to remain within 30 feet of the device during testing.

Permittees would only be allowed to test autonomous delivery devices on sidewalks that (A) are located in zoning districts designated for Production, Design, and Repair (“PDR”) uses, (B) are not identified as a high-injury corridor.

Autonomous delivery devices would be prohibited from transporting waste or hazardous materials (such as flammables or ammunition)

Autonomous delivery devices would be required to emit a warning noise while in operation.

When not in use for Testing, each permittee would be required to dock autonomous delivery devices on private property and not on a city sidewalk or in the public right of way.

Read ordinance

On Tuesday, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of strict regulation that bars autonomous delivery robots from most city sidewalks.

Read complete article
San Francisco just put the brakes on delivery robots | Wired

Urban trees: A smart investment in public health

Would you spend $8 per year to see your community reduce rates of obesity, heart disease, anxiety, and asthma? Still not convinced? What if that investment also reduced energy costs and increased property values?
Urban trees can transform city neighborhoods, contributing to a wide range of public health gains, and investing an additional $8 per person, on average, in planting and maintaining urban trees could have a significant impact. Yet across the United States, cities are losing about 4 million trees per year.

The humble street tree is an ecological powerhouse. Study after study has shown multiple benefits to people and society. Trees and other green spaces in cities can help manage runoff during rainstorms. They can help clean and cool the air, reducing harmful air pollutants and air temperatures on city streets.

They lend beauty to our communities and significantly increase property values. And time spent in natural environments has demonstrated mental health benefits.

> Read entire article Urban Trees: A Smart Investment in Public Health | 100 Resilient Cities

A future sustainable and resilient urbanism according to Blade Runner?

It’s not every day that Harrison Ford features in discussions about urban planning, but for the second time, Han Solo née Indiana Jones née Rick Deckard is at the center of futuristic visions for urban design. Ford plays the main character in Ridley Scott’s 1982 cult classic Blade Runner. The film is based on Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and both the film and novel take a dark, apocalyptic spin on the ideals of urban futurism. Set in a dystopian Los Angeles in 2019, Blade Runner is both a sci-fi inspired action film and a look forward at the potential future of cities.

On the surface, Blade Runner‘s appeal to the science fiction community is not hard to see. Understanding its relevance to the urban planning community, however, takes a more nuanced approach. We’re not the first ones to note Blade Runner’s bold urbanist vision. Urban critics as well as the mainstream media have commented on the role of urban space and the city’s “neon-laced decay” in shaping the mood of the film. Los Angeles, in all its futuristic grit, plays the sidekick to Harrison Ford’s steely protagonist.

The 1982 film Blade Runner sparked an interesting dialogue on urban planning and the future of our cities, which is still relevant today.

The density of Los Angeles, and other oxymorons

The Los Angeles of Blade Runner is notable for its stark contrast with the Los Angeles of today. Set 30 years in the future at the time of release, the city is all but unrecognizable save for iconic landmarks like the Bradbury Building. Blade Runner’s Los Angeles has a dense urban core with towering skyscrapers piled next to one another. It features street-level open air markets and restaurants. Freeways are conspicuously absent and the streets are for pedestrians only.

Granted, cars fly through the sky instead of on the ground and it’s hard to call a city laden with toxic waste and murderous robots walkable, but it’s still a far cry from the sprawling, car-centric Los Angeles we know today.

The city as a machine

Blade Runner offers a profound, and in many ways alarming, vision of the city of the future. Scott, who directed the film in the context of discussions about post-industrial society, used industrialist imagery to convey the city as an enormous machine. The replicants central to the film’s plot, the metal and glass exteriors of the city, and the constant presence of smoke and pollution reaffirm the exaggerated industrial qualities of the film’s Los Angeles.

Furthermore, the only animals in the film are fake, signaling a heightened dichotomy between the built and natural environments.

Read entire article: Urbanism According to Blade Runner | SmartCitiesDive

Mayors on Resilience

Mayors from Cape Town, Santiago de Chile, Rotterdam, Pittsburgh, and Oakland tell us why cities need resilience now more than ever before.

Cities in the 100RC network are provided with the resources necessary to develop a roadmap to resilience along four main pathways:

  1. Financial and logistical guidance for establishing an innovative new position in city government, a Chief Resilience Officer, who will lead the city’s resilience efforts
  2. Expert support for development of a robust Resilience Strategy
  3. Access to solutions, service providers, and partners from the private, public and NGO sectors who can help them develop and implement their Resilience Strategies
  4. Membership of a global network of member cities who can learn from and help each other.

>> See the list of 100 Resilient Cities and find out what you can do to help your municipality!

Find out more about 100 Resilient Cities:


100 Resilient Cities help cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.

Read more


One critical step cities can take to facilitate their resilience building is to hire a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO).

Read more

Resilience Thinking: Rhetoric and Reality

Substantial infrastructure investments are on the horizon. These investments are necessary to accommodate population growth and rapidly changing ecosystems.

Now more than ever, cities and their partners are looking to integrate resilience thinking into these projects to withstand a growing array of shocks and stresses. 100RC teamed up with EY on a survey and report: “Getting Real about Resilience: How Cities Can Build Resilience Thinking into Infrastructure Projects”, to better gauge perceptions and confidence around this approach from the public and private sector.

The report also presents recommendations around innovative ways to incorporate resilience thinking into the financing, metrics, design, and planning of infrastructure projects.

One of the key findings was that applying resilience thinking throughout the lifecycle of a project is a challenge for both the public and private sectors.

When asked to rate how well city governments and the private sector build resilience thinking INTO the various stages of the infrastructure lifecycle (stakeholder management, planning, procurement, financing, and measurement), both city government and private sector actors are relatively confident in the area of stakeholder engagement.

Overall resilience thinking

However, that confidence begins to decline as the project moves towards implementation. While 38% of private sector respondents think that proper stakeholder engagement mechanisms are in place, only 27% of private sector respondents think that resilience is a key value driver in the assessment of private sector bids and 12% think there are sufficient financing options to carry out this work. This decline is likely due, in part, to insufficient regulatory incentives and the difficulty in activating new revenue streams in cities. In addition, both government and private sector respondents are less confident that resilience benefits are captured post-implementation. These survey results highlight the difficulty in building resilience thinking past the planning stage and into the project delivery stage.

Source: 100 Resilient Cities

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What a Chief Resilience Officer does

One critical step cities can take to facilitate their resilience building is to hire a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO). The CRO is an innovative position in city government that ideally […] Read more

What is 100 Resilient Cities?

100 Resilient Cities help cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC supports the […] Read more

What a Chief Resilience Officer does

One critical step cities can take to facilitate their resilience building is to hire a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO).

The CRO is an innovative position in city government that ideally reports directly to the city’s chief executive, and acts as the city’s point person for resilience building, helping to coordinate all of the city’s resilience efforts. But what exactly does that mean? With so many cities’ CROs getting to work, we want to go into a little more detail about what makes a CRO.

CROs are an important part of how we’re trying to solve two major problems cities face:

  • First, cities are complex systems made of an array of smaller, distinct actors like government agencies, local businesses, and offices of international organizations; and they often don’t communicate or interact with one another as much as they should;
  • Second, the solutions cities develop are often not treated as scalable knowledge. Cities regularly solve problems that already have been addressed by other cities, when instead they could be modifying solutions and lessons learned in other cities, tailoring them to be more cost-efficient and effective.

The Chief Resilience Officer is the centerpiece of 100RC’s vision for helping cities deal with both of these challenges, while empowering them to develop improved urban resilience.

Source: 100 Resilient Cities

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