Norfolk survived the American Revolution, the Civil War, and a century of flooding. As a major military hub, it needs to ensure it remains resilient amidst rising sea levels. And in 2013, it was named to the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Network.
The New York-based foundation launched the 100 Resilient Cities program to address the increasing shocks and stresses that cities face in the 21st century. Selected from 400 applications submitted from around the world, Norfolk was one of 33 inaugural cities named to the network in December 2013.
100 Resilient Cities — Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) — is dedicated to helping 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 adoption and incorporation of a view of resilience that includes not just the shocks — earthquakes, fires, floods, etc. — but also the stresses that weaken the fabric of a city on a day to day or cyclical basis. Examples of these stresses include high unemployment; an overtaxed or inefficient public transportation system; endemic violence; or chronic food and water shortages. By addressing both the shocks and the stresses, a city becomes more able to respond to adverse events, and is overall better able to deliver basic functions in both good times and bad, to all populations.
Cities in the 100RC network are provided with the resources necessary to develop a roadmap to resilience along four main pathways:
- 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;
- Expert support for development of a robust resilience strategy;
- Access to solutions, service providers, and partners from the private, public and NGO sectors who can help them develop and implement their resilience strategies; and
- Membership of a global network of member cities who can learn from and help each other.
Through these actions, 100RC aims not only to help individual cities become more resilient, but will facilitate the building of a global practice of resilience among governments, NGOs, the private sector, and individual citizens.