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Accelerating resiliency planning in communities across the Commonwealth

Find out How Cities Drive Economics and Resilience Solutions

by Ellen Szymanski

Cities around the world are hubs of economic activity and are attracting millions of global citizens each year.  Cities produce 70% of economic activity today and by 2050, we expect 70% of global residents to be urban dwellers.  Building resilience in these population centers across the globe will be critical to secure a prosperous future.  

The Resilient Cities Network (R-Cities) works with visionary urban leaders who are committed to building resilient futures from five geographical regions: North America, Africa, Asia Pacific, Rurope and the Middle East, and Latin America and the Caribbean. In the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast US, these cities include Norfolk, VA and Washington, DC, as well as Atlanta, GA and the Greater Miami area.

R-Cities works with Chief Resilience Officers, researchers and partners that share a common goal to bring about a safe, resilient and economically vibrant future.  Especially now, R- Cities Chairman and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner sees an incredible opportunity to embed resilience into pandemic recovery efforts worldwide. 

I would argue today there is nothing more urgent in our world today… to advance, in cities around the world, resilient climate ready infrastructure that is equitable and produces green jobs.

Resilient Cities Network Chairman and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner Tweet

The origin of this effort was the highly successful program in 2013 – the 100 Resilient Cities program -funded by the Rockefeller Foundation which created positions for Chief Resilience Officers (CROs) in localities across the United States and in countries around the world.  The logical next step with the continued support of the foundation was to create a worldwide network of these CROs and partners to advance real solutions.  As Chairman Turner aptly puts it “…we are boots on the ground, boats in the water…”.  While nation states and multilateral organizations tackle these issues on a larger scale, local communities are taking action and piloting new solutions.

R-Cities is managing a wide range of programs with its partner organizations using a three-part “holistic resilience approach”: pursuing a resilient pandemic recovery, building a climate resilient future, and promoting circular economies.  Especially relevant to this year’s Resilient Virginia Conference is their Cities for a Resilient Recovery initiative. This coalition of cities and resilience practitioners – which is also open to cities outside the Network – aims to support local efforts to embed resilience in recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic through knowledge sharing and facilitating collective and individual actions.

Photo by STEPHEN POORE on Unsplash

Urban Perspectives on Resiliency Solutions Highlighted at 2021 Resilient Virginia Conference

We are delighted to welcome R-Cities Laurian Farrell, Regional Director North America to the 2021 Resilient Virginia Conference,  to share her vision and her experience on the approaches that urban areas must take to address climate impact, economic well-being, and the needs of vulnerable populations in the transition to resiliency.

Laurian combines her 20-year experience as a Water  Resources Engineer with a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture, along with her tenure at 100RC as an Associate Director of Global Resilience Practice, and her direct experience in Canadian cities with flood management and emergency preparedness, to bring both local and international perspectives.

Also at the conference will be speakers from a number of urban areas – including the Virginia cities, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Richmond, and Roanoke, as well as guest speakers from regional cities, Providence, Rhode Island and Cincinnati, Ohio – to talk about their community’s response to climate change, their roadmaps to resiliency, how they have overcome barriers and found success in creating strategies for equitable pathways that protect community members and businesses in the face of climate, health, and other challenges.

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Today we will be joined by Caetano de Campos Lopes from The Community Climate Collaborative at the final session of our Spring Resiliency Academy. Caetano will provide information about the C3 Virginia Transit Tool, that supports community-led initiatives to advocate for better transit planning and will illustrate this approach as it is being carried out in the Charlottesville, Va area. Learn more and register: https://resilientvirginia.org/resources/events/resiliency-academy
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Angela Conroy from Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will be joining us tomorrow (June 9th) at the 4th (and final!) session of our Spring Resiliency Academy. Angela will update the audience on how the $93 million in funds from the Volkswagen Settlement Agreement has been allocated through the Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund for EV charging network projects, electric buses for schools, the port electrification project, and the Clean Air Communities Program, and what funding is still available for grants to localities. Learn more and register at https://resilientvirginia.org/resources/events/resiliency-academy.
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Join us June 9th for our final Spring Resiliency Academy. This Thursday, Susan Howard from American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) will discuss transportation programs and funding created through this Federal legislation. Learn more and register at https://resilientvirginia.org/resources/events/resiliency-academy.
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Calendar

Due to COVID-19, please check listings for cancellations.
  • A Framework for Evaluating GHG Emissions Information for Decision Making
    Date: June 28, 2022
    Location:

    This interactive workshop will include discussions about needs, challenges, and opportunities related to meeting the needs of stakeholders; developing independent, transparent, and comparable greenhouse gas information; understanding and addressing biases in data, models, and…

  • Southeast Climate Monthly Webinar
    Date: June 28, 2022
    Location:

    2022 Hurricane Outlook, Matthew Rosencrans, NOAA Climate Prediction Center

    Register here.

  • Federal Energy Funding 101
    Date: June 28, 2022
    Location:

    Join Clean Energy Business Network on an interactive virtual platform to learn about federal programs to support energy entrepreneurs and communities.

    Learn more and register More details...

  • RNPN Ideation Hour: Extreme Heat Resilience
    Date: June 29, 2022
    Location:

    Join The Resilient Nation Partnership Network (RNPN), the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and the City of Phoenix for a discussion about the impacts of extreme heat across the country. We encourage you…

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Resilient Virginia News: April 2022

Resilient Virginia News – April 2022: Partnering with Universities for Greater Resilience; Curtis Brown Joins Resilient Virginia’s Board of Directors; Charlottesville’s Climate Action Plan; Richmond’s Climate Equity Plan; UVA ERI Climate Restoration Initiative; Solar Fund for Appalachia Awards First Grant; Global Assessment Risk on Disaster Risk Reduction; IPCC Finalizes Third Part of the Sixth Assessment Report; TetraTech Wins Six Climate Change and Environmental Industry Awards; Environmental Racism: A Tool for Exploring the Enduring Legacy of Redlining on Urban Environments; Virginia Coastal Resilience Web Explorer; Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Funding in Virginia 2022; more.

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