AECOM's Connected Cities blog: 100 Resilient Cities — Is Yours One of Them?

AECOM's Connected Cities blog: 100 Resilient Cities — Is Yours One of Them?

From left: AECOM’s Carlo Castelli on a panel with Dr. Judith Rodin, Rockefeller Foundation, Giovanni Caudo, City of Rome, and Alessandro Coppola, City of Rome’s Chief Resiliency Officer.

Left: AECOM’s T. Luke Young facilitates a group at Quito’s kick-off workshop.

A participant at Rome’s kick-off workshop for the 100 Resilient Cities program.

“Perceptions of Resilience” workshop in San Francisco, California.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014 - 9:05am

CAMPAIGN: Cities for People


AECOM's Connected Cities blog

Claire Bonham-Carter, AECOM's director of sustainable development, design + planning, discusses the first-ever Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) Summit as part of the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities program.

In early November 2014, newly appointed CROs from 26 cities in 20 countries around the world met in New Orleans as part of the first-ever CRO summit, a 100 Resilient Cities program pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. Cities as large as Bangkok, Thailand, and as small as Byblos, Lebanon, were represented. Each city faces a host of resiliency challenges — from earthquakes in Quito, Ecuador, and Christchurch, New Zealand; to violence in Oakland, Calif., and Medellin, Bogota; missile attacks in Ashkelon, Israel, and Ramallah, West Bank; and sea level rise in Norfolk, Va., and Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The 100 Resilient Cities program is funding the salaries of these CROs for two years, so that each city has a dedicated individual to develop and start to implement a resiliency strategy to tackle these problems.

AECOM is a key strategy partner for the 100 Resilient Cities program — working with its leadership team to help develop the process that each of the cities will follow to develop its resiliency strategy as well as working directly with a number of the 32 cities in the first cohort of the program, including Christchurch, Melbourne, San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Rome, Bangkok and Quito.

The program also gives the CROs a clean slate to cut across departmental silos, perhaps find new allies and connect them to others, ask pertinent questions and, above all, identify co-benefits of different strategies to help demonstrate the value of the resiliency lens. CROs need to take advantage of their current “informal” powers to resolve resiliency challenges that transcend borders and boundaries.

The World Bank estimates that US$57 trillion dollars will be invested in infrastructure through 2030, and there is an incredible opportunity to make sure that this infrastructure is conceived, designed and built in a better way that incorporates resiliency and provides long-term return on investment.

Such infrastructure investments should further community as well as physical or environmentally resiliency so that, for example, a new elevated road doesn’t bisect a community or a new drainage project doesn’t move a flooding problem from one place to another.

Finding co-benefits for resiliency strategies is key. For example, any adaptation strategy implemented to protect against a future event or impact should provide some tangible benefit now; for instance, well-designed green infrastructure to deal with stormwater run-off in urban environments can enhance the public realm for pedestrians and raise property values for building owners or developers. Dealing with electricity grid infrastructure reliability may provide crime reduction benefits through consistent street lighting. Any effort to improve community cohesion and communication, whatever the issue, will help a community become better prepared in the face of a shock or stress.

One of the biggest challenges for these cities in solving their resiliency issues is having the data to understand what they should tackle first and how to engage their communities in the process. In recognition of this, 100 Resilient Cities is also facilitating access to a wide array of platform partners — from data manipulator Palentir, to reinsurance giant Swiss Re, social media convenor Ushahidi, and procurement changer CityMart — to give the cities a helping hand and transform the market for all the other cities out there that also have critical resiliency challenges.

See if your city is one of the first 100 Resilient Cities. Why resilient cities? Check out an overview of the rationale behind the program, featuring Michael Nolan of AECOM. See the Bay Area’s 100 Resilient Cities kick-off workshop, which I participated in.

Check out more blog posts on resiliency on AECOM's Connected Cities blog!


With nearly 100,000 employees — including architects, engineers, designers, planners, scientists and management and construction services professionals — serving clients in more than 150 countries around the world following the acquisition of URS, AECOM is a premier, fully integrated infrastructure and support services firm.  AECOM is ranked as the #1 engineering design firm by revenue in Engineering News-Record magazine’s annual industry rankings.  The company is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, oil and gas, water, high-rise buildings and government.  AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  A Fortune 500 company, AECOM companies, including URS Corporation and Hunt Construction Group, had revenue of approximately $19.5 billion during the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2014.  More information on AECOM and its services can be found at


AECOM Technology Corporation
Ed Mayer, +1.732.564.3380
Director, Corporate Communications


CATEGORY: Environment