- Former executives of the shuttered 100 Resilient Cities initiative announced the launch of a new nonprofit, Resilient Cities Catalyst (RCC), which will work with cities to assess and prepare for short-term and long-term urban risks.
- RCC will be led by founding principal Michael Berkowitz, the former president of 100 Resilient Cities. RCC has initial funding support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Facebook.
- Berkowitz said RCC will have a nonprofit arm to promote resiliency, but will also do fee-for-service consulting with individual cities. For example, the catalyst could be contracted to design resilience strategies or roadmaps for cities, or to help private companies bring new tools to urban partners.
Many local governments and private partners were shocked when The Rockefeller Foundation announced in April 2019 that it was shuttering 100 Resilient Cities and transitioning to separate operations. Berkowitz said in an interview that RCC is not designed to replicate the former group’s work, but to reflect how the field of urban resilience has grown.
"We’ve been lucky enough to see this field grow and expand, with a network of cities,” Berkowitz told Smart Cities Dive. "We’ve seen the power of a chief resilience officer, we’ve seen the power of a strategy and roadmap. What’s really important now is that cities take action and implement their priorities."
Governments have increasingly been appointing resilience officers or crafting resiliency plans, not just to tackle climate change, but to also prepare for smaller shocks like earthquakes or terrorist attacks. Berkowitz said he has especially seen governments working across silos to look at systemic factors beyond infrastructure — including economics and demographics — that could affect a city’s preparedness for an event.
RCC will be "smaller and more tactical" than 100 Resilient Cities, Berkowitz said, while promoting the same goals and bringing more private sector involvement. The group will work to incubate projects on resilience and will host catalyst labs that can generate new urban solutions. RCC has already lined up work with Tampa, FL and expects to make more announcements about city partners soon.