Cities Taking Action: How the 100RC Network is Building Urban Resilience

Developed by the Rockefeller Foundation, 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) is a non-profit dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to climate change and other compounding stressors (e.g. high unemployment, aging infrastructure, social inequality). This report describes seven projects that exemplify urban resilience strategies supported by 100RC, and highlights 33 additional projects across 25 more member cities worldwide which are working on similar resilience challenges.

The report offers case studies of seven cities' resilience strategies, describing the successful implementation and results of climate adaptive measures such as social equity programs and responses to extreme weather events. Each case study is followed by examples of other 100RC cities tackling similar impacts. 

The seven Resilience Strategies and projects as summed up in the report are:

  • Transforming Transportation Systems: Boston is incorporating racial equity goals into its plans for extending its metro transit system.
  • Integrating Informal Communities: Medellín, together with Platform Partner Build Change, is protecting informal communities from landslides while improving social cohesion among residents.
  • Valuing Natural Assets: Melbourne will create a cohesive strategy for managing urban forests across its many jurisdictions, to take full advantage of the multiple benefits offered by healthy natural assets.
  • Securing Water for the Future: Surat will address its twin problems of insufficient water quantity and quality through comprehensive and inclusive planning that combines place-based interventions with programmatic elements and community engagement.
  • Building Resilient Districts: New Orleans is developing new systems for flood protection by systematically considering the challenges and opportunities of an entire district, to build resilience at the neighborhood scale.
  • Rethinking Disaster Recovery: New York is exemplifying the ethos of “build back stronger” in a highly vulnerable community still severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy, by incorporating goals of economic inclusion and quality-of-life improvements into its disaster recovery planning.
  • Innovating Financial Solutions: Mexico City is deploying innovative finance to meet the basic water needs of its vulnerable populations in a manner that will also protect its ecosystems and boost its resilience to climate change.

100RC cities have engaged more than 1,300 local community groups in the resilience planning process, ensuring the resilience agenda includes a social equity perspective. Some of the case studies in this report highlight equity focused resilience solutions, for example:



Several transportation initiatives from Boston’s Resilience Strategy are designed to better connect communities of color to job centers, and make their commutes shorter and more reliable. Boston set a target of reducing average commute times overall by 10%, and those of communities of color by 15%, along with seeking ways to reduce their cost burden.

New Orleans is piloting a neighborhood model in its Gentilly District that recognizes the compounding impacts of flooding and soil subsidence on vulnerable communities. Along with installing more resilient water infrastructure, the project also fosters economic development, empowerment, and social cohesion.  Gentilly was chosen as the location for the pilot project because of its low-lying land, multiple vacant lots, and because half of its residents are low- or moderate-income.


The report provides an overview of the 100RC program and progress to date. 100RC supports cities by providing resources for drafting a resilience strategy; assistance through funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each member city to lead resilience efforts; and a network of 100RC cities that share best practices from around the globe. 

Rockefeller acknowledges a pattern emerging with resiliency measures on a regional, or continental, level: “While all of our cities have created actions around mainstreaming good governance, institutionalizing resilience, improving sustainability, and managing key city services, we also see the influence of regional conditions and unique city characters, with:

- African cities more focused on energy and waste management,

- the Asia-Pacific region honing in on disaster preparedness,

- Latin America more likely to target social cohesion,

- Europe innovating around urban design, and

- North America prioritizing socio-economic equity.”


Publication Date: July 20, 2017

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