“Cities tend to operate in silos,” says Judith Rodin, Rockefeller’s president. “And resilience is very much about building a systems approach. The idea is having a single post that really is integrating across systems--both within city government, but also between city government and other elements of the fabric of the community.”
The new CROs will think about how to prepare for natural disasters, but will also consider aspects of social and economic resilience. Rodin shares the example of New York after the recession; when Mayor Bloomberg realized the city was too reliant on the financial sector, he started working to bring in more tech companies. On the opposite coast, San Francisco is thinking about how to add more non-tech jobs so the city can try to stay strong if technology companies start to falter.
After running a global challenge last year, the Rockefeller Foundation narrowed down a list of 400 applicants to 100 winning cities across seven continents, and will start the program with a smaller group of 33. Some, like Ramallah, or Byblos, Lebanon, were very much at the beginning of their resilience planning, says Rodin. Others, like San Francisco and Rotterdam, have spent more time planning for disasters, and are well positioned to help create and test new technology that they can later share with other cities in the program.