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35 Cities Join Global Comeback Effort

Thursday, December 4, 2014

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Candid about their massive challenges but resolved to meet them, cities from Boston to Belgrade to Barcelona and Bengaluru have become the next class in the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities initiative.

The 35 new Resilient Cities were chosen from 331 applications submitted in seven languages from 94 countries worldwide, the foundation announced Tuesday (Dec. 2).

SanJuanPR ThessalonikiGreece
Photos: 100 Resilient Cities

San Juan, Puerto Rico (left), and Thessaloniki, Greece, both vulnerable to earthquakes, are among the new class of 35 in the 100 Resilient Cities initiative, headed by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Each city made its case for tackling challenges—natural disasters, overwhelming poverty, overtaxed transportation systems, crumbling infastructure, violence and more—that stress and destabilize its population and structures.

'Roadmap to Resilience'

Now in its second year, the $100 million initiative seeks to help cities worldwide "become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century."

The new class of 35 selected for 2014 will receive resources from the Rockefeller Foundation to develop a "roadmap to resilience" to rebuild and strengthen their vulnerable areas.

The newly selected Resilient Cities will each receive more than $1 million in:

  • Financial and logistical guidance to establish a position of Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), to lead its resilience efforts;
  • Technical support to develop a holistic resilience strategy that reflects its needs; and
  • Access to a platform of services and partners to help leverage billions in financing and tools in technology, infrastructure, land use, and community and social resilience.

Common Ground

Most important, perhaps, members of the 100 Resilient Cities network will share knowledge and best practices with one another.


Chronic energy shortages and coastal and rainfall flooding plague both Amman, Jordan (left), and Dallas, TX. The two cities were selected for the program out of more than 330 applications in 94 countries.

As organizers note, many stressed cities thousands of miles apart grapple with common challenges that transcend language and culture.

Bristol, England shares the burdens of rapid growth and resource scarcity with Byblos, Lebanon; Rome, Italy; and Dakar, Senegal.

Drought and earthquakes unite Los Angeles; Durban, South Africa; El Paso, TX; Melbourne, Australia; and Da Nang, Vietnam.

Flooding, hurricanes, typhoons and social inequity afflict multiple cities worldwide, from Chennai, India, to Chicago, IL.

St. Louis, MO's crime and violence, heat and aging infrastructure are no stranger to Sydney, Australia; Lisbon, Portugal; Chicago; Dallas; Thessaloniki, Greece; or a host of other cities.

And the Winners Are...

The foundation announced the first 32 cities in 2013. That class included nine U.S. cities: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Orleans, as well as Berkeley and Oakland, CA; Boulder, CO; El Paso, TX; and Norfolk, VA.

StLouisMO LisbonPortugal

Many urban areas worldwide are grappling with aging infrastructure. The new Resilient Cities class includes two of them: St. Louis, MO (left), and Lisbon, Portugal.

The second round of Resilient Cities announced this week includes seven from the U.S.: Boston, Chicago and Dallas, as well as Pittsburgh, PA; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Louis, MO; and Tulsa, OK.

Here is the full list, by region:


Accra (Ghana)
Arusha (Tanzania)
Enugu (Nigeria)
Kigali (Rwanda)

Latin America and the Caribbean

Cali (Colombia)
Juarez (Mexico)
San Juan (United States)
Santa Fe (Argentina)
Santiago de los Caballeros (Dominican Republic)
Santiago, Metropolitan Region (Chile)


Athens (Greece)
Barcelona (Spain)
Belgrade (Serbia)
London (Great Britain)
Lisbon (Portugal)
Milan (Italy)
Paris (France)
Thessaloniki (Greece)

Middle East

Amman (Jordan)

North America

Boston (United States)
Chicago (United States)
Dallas (United States)
Montreal (Canada)
Pittsburgh (United States)
St. Louis (United States)
Tulsa (United States)


Sydney (Australia)
Wellington City (New Zealand)

South, Southeast and East Asia 

Bengaluru (India)
Chennai (India)
Deyang (China)
Huangshi (China)
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
Singapore (Singapore)
Toyama (Japan)


Tagged categories: Building design; Health and safety; Historic Structures; Infrastructure; Rebuilding; Transportation; Urban Planning

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