August 29, 2018 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner and Michael Berkowitz, president of 100 Resilient Cities - Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, today announced that Houston is joining the 100RC Network, a $164 million global effort to build urban resilience around the world. Through the partnership with 100RC, Houston will create and implement a comprehensive Resilience Strategy to enhance the city’s long-term vision to build resilience to the shocks—such as hurricanes and flooding — and stresses that can weaken the fabric of a city on a day-to-day or cyclical basis, such as affordable housing and mobility.
Houston’s membership in the 100RC Network is being sponsored through $1.8 million in funding by Shell Oil Company (Shell), which has a long history of applying technical and strategic solutions to some of the most complex projects and challenging environments in the world.
“We are pleased to welcome the City of Houston and Mayor Sylvester Turner to our global network,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “With the experience of Hurricane Harvey still fresh on the minds of many in and around Houston, we see ample opportunity to work with the city in creating a long-term vision to address risks, build new opportunities, and ultimately build a more resilient Houston by leveraging the experiences of the 100RC Network and by fostering an inclusive, comprehensive resilience planning process.”
“I’m excited about this very special partnership among the city, 100 Resilient Cities and Shell because of what it can mean for Houstonians now and in the decades to come,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “The generosity of 100RC and Shell means Houston will become part of a network that is building stronger cities that will be more ready to deal with one-time obstacles, long-term challenges and a next Hurricane Harvey.”
100RC selects cities based on each city’s demonstrated commitment to building resilience in the face of the complex, multiform challenges of the 21st century – along with strong mayoral leadership and commitment to executing the program. 100RC’s program empowers cities to design, implement, and manage proactive solutions to the challenges posed by urbanization, globalization, and climate change. Houston is the first city to enter the global network since the final 100 Resilient Cities Challenge in 2016, and is the first to enter through the sponsorship of a third party.
As part of its membership in the 100RC Network, Houston will receive grant funding to hire a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) to work directly with leaders and stakeholders across the city in developing a comprehensive Resilience Strategy for Houston. Mayor Turner will soon appoint a CRO to oversee a new Office of Resilience, and current Current CRO and Flood Czar Stephen Costello will continue to serve as the city’s “flood czar.” Costello has laid an important cornerstone for the region’s flood resilience, and the city will continue to depend heavily on his vital expertise on that critical topic.
Shell Oil Company President and US Country Chair Bruce Culpepper said, “A year after Hurricane Harvey, Houstonians can clearly say we didn’t let the storm get the best of us. Nevertheless, there’s still work to be done across a wide range of challenges that we share as a community. Shell is proud to call Houston home and be the sponsor of the City’s membership to the 100 Resilient Cities Network. We look forward to seeing the long-term vision and plans for an even more resilient city realized.”
The Resilience Strategy, designed with extensive support from 100RC, helps cities plan for the challenges posed by globalization, urbanization, and climate change by creating a portfolio of actionable initiatives, with a focus on those that foster multiple benefits. To date, 47 cities in the 100RC Network have released Resilience Strategies, which contain more than 2,300 concrete actions and initiatives. In Houston, New Orleans-based non-profit The Water Institute of The Gulf will provide significant technical assistance and guidance in the creation of the city’s Resilience Strategy.
"Our entire team is honored to work with the City of Houston on advancing their resilience goals to meet the challenges of this growing, dynamic, diverse city,” said Jeff Hebert, Vice President for Adaptation and Resilience at The Water Institute. Hebert will be the lead outside expert provided to the City of Houston through the 100RC partnership. In his previous role as CRO of New Orleans, Hebert was the chief architect of the award-winning Resilient New Orleans Strategy, released in 2015 through the city’s partnership with 100RC.
To support the implementation and execution of initiatives in their Resilience Strategy, the City of Houston will also now have access to the 100RC Platform of Partners, a group of 120 non-profit, for-profit, academic, and government institutions who have pledged more than $200 million in services -- at no direct cost to member cities -- in the form of critical tools, services, and technical assistance. Houston will also now have access to the global peer-to-peer network of 100RC, providing the city with the opportunity to build and foster new cross-city partnerships, while importing and exporting solutions to address problems in Houston and elsewhere.
About 100 Resilient Cities
100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic, and physical challenges which are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides assistance through funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each of the cities members, who will lead resilience efforts; resources for drafting a Resilience Strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. For more information, visit: www.100ResilientCities.org.