Dear Friends,

As we mark one year of impact at Resilient Cities Catalyst (RCC), we reflect on a year of global uncertainty, multiple resilience challenges, and generational struggle. 2020 embodied the call to action those in the resilience movement have sounded for years: that we must proactively prepare for the inevitable cascading shocks and stresses of the 21st Century.

Inequality around the globe and within communities is compounding year after year, and the multi-layered COVID-19 crises have ratcheted up the daily stakes for families everywhere, highlighting the systemic vulnerabilities within our interconnected systems. This work has never been more critical.


Assessment reports post COVID-19 in Minneapolis, MN and Hackensack, NJ

By: Jeb Brugmann — Founding Principal, Resilient Cities Catalyst

In the first lockdown months of the COVID-19 pandemic, I shared a macro-level perspective on the economic resilience challenges that would be highlighted in the United States, and in other countries with chronic and growing geographic income disparities. The assessment focused in particular on conditions in thousands of chronically distressed U.S. low-income neighborhoods, which the ensuing pandemic would further lay bare.

Within that context, in May 2020 I began preparing a framework for assessing economic recovery challenges and resilience-building opportunities at…


The Questions We Should be Asking is a new series by RCC founding principal Andrew Salkin that examines the most pressing issues facing cities today by taking a closer look at how city priorities are reflected in budgets. This first edition looks at return on investment and transparency in police budgets and asks what could be achieved if some of those resources were diverted elsewhere. In part two of the series we’ll look at public transportation, why it loses so much money and whether or not it should be free.

Part I: Police Budgets

Show me the money — What’s your ROI?

Return on…


Embedding Systems Change to Build Back Equitably

By: Corinne LeTourneau — Founding Principal, Resilient Cities Catalyst

The COVID-19 crisis in the US reveals what many already knew; our systems are failing vulnerable populations and people of color. The statistics are staggering. Hospitalization rates were highest among Native American, Black, and Hispanic and LatinX populations. Race and income have largely determined who lives and dies at the hands of COVID-19.

In the country’s largest cities, the virus disproportionately struck nearly all minority groups.


A roadmap to inclusive and sustainable recovery

Photo by Elvert Barnes

By: Andrew Salkin — Founding Principal, Resilient Cities Catalyst

Pushed to violence, locked indoors, too afraid to seek treatment for common ailments, or unable to afford treatment for life-threatening ones — America’s urban residents and communities are reeling from the impact of successive shocks and cascading structural failures. Communities are protesting to protect themselves from systemic racism and police violence. Protesters wear masks to protect themselves from another unseen killer. America is heartbroken and sick. Americans are outraged and dying.

Civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd and the impact of the…


Fortifying City Budgets During COVID-19 and Beyond

Coronavirus will have long-lasting ripple effects across the global economy, including devastating blows to municipal budgets. But, through careful and deliberate use of limited resources, while embracing creativity and leadership, cities may be able to do more with less.

By: Anna Friedman — Associate Director, Resilient Cities Catalyst

As the coronavirus pandemic effects continue to ripple across the global economy, one of the long-term consequences that city residents will feel for years to come is the devastating blow to municipal budgets. With anticipated revenues plummeting amid escalating expenditures related to coronavirus response, a…


The multiple systemic stresses compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic underscore the importance of an oft overlooked piece of critical urban infrastructure — the complex ecosystem of non-profit organizations and government agencies working with cities’ most vulnerable residents.

By: Paul Nelson — Founding Principal, Resilient Cities Catalyst

While we have much to learn about the full breadth and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that the burden of the disease — like with so many disasters — is falling disproportionately on cities’ most vulnerable residents. Seniors, low-wage workers, people of color, public housing residents, and immigrants are all at…


By Sam Carter, Founding Principal — Resilient Cities Catalyst

The COVID-19 crisis is pushing cities to their limits. Human and capital resources are nearing exhaustion, healthcare systems are overwhelmed, financial strain is laying waste to family incomes and stimulus packages alike. Across the country, low income urban residents are disproportionately bearing the weight of these compounding crises as COVID-19 exposes our most stark inequalities. Even before the pandemic hit, cities were under financial stress and grappling with a latticework of challenges related to housing, equity, transportation, and the economy. The immediate response to COVID-19 has been all-consuming, pushing aside many…


By Jeb Brugmann, Founding Principal — Resilient Cities Catalyst

Cities and counties across the United States have begun planning on how to re-start their local economies. Many have never been made more acutely aware of their economic vulnerabilities. This is a critical time for city leaders and business communities to assess their vulnerabilities objectively and squarely. Every single measure to re-start the economy is not only a chance to limit further losses, it is also a chance to build and invest in a more resilient future for local households and employers.

Even cities that suffered severe fallout from the 2008…


By Michael Berkowitz

Last week, a group of former 100 Resilient Cities executives and founders, including myself, launched Resilient Cities Catalyst, a new nonprofit comprised of urban practitioners and resilience experts with deep experience working in cities around the world. Through RCC, we hope to expand the universe of actors focused on urban resilience, rooted in the lessons and expertise from 100RC.

In just a few days, urbanists and planners will turn their attention to Abu Dhabi, site of the 10th World Urban Forum — the next significant opportunity to continue fostering a conversation on urban resilience. …

Resilient Cities Catalyst

Catalytic change to help cities solve their most pressing challenges.

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