Announcing Resilient Cities Catalyst: an Open Letter from our Founders

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Dear Friends,

Today we are launching Resilient Cities Catalyst (RCC), a new non-profit led by six members of the 100RC executive team and made up of urban practitioners and resilience experts with deep experience working in cities around the world.

When we founded 100 Resilient Cities in 2013, we knew that our efforts to help cities fundamentally remake themselves in the face of climate change, rapid urbanization, and globalization would require a decades-long effort.

Although our urban experience gives us much to be excited about, we also saw many examples of cities and their partners approaching issues in siloed, short-term ways.

This effort couldn’t be more critical today. Through decades of combined experience in urban resilience, we have seen the risks and opportunities inherent in the world’s cities first-hand . By 2050, roughly 70 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas and already nearly 500 million urban residents live in high-risk coastal areas. RCC will partner with cities to ensure that their investments, innovations and partnerships are leveraged in the face of these rapid changes.

At 100RC, we helped define the field of urban resilience and supported cities to develop a better enabling environment for change through the creation of the Chief Resilience Officer position and Offices of Resilience inside government, capacity-building and training, support for urban resilience strategies, and the facilitation of hundreds partner connections.

But we’ve always known that a better enabling environment was just the beginning. More inclusive and integrated programs and policies must be implemented and better infrastructure must be built. In the 136 biggest coastal cities, there are 100 million people and $4.7 trillion in assets exposed to coastal floods. And, this risk profile is increasing, with nearly 90% of urban expansion in developing countries near hazard-prone areas and built through informal and unplanned settlements.

Through RCC we will leverage our funding, networks, and experience to help cities take this next step.

With initial support from The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Facebook, RCC will help cities identify areas of opportunities, address them through innovative design, and implement solutions. We will do this through three core program offerings: .

  1. Resilience Roadmaps to create enabling environments for investment and action through participatory resilience assessment and planning processes.
  2. Project Incubators to design projects that maximize resilience impact, ensuring cities and communities have access to the technical, financial, and project preparation expertise required to move from concept to implementation.
  3. Catalyst Labs to facilitate the next generation of solutions and create new communities of practice in the urban resilience field.

We know this cannot be done in isolation and we are committed to working in partnership with the many talented colleagues and partners in this space. For example our work with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has used the California wildfires as an entry point for a larger conversation about community resilience.

In this partnership spirit, we also are building a board that can help facilitate critical connections. Currently, that board includes:

  • Dr. Judith Rodin: Former President of The Rockefeller Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania, author of The Resilience Dividend, and founder of 100 Resilient Cities.
  • Henk Ovink: Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Principal of Rebuild by Design.

Cities represent our greatest opportunity for impact, while also posing significant risks with exposure to future shocks and stresses. We hope through RCC we can work with many of you to help cities achieve the change they desperately need.

About Resilient Cities Catalyst

Resilient Cities Catalyst (RCC) joins with cities worldwide to help them better leverage the experience, resources, and energies of their leaders, managers, communities, companies, and urbanists to realize their collective visions. Founded by executives from 100 Resilient Cities, RCC’s work is anchored in the knowledge gained in the development of the urban resilience movement. For more info, please visit:

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Catalytic change to help cities solve their most pressing challenges.

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