Norfolk named as one of inaugural 100 resilient cities

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The Rockefeller Foundation named Norfolk Tuesday to the 100 Resilient Cities Network. Norfolk was one of nearly 400 cities across six continents to apply for the inaugural 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, which the New York-based foundation holds in partnership with the Financial Times.

“Along with 32 other cities across six continents, your city will be able to better prepare for, withstand, and bounce back more effectively in the face of shocks, stresses and other vulnerabilities,” Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin said in a statement.

The designation makes Norfolk part of a global network of urban areas focused on building resilience. A panel of leaders from around the world selected the 33 cities based on how a city planned to approach and build greater resilience; how a city would incorporate a range of constituents (civil society, local businesses, and academia) in its resilience planning; and how the needs of the poor or vulnerable would be addressed.

“As you explained so clearly in your application, building resilience requires partners from every sector … My team and I look forward to working with you, starting with an agenda-shaping workshop in early 2014,” said Michael Berkowitz, managing director for 100 Resilient Cities at The Rockefeller Foundation.

As part of the network, Norfolk will receive support to hire a chief resilience officer, create a resilience strategy, and receive access to tools, technical support, and resources for implementing a comprehensive resilience plan. Initial partners for these services include the World Bank, the American Institute of Architects and Architecture for Humanity.

"Norfolk is honored to join this prestigious, global initiative,” Mayor Paul D. Fraim said in a statement.  “We see the opportunity to extend our innovative sea level rise approach to critical issues of urban resiliency through this cutting-edge program. Norfolk also seeks the opportunity to learn from the global community how to better address the shocks and stresses of the 21st century.”

For nearly a decade, The Rockefeller Foundation has been a leader in the growing field of resilience planning. It funded comprehensive planning work in post-Katrina New Orleans, and most recently, by leading New York Governor Cuomo's post-Sandy Commission.

In May of this year, it launched the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge to help cities around the world. Additional cities will be named to join the network in subsequent years.

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