El Paso selected as one of "100 Resilient Cities" by Rockefeller Foundation
8 Sep 2014
Cities around the world will share best practices for "urban resilience"
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — El Paso was selected as one of the cities in the "100 Resilient Cities" Centennial Challenge launched by the Rockefeller Foundation.
A total of 372 cities applied for the program in May of 2013, and 32 of the cities were selected in December, including El Paso.
Mayor Oscar Leeser and UTEP President Diana Natalicio joined representatives from the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) program for a kickoff reception at UTEP on Thursday evening.
Andrew Salkin, Chief Operating Officer of 100CR said the program will build a network of cities that will work together to share their best practices for "urban resilience."
"Urban resilience is the idea that stresses and shocks are happening to cities all the time, and what cities need to do is begin to be proactive and think through what the impact of these stresses and shocks might be, could be, and how to they prepare so they can not only survive when they do happen, adapt to make their city a little bit better, but in many ways we're looking to help cities grow and thrive when they're faced with stresses and shocks," said Salkin.
According to the program's website, some of those improvements could be in areas like transportation or energy.
Salkin said one of the reasons El Paso was selected was because of the way the city bounced back from the floods in 2006.
"The city was really faced with some challenges and since then they've been working more collaborative together, really building different communications across the different silos within government and across the communities," he said.
Salkin said the program is about enabling and empowering the cities, but clarifies that it is a city initiative. The program will provide money to hire a Chief Resilience Officer who will help implement and oversee a resilience plan.
Other factors that contributed to El Paso being selected is the number of low-income residents. Salkin said poverty is a challenge many other cities in the world are dealing with, and he believes there is a lot to be learned in El Paso that can be shared with other cities.
He added that UTEP's commitment to the community definitely played a role in the decision.
"UTEP brings a strong a strong community partner with a deep sense of commitment to the community, but also a deep bench in the sense of research and resources that the city will be able to leverage and help build in that local capacity to think about resilience in a more holistic way and bring real solutions," he said.
The cities selected will receive technical support and resources to improve their urban resilience over three years.
For more information about the 100 Resilient Cities program, go to http://100resilientcities.rockefellerfoundation.org/.