Sydney named among Rockefeller's 'Resilient Cities'
3 Dec 2014
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
By: Leesha McKenny
Sydney will soon be on the hunt for its first "chief resilience officer" thanks to one of the world's most prominent philanthropic organisations.
The Rockefeller Foundation has named Sydney one of its "Resilient Cities" – a network of 100 urban centres sharing in an initial US$100 million ($118 million) commitment to counter the "social, economic and physical shocks and stresses" wrought by factors such as rapid urbanisation and climate change.
Admission to the network includes direct funding for the City of Sydney's new, and likely six-figure, role. The only other Australian city already part of the network, Melbourne, pays its CRO an annual salary of about $236,000.
Each person in the role is tasked with leading "the analysis, planning and implementation of the city's resilience strategy" in the face of a city's particular challenges.
In Sydney's case, these have been identified as ageing or failing infrastructure, poor transport, a lack of affordable housing, heatwaves and flooding.
"With its beautiful landmarks, large immigrant population, and bustling economy, Sydney is thriving," the initiative's website said.
"But as the city continues to grow, its ageing and sometimes obsolete utilities infrastructure will become ever more serious."
The foundation's president, Judith Rodin, said it was "imperative" that every kind of city built its urban resilience. About 70 per cent of the world's population is expected to be living in urban areas by 2050.
"Not only will they be better prepared for bad times, but also life is better in the good times, especially for the poor and vulnerable," Dr Rodin said.
"It's smart investment, and yields a resilience dividend that is a win for everyone."
Sydney's lord mayor, Clover Moore, said the city was honoured to join a network that included some of the world's leading cities and an area that was home to 700 million people.
"Leadership involves looking at the long term, and that is exactly what the City of Sydney does," Cr Moore said.
The city was "already work hard" to prepare Sydney for its "fast-changing future," she said.
"We are putting together a climate-change adaptation plan to look at the social, economic and physical impacts of climate change," Cr Moore said.
Paris, Wellington, Singapore and Athens count among the 35 cities also invited to join the network on Wednesday from among almost 350 that applied.
They join 32 cities admitted to the network last year.