Tulsa named Resilient City, gains funding for new position
3 Dec 2014
Source: Tulsa World
By: JARREL WADE
Tulsa was selected Tuesday alongside major world cities including Paris, Barcelona and Athens to be among a network of 100 Resilient Cities.
The 100 Resilient Cities program, created by the Rockefeller Foundation, chooses cities from around the globe to receive money for establishing a new position in city government.
That position at City Hall will work on a plan to help Tulsa bounce back from various disasters.
Michelle Allen, a city spokeswoman, said Tulsa was selected because of its regional location and disaster response plans already in place.
“But this is for the second plan,” she said. “A tornado or a flood comes through and after we respond, what happens after that?”
Allen said whether the disaster is natural or something like a human-caused financial collapse, the chief resiliency officer would be charged with having a plan or protocol in place for how the city would deal with the aftermath.
“This is basically a good economic development tool that helps us recover further down the line,” Allen said.
Brett Fidler, Tulsa’s director of energy and enterprise development, said the city applied for the program last year and was helped this time around when the application changed in how certain disasters are defined.
“One of the things that made us more competitive was they included typhoons, and we were told that tornadoes fell under that,” he said.
Fidler said the exact amount of funding provided through the program hasn’t been decided because it fluctuates from city to city. However, he said the funding covers the new position for two years and at least part of the disaster-recovery plan’s development.
According to a news release, 32 cities were selected in 2013, 35 more cities were announced Tuesday and 33 final cities will join the 100 Resilient Cities in 2015.
“Members of the 100 Resilient Cities network are leading the world in showing that not only is it possible to build urban resilience in every kind of city, but it’s an imperative,” said Judith Rodin, president of the New York-based Rockefeller Foundation.
“Cities are learning that by building resilience, not only will they be better prepared for the bad times, but also life is better in the good times, especially for the poor and vulnerable.”
Tulsa was selected from about 350 applications from 90 countries on six continents, according to the news release.
Michael Berkowitz, president of 100 Resilient Cities, said each city has unique issues that are solved and shared by connecting with the network of other cities.
“By connecting cities with each other and to resilience-building experts, we are aiming to create a global practice of scalable resilience solutions, so that cities can respond to the challenges … more effectively and efficiently.”