Peduto has big expectations for Resilient Pittsburgh program
4 Dec 2014
Source: Pittsburgh Business Times
By: Tim Schooley
The administration of Mayor Bill Peduto touted Pittsburgh's inclusion in a new worldwide network of Resilient Cities at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Peduto was joined by Debra Lam, the city's chief innovation and performance officer, and Grant Ervin, the city's sustainability manager, to detail Pittsburgh's successful application to become one of 100 global cities participating in the Resilient Cities program operated by the Rockefeller Foundation.
As one of 35 cities named this year to a program with a budget of $100 million, Pittsburgh will start with a two-year commitment that will bring funding (the amount yet to be determined) and enable the city to hire a new Chief Resilience Officer.
Peduto said to expect Pittsburgh's participation in the program to influence "everything that we do and how we do it."
Pittsburgh's application focused in part on air and water quality, the latter specifically with storm water management.
"We have a seat at the table on a global stage now," said Peduto.
He described a network of cities that includes London, Singapore and Athens, among others in "the vanguard" of public policy as it relates to managing cities through systemic shocks that could include everything from climate-change-induced natural disasters to economic problems.
Lam worked with Rockefeller previously in her career and expects Pittsburgh to generate a major benefit from access to a worldwide network of financial consultants, planners and other experts that can help the city negotiate major future threats, both known and unknown.
"It's not just the funding, it's the expertise," she said. "Rockefeller has been working on resilience with a number of cities over the last few years. Not only will we be able to collaborate more with Rockefeller and tap into their network of experience and expertise, but we'll also be able to join a wider network of cities."
Pittsburgh joins the initiative as it works to upgrade the city's antiquated information systems, which Peduto compared to an eight-track tape of Duran Duran.
The new position will serve under Lam and help with planning and coordinating city departments to better work together. A salary for the new hire is yet to be determined.
Ervin expects such issues come with major business implications, particularly over insurance costs that come with climate change impacts and how they related to infrastructure investment.
"If local governments aren't addressing these issues, then they have a big potential price tag on the other end," he said.