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Mayor Bowser and 100 Resilient Cities Unveil DC’s First-Ever Urban Resilience Strategy

Monday, April 29, 2019
Resilient DC: A Strategy to Thrive in the Face of Change

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, City Administrator Rashad Young, and Chief Resilience Officer Kevin Bush joined 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) to release the District’s first resilience strategy, Resilient DC: A Strategy to Thrive in the Face of Change. The inaugural strategy provides a roadmap for preparing the city for new challenges and promoting actions related to inclusive growth, climate, smart cities, health, and equity.

“Washington, DC is one of the strongest, most diverse, and most vibrant cities in the United States; for our growth and prosperity to continue, we must make sure that we are prepared for the unexpected and are resilient in the face of change and challenges,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Through Resilient DC, we have the opportunity to work together across disciplines to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow and make DC a model for cities across the nation.”

Resilient DC is the outcome of a robust process lasting nearly two years, and which has resulted in a deeper, cross-sector understanding of some of the District’s most important challenges. In total, more than 100 community leaders and subject matter experts contributed, in addition to the 1,100 residents, from all eight wards, who shared their ideas for building resilience.

“We are thrilled to join our DC colleagues today to unveil Resilient DC, a forward-thinking roadmap that will help all Washingtonians thrive in the face of change,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “This strategy stands out as both comprehensive in its scope and innovative in its approach – tackling longstanding and persistent challenges, such as flooding, crime, and inequality, while simultaneously preparing the District for emerging and future challenges, such as the impacts of technology and growth on DC’s economy and neighborhoods. This thoughtful strategy positions the District as a leader for the nation and for other global cities around the world.”

DC’s Resilience Strategy is organized around three main drivers of change: economic and population growth; climate change; and technological transformation. It also includes a chapter focused on individual resilience, acknowledging that the city can only become more resilient by addressing longstanding challenges related to health and safety. Finally, two cross-sectoral focus areas take on fundamental issues to building resilience: a Resilient Rivers program to rethink the relationship between DC’s waterways and protect the communities that thrive along them, and building more inclusive and responsible government to deliver more equitable outcomes for all residents.

The four goals, 16 objectives, 68 initiatives, and two focus areas of Resilient DC are informed by past efforts, analysis of current conditions, and input from stakeholders across the city. Successful implementation of this strategy will require sustained, executive-level focus to coordinate partners and secure resources, as well as continued collaboration among government agencies, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and residents. Each initiative and focus area outlines successive actions, involving multiple actors, to address a specific resilience challenge. The development of the District’s Resilience Strategy was led by Chief Resilience Officer Kevin Bush and housed in the Office of the City Administrator within the Executive Office of Mayor Bowser. The next phase, project implementation, will also be guided by the chief resilience officer.

Financial and technical assistance for Resilient DC were made possible through a partnership between the District of Columbia and 100 Resilient Cities. Washington, DC has been a member of the global 100RC network since May 2016.