AkzoNobel, The Nature Conservancy, Risk Management Solutions and Veolia have joined the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities initiative (100RC) to provide critical tools to help cities around the world become more resilient to the shocks and stresses that are a growing part of the 21st century. The announcement was made this week at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City.
AkzoNobel is developing an urban resilience guide for cities, with an emphasis on how paints, coatings and chemicals can build both "hard" and "soft" resilience into city systems. For example, color is essential to creating a sense of community and identity, and AkzoNobel will be providing guidance on using color in urban spaces. The guide also includes findings from a research report on the use of coatings for heritage preservation. AkzoNobel will carry out projects in at least four cities in the 100RC Network, and each will explore the contribution of color and coatings to a particular aspect of resilience: from improving public health to protecting urban heritage, from community identity to economic prosperity, from education to social connection, and from reliable mobility to improving infrastructure efficiency.
The Nature Conservancy will provide technical advice on natural infrastructure to cities in the 100RC Network. TNC is 100RC's first environmental Platform Partner, and will provide cities with innovative decision-support tools to help address a wide variety of resilience challenges. TNC will feature all 100 member cities in their Water Risk and Solutions assessment, an effort to map cities' source watersheds, intake and storage capacities, as well as assessing cities' water risks and drivers, such as population growth and climate change. The assessment includes an online platform which will identify conservation-based strategies (i.e. reforestation, natural land protection, forest fuel reduction, etc) to mitigate water risks.
Risk Management Solutions is offering the use of its RMS(one) exposure and risk management platform, in addition to the use of relevant RMS catastrophe models on RMS(one), for a period of five years. RMS will work with 100RC member cities to deliver the services, which will enable cities to better understand, manage, and respond to catastrophic events by creating a system of record for exposure data that can be improved and updated over time. This service allows cities to not only run catastrophe models to gauge expected damages and casualties in the future, but also to run post-event analyses to estimate losses and prioritize emergency response activities. Cities can also create "what-if" scenarios so they can determine the benefits of potential mitigation investments.
Veolia is sharing best practices, and providing guidance and preliminary coaching to member cities on water supply management, sanitation, energy and waste management, and valorization. The company has partnerships with hundreds of diverse cities around the world, and believes that sharing best practices can turn resilience challenges into opportunities for improved and environmentally friendlier social and economic urban development.
These tools will be made available to members of 100RC's Network, and will be used to help design and implement the cities' long term resilience plan. Platform partners are a vital component of 100RC's efforts, both helping provide cities with tools they need to build resilience, and also influencing the market as other resilience tools are developed. Platform partners are from the private sector, public sector, NGO and academic communities.
Speaking of resilient cities, the Vermont city of Burlington recently announced it now acquires all of its energy from renewable sources, including wind, hydro, and biomass, after the recent purchase of the 7.4-megawatt Winooski One hydroelectric project. The city of 42,000 people, through the Burlington Electric Department, will get around one-third of its power from a biomass facility that primarily uses wood chips from logging residue; one-third from wind energy contracts; and one-third from the hydroelectric stations Winooski One and Hydro-Québec.
Several cities around the U.S. are exploring ways to free themselves of fossil fuels by exploring alternative forms of energy. New York City, for example, is in the midst of a pilot program that will convert the thousands of pounds of food waste currently shipped to out-of-state landfills into biogas, which will heat up to 5,200 homes throughout the city and help curb roughly 90,000 metric tons of the state’s annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.