Resilient Pittsburgh

This week, The City of Pittsburgh joined The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient City Network.  This means that The City will join the elite ranks of a few cities around the world whom are recognizing that the key to bouncing back from catastrophic events such as flooding, and extreme weather is to plan to “bounce forward.”  This means integrating public services, smart planning, investing in social networks, and prioritizing sustainable  infrastructure in all domains.

What is resiliency really about?

Resiliency is the bridge from climate change to community development.  It assumes the climate change is happening and prioritizes investments in people in vulnerable places as a key to recover from either sudden shocks (like floods) or the slow burn of chronic problems (like poor air quality.)

This also means The City will receive financial resources, expert technical assistance, and participate in an international cohort of cities who are creating the modern resilience play book.  Only 66 cities have been selected so far and Pittsburgh joins the ranks as just one of ten North American participants.  Additionally, this will result in the creation of a new position in the Department of Innovation & Performance explicitly dedicated to forging a Resilience Agenda.

I was honored by the opportunity to participate in the Mayor’s Roundtable on Resilience leading up to the Rockefeller proposal.  Here are a few thoughts to help the new Resilience team.

  1. Shocks can change – but the foundation of how we endure shocks remain relatively constant and it starts with relationships.  Investing in social networks *especially in vulnerable communities gives the power to the people to make informed and benevolent decisions amidst times of uncertainty.
  2. The Process is the product.  Planning for resiliency should really directly align the implementation of large & small scale investments.  Climate risk assessments should be a part of every community plan.
  3. Being literate in multiple systems is paramount.  Resilience needs to be prioritized at a community meeting in a church basement as well as the City Emergency Response system as well as the Water & Sewer Authority, as well as the financial sector.
  4. This has got to be about connecting the dots.  Many different systems (transportation, energy, water, air, community, business, etc) should craft a “resilience agenda” as core component of the City’s updated Climate Action Plan.
  5. We should celebrate investments in resilience and incentivize collaborative, multi-sector collaborations.


This is a big step for Pittsburgh, and we at GTECH are tremendously excited to be a part of it.

One thought on “Resilient Pittsburgh

  1. One by one people are stepping up to the plate. For ten short years all this has gone from conversations to worldwide actions we can all benefit from in ways yet to be seen. . .
    Peace in the garden
    Carlye Walsh

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