Today the Mayor Bowser Administration released the DC government’s first ever resilience strategy—a report called Resilient DC.
Urban resilience is much more than preparing for climate change. According to the report, “it is the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt and thrive no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.” Inclusive growth, therefore, is part of DC’s resilience strategy, along with embracing smart technologies and making the city safer and healthier.
The Federal City Council has worked closely with the DC government to make this strategy happen. Three years ago, we helped champion the city’s efforts to join the 100 Resilient Cities network, an initiative funded by the Rockefeller Foundation for cities to develop resilience strategies. We enlisted consultants at McKinsey to make sure DC’s application would be top rate. Separately, our COO Kevin Clinton is Chair of the Commission on Climate Change and Resiliency. Kevin and his colleagues on the Commission served as advisors for the Mayor’s resilience strategy.
The report itself is hugely comprehensive and detailed. The panel discussion afterwards emphasized how the report’s authors left few stones unturned. Its approach is multidisciplinary. Practically all DC agencies play a role. The report includes nearly 70 discrete and quantifiable goals for the city and whether they should be hit in the short, medium or long term.
Flood insurance is an immediate priority. There are more than a thousand buildings in flood-prone areas that do not have flood insurance. Other objectives include, for example, producing 12,000 new units of affordable housing in the short term, encouraging underrepresented entrepreneurs to found 500 new tech businesses in the medium term and that all buildings are climate-ready in the long term.