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Resilience Implementation


100 Resilient Cities (100RC) is a global network pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation to help cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges of the 21st century. Boulder joined the network as part of the initiative’s first wave in 2013 and through its participation is committed to demonstrating leadership in resilience as well as leveraging the resources and opportunities it presents.

The objective of Boulder’s Resilience Strategy is to provide a roadmap for building resilience in the city organization and community through strategic and targeted changes in how the city conducts business and makes decision. The strategy identifies core areas where the city’s work has already helped advance resilience principles and established a strong foundation for future action; identifies specific actions for further embedding resilience principles and concepts into city operations; and defines an approach for developing an ethos of preparedness and vigilance in the community.

Resilient Boulder supports the adoption and incorporation of a view of resilience that includes not just the shocks – floods, wildfires, violence, and other acute events – but also the stresses that weaken the fabric of a city on a day to day or cyclical basis, such as economic hardship or social inequality. By addressing both the shocks and the stresses in a holistic manner, a city becomes better able to respond to adverse events, and is better able to deliver basic functions in both good times and bad, to all populations.

Status and Potential Next Steps

Since the release of the draft strategy on April 28, 2016, staff have continued to work with community, regional, and national partners to develop detailed plans for actions proposed in the document. Because the actions that are presented in the strategy were selected and prioritized for their alignment with existing city efforts and ability to immediately add value to ongoing endeavors, many of them have proceeded into an implementation phase.

Two types of initiatives are outlined in the City Resilience Strategy: Frontiers and Actions. Frontiers are transformative investments in community resilience that currently have no models to emulate, represent extremely complex areas for action and/or require an extensive community conversation to be successful. Actions are priority activities to be implemented over the next two to three years that take advantage of partnerships and resources catalyzed by the 100RC network and program. There are 3 Frontiers and 15 individual Actions proposed the strategy.

Actions and Frontiers Summary

Connect and Prepare

Prepare all segments of the community for uncertainty and disruption by encouraging community preparedness, creating a culture of risk awareness, and personalizing resilience.

  • 1.1— Make Resilience Accessible: Deploy a community driven, interactive “Mobile Resilience Lab.”
  • 1.2— Activate Volunteerism: Develop a volunteer community preparedness training program.
  • 1.3— Assess Economic Strength: Identify risks to future economic vitality. 
  • 1.4— Prepare Businesses: Incentivize the use of continuity planning strategies with local businesses.
  • 1.5— Connect for Rapid Recovery: Develop rapid post-disaster impact assessment capacity in partnership with the local business community.
  • 1.6— Foster Artistic Engagement: Engage the creative power of the arts to convey and involve people in complex risk and resilience themes.
  • Frontier 1— Invest in the Future: Prioritize city investments to promote community resilience and proactively address future risks.

Partner and Innovate

Capitalize on the collective problem-solving and creativity of our community by leveraging advances in data, research, and observations to address emerging resilience challenges.

  • 2.1— Put Science in the Hands of the Community: Create a “citizen science” program to foster the co-creation of knowledge.
  • 2.2— Ensure Food Security: Design and conduct a local food security assessment. 
  • 2.3— Make Data Accessible to All: Spur creative representation of data through investments in artistic visualization and knowledge display.
  • 2.4— Crowd Source Solutions: Drive the creative use of community data through competitive challenges and hackathons.
  • Frontier 2— Envision the Future of Energy: Develop a sustainable, secure, and equitable energy system.

Transform and Integrate

Embed resilience into city operations and systems by transforming our approach to community resilience.

  • 3.1— Create Community Resilience Centers: Ensure the continuity of all critical life-safety services at a network of community resilience centers.
  • 3.2— Foster Climate Readiness: Build climate preparedness capacity across the city organization.
  • 3.3— Advance Sustainability with Resilience: Integrate resilience principles into Boulder’s Sustainability Framework.
  • 3.4— Embed Resilience in the Comprehensive Plan: Integrate resilience into the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP).
  • 3.5— Manage Thriving Ecosystems: Develop an integrated ecosystem management plan.
  • Frontier 3— Create Adaptive Social Services: Reduce homelessness by designing an adaptive and predictive social service network.

Projects and initiatives are grouped into three major categories: 1) those that are prioritized for immediate activity in 2016-2017; 2) those whose development will initiate in early 2017, and 3) those that further resilience building through institutional process development (ie. metrics and measures) or take advantage of emergent opportunities. Activities in the first two categories are explicit actions and frontiers proposed in the Boulder Resilience Strategy. Actions are prioritized based on the maturity of the associated initiatives across the community, existing project momentum, external partner alignment, and staffing and resources.

Resilient Boulder anticipates providing a full program update to Council in April or May 2017, timed to coincide with the 1-year anniversary of the strategy release. Additional programmatic updates will occur throughout the year as appropriate with work plan milestones and at the request of Council.

Council Action

  • Second Quarter 2017 – City Council Study Session full program update 


Chelsea Maciel, Administrative Support, [email protected], 303-441-3090.

Kate Busse, City Management Fellow, [email protected]

Tanya Ange, Deputy City Manager, [email protected]

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