Chief Resilience Officer, City of Atlanta
Atlanta is a city of contrasts. We are home to some of the largest corporations in the world and some of the most progressive philanthropic institutions, yet we rank among the top cities for income disparities. We have world-class colleges and universities, yet our K-12 system needs improvement. We are the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement – the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr. – yet we still struggle with racism and inequality. Only by preparing Atlanta’s individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems for the chronic stresses and acute shocks we experience can we survive, adapt and grow as a city.
Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Kasim Reed, Atlanta was selected last year to be among one hundred cities globally – spanning six continents and 48 countries – for the 100 Resilient Cities program, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. As our city’s Chief Resilience Officer, it’s my role to draft and implement the Resilient Atlanta strategy, which launched on Nov. 2. This strategy reflects a year of tireless effort and collaboration with thousands of Atlantans.
Resilient Atlanta is framed by four visions, 16 measurable targets, and nearly 60 concrete and deliverable actions. It seeks to:
• Preserve and celebrate who we are;
• Enable all Metro Atlantans to prosper;
• Build our future city today; and
• Design our systems to reflect our values.
Our strategy is a holistic roadmap with initiatives that maximize the city’s assets, like strengthening Atlanta’s arts and culture sectors to promote economic development, connecting Metro Atlantans to new careers and skill development opportunities, as well as revamping city policies and systems to encourage civic participation from all residents. Other such comprehensive projects abound, many of which leverage the good work already being done by our partners in the public and private sectors.
In the coming months and years, we’ll be laser-focused on implementation. In fact, several initiatives are already underway, including Atlanta’s first food forest, an affordable housing assessment, developing a 100% Clean Energy Plan (add your voice at 100ATL.com) and improved access to non-auto transportation options, like the Proctor Creek Greenway under construction. We know that our success will not be measured only by how well we plan but also by how well we act to positively impact the lives of all Metro Atlantans.
Resilience starts with all of us. I hope our work as part of the Rockefeller Foundation network will inspire us to work together to create a world-class city of the future. Your input is important and will continue to shape the Strategy and Actions in the years ahead.
Please review and reflect upon our strategy at ResilientAtlanta.com.