Media Release
Media Release
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, Assistant to the City Manager, (510) 981-7008

CITY APPOINTS ITS FIRST CHIEF RESILIENCE OFFICER
CRO Will Lead City-Wide Resilience Building Efforts, Helping Berkeley Prepare For, Withstand, And Bounce Back From Chronic Stresses And Acute Shocks

Berkeley, California (Wednesday, July 16, 2014) - The City of Berkeley has appointed Timothy Burroughs as its Chief Resilience Officer, a new position created to lead Berkeley’s efforts to prepare for, withstand and bounce back from catastrophic events and chronic stresses.  The appointment marks a key milestone in the city’s partnership with 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC), an organization dedicated to helping cities build resilience to the physical, social and economic threats that are increasingly part of a 21st century world.  

Burroughs will report directly to the Deputy City Manager and oversee the development and implementation of a resilience strategy for the City. The strategy will bring together agencies and leaders across government and society to increase the community’s ability to thrive in the face of acute shocks, such as earthquakes and wildfires, as well as slower moving stresses such as sea-level rise and drought. The work will build on many of the City of Berkeley’s existing efforts along the resilience spectrum, which include programs to seismically upgrade buildings, increase neighborhood cohesiveness and disaster preparedness, upgrade storm water infrastructure, and plan for the impacts of climate change.

The Chief Resilience Officer position is being fully funded by 100RC, which selected Berkeley to be a member of its first group of network cities.  Those cities were announced last December, and the next group are to be selected this summer.  Oakland and San Francisco have also been chosen, and the three cities’ CROs will be working closely together to align and advance  regional resilience priorities.

The City of Berkeley was selected among a global pool of approximately 400 applicants for its national leadership on related issues, particularly its work on the Berkeley Climate Action Plan and draft 2014 Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, which provides an assessment of the main hazards to the Berkeley community and recommends actions for lessening their impact. Burroughs led the development of the Climate Action Plan, and he has been responsible for developing projects and programs to achieve the plans’ goals. Burroughs also contributed to several other plans, including the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan and the Downtown Area Plan. 

A community’s overall resilience begins in neighborhoods. Berkeley residents and businesses, working alongside the city and other agencies, have made significant progress on efforts like increasing energy efficiency and solar installations, which reduce Berkeley’s dependence on fossil fuels, and preparing for disasters through participation in Community Emergency Response Training. Many residents have also taken advantage of the City’s Seismic Retrofit Refund Program to make their homes safer. Engagement and input from neighborhoods and civic groups will be crucial to Berkeley’s resilience strategy.  

The creation of the Chief Resilience Officer position reflects the next phase in the City’s resilience-building work. Burroughs will lead a 6-9 month effort to develop the resilience strategy for the City. 100RC is also providing funding that will cover approximately half of the salary of an Associate Civil Engineer who will provide expertise on increasing the resilience of Berkeley’s built environment. The City will also receive personnel and technical support from 100 Resilient Cities and the private, public and NGO organizations that are partnering with the program.

"In a rapidly urbanizing world, cities cannot afford to remain crisis-driven and reactive," said Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin. "Cities like Berkeley are at the forefront of fostering a resilience mindset that will be critical to proactively managing the inevitable challenges, shocks and stresses all cities will face."

"Mr. Burroughs joins a network of peers from cities across the globe that will share best practices and surface innovative thinking," said Michael Berkowitz, Managing Director for 100 Resilient Cities at The Rockefeller Foundation.  "Mr. Burroughs will become a global leader in resilience, and will be a vital tool for Berkeley and a rich resource for cities around the world."

Media Inquiries should be directed to:

Matthai Chakko, City of Berkeley, mchakko@cityofberkeley.info 
Maxwell Young, Myoung@100resilientcities.org

 

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