SLS & the 100 Resilient Cities Movement

by Cory Hopkins | February 2017

 

100 RESILIENT CITIES (100RC)

100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation—is dedicated to helping cities across the globe become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are an unavoidable reality of life in the 21st century.

100RC supports a view of resilience that includes not just the physical disasters—earthquakes, fires, floods, etc.—but also the stresses that weaken the fabric of a city on a day to day or cyclical basis. Things like unemployment, inefficient public transportation systems, violence, and food/ water shortages, can be just as catastrophic. 100RC knows that by addressing both the disasters, whether physical, social, or economic, a city becomes more able to respond to adverse effects.

Want to dig deeper into 100 Resilient Cities? Read about “urban resilience” and enhancing resilient cities by clicking HERE.

 

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH GEORGIA TECH?

The 100RC team and a panel of expert judges reviewed over 1,000 applications from prospective cities, and as luck would have it, Atlanta was selected to participate. (Get the full list of the 100 cities, and their resilience plans HERE.)

Atlanta is a city that celebrates a diverse cultural tradition, high levels of education, and the 3rd largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the US. However, the city’s success has also led to an overtaxed transportation system, introducing new challenges such as poor air quality, social cohesion, and a lack of affordable transportation options.

To deal with these issues (and others), Resilient Atlanta put together an impressive steering committee containing representatives from Coca-Cola, Chick-Fil-A, Mercedes-Benz, UPS, Atlanta Public Schools, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and many others. Also included is cultural anthropologist Dr. Jennifer Hirsch, Director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain (SLS).

Dr. Hirsch had this to say about her experience so far: “It’s an honor to have been chosen by the Mayor to sit on this committee with key leaders from across Atlanta. This demonstrates the impact that Serve-Learn-Sustain is already having in the city and the region. This resilience work is already creating opportunities for GT students—as well as faculty and staff—to apply their knowledge to a key initiative outside of the classroom and to learn from each other as well as the other government, community, nonprofit, and business leaders who are engaged.”

Dr. Hirsch, and the work that she’s done with SLS, parallels a great deal of what 100 Resilient Cities is trying to accomplish. The SLS initiative challenges Georgia Tech students to gain new perspectives about how they can use their degrees to impact social and environmental challenges in the world around them.

“As part of the global Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities initiative, this work will also expose students to people and examples from across the country and around the world, preparing them to think cross-culturally and innovatively. The broad connections are also valuable because Georgia Tech students end up living all around the world; so, who knows, maybe one day they will actually end up being involved with a Resilient Cities initiative in one of these other locations!” - Dr. Jennifer Hirsch, Director, Serve-Learn-Sustain.

 

HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?

SLS just completed a year-long series devoted to the concept of “Environmental Justice.” The themes represented in these events often parallel those of the 100RC challenge. Over the past year the series educated students about sustainability, resilience, and ways to get involved in the local community and beyond. (Interested in learning more about past events? Review the schedule and event descriptions HERE.)

SLS also offers affiliated courses that deal with topics ranging from sustainability, community, economics, equity, natural resources, and more. With over 50 affiliated courses in Spring 2017—and more coming in the fall—there’s plenty to choose from. (Fall 2017 courses are available HERE.)

Need more SLS in your life? You can follow them on twitter @GeorgiaTech_SLS, and sign-up for their newsletter HERE.