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Resilient Cities Catalyst Launches COVID-19 Resource Series with National Roadmap for Economic Resilience

Resources provide expert thinking as cities and communities pivot from recovery to resilience in the wake of COVID-19’s economic, health, and infrastructure impacts.

Published 04-22-20

Submitted by Resilient Cities Catalyst

RCC COVID-19 Response Series: Economic Resilience White Paper

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Resilient Cities Catalyst (RCC) is launching a new series of open-access resources to foster innovative ideas and support cities and communities in applying resilience thinking as they transition from response to recovery in the months ahead. 

The first resource available is: Recovery from COVID-19: It’s time to build a U.S. national infrastructure for economic resilience. With more than 100 million Americans living in economically distressed zip codes, the white paper addresses four fundamental weaknesses and opportunities for cities and communities: 

  • Establish stable mechanisms to support household income and stabilize household wealth: With 27% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product generated from households earning less than $70,000, a more thoughtful approach -- integrating local, state, and federal mechanisms -- is needed to stabilize household wealth no matter what crisis is next. 

  • Establish stable mechanisms for reducing, mitigating, and transferring risk in the local small business ecosystem: In recent decades, almost two-thirds of new private sector jobs in the U.S. were created by small businesses -- yet, as COVID-19 is illustrating in real-time, many are chronically vulnerable to business disruption and crisis.

  • Increase incentives and reinforce innovations for (re)building “complete communities”: Inclusive, fully served neighborhoods, towns and villages, with strong social bonds; local business communities and service providers; and organizational partnerships are best prepared to survive, adapt, and thrive, in both normal times and particularly during crisis periods.

  • Integrate resilience assessment and measures into local economic development planning: Local economic hubs are the critical driver of building national economic resilience, and need the greatest attention so that the country has the necessary ground-level capacity of service, inventory, employment and income, and stability in times of crisis ahead.

Resilient Cities Catalyst was founded by former executives of 100 Resilient Cities, and is a nonprofit organization comprised of urban practitioners and resilience experts with deep experience working in cities around the world. Working with cities and counties to help navigate restarting their communities and local economies, RCC recognizes the importance of ensuring all communities, but especially those most vulnerable, are well-positioned to recover and thrive in a post-pandemic world. 

Through its COVID-19 resources, RCC hopes to share insights and lessons learned from its experience working with cities on the frontlines of recovery, while instilling a resilience mindset to uplift communities in the long and challenging rebuild journey ahead. 

“This is a critical time for city leaders, business communities and local stakeholders to assess their vulnerabilities objectively and squarely.  Every single start-up measure is not only a chance to limit further losses. It is also a chance to build and invest in a more resilient future for local households and employers,” said Jeb Brugmann, Founding Principal at RCC, author of RCC’s first release in the COVID-19 response series. 

“The totality of the crisis we are all living through is an extreme and rapid series of cascading failures across multiple systems,” said Andrew Salkin, Founding Principal, Resilient Cities Catalyst. “With decades of experience in systems planning, RCC hopes that cities and regions not only recover strongly from the challenges posed by COVID-19, but are also better equipped to withstand whatever the next shock might be.” 

Additional resources from RCC on COVID-19 will explore: 

  • The compounding shocks of COVID-19 and climate change

  • Impacts of the pandemic on informal settlements

  • Critical need for urban design, social infrastructure and public spaces

  • Manipulating municipal levers to better navigate through austerity

“We know that major destructive events weigh most heavily on the poorer and more marginalized among us. These disparities will only be exaggerated by compounding shocks like what we expect to experience over the course of 2020,” said Sam Carter, Founding Principal, Resilient Cities Catalyst. 


About Resilient Cities Catalyst

Resilient Cities Catalyst (RCC) is a new nonprofit comprised of urban practitioners and resilience experts with deep experience working in cities around the world. RCC joins with cities worldwide to help them better leverage the experience, resources, and energies of their leaders, managers, communities, companies, and urbanists to realize their collective visions. Founded by executives from 100 Resilient Cities, RCC’s work is anchored in the knowledge gained in the development of the urban resilience movement. For more info, please visit:

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Resilient Cities Catalyst

Resilient Cities Catalyst

Our work is anchored in knowledge gained in the development of the urban resilience movement, bringing together a diverse set of skills across government, civil society and the private sector. We believe that resilience thinking combined with courageous leadership and radical collaboration will make cities stronger, more equitable and ultimately more resilient for current and future generations. RCC will help cities identify areas of opportunities, address them through innovative design, and implement solutions. We will do this through three core program offerings: 1. Resilience Roadmaps to create enabling environments for investment and action through participatory resilience assessment and planning processes. 2. Project Incubators to design projects that maximize resilience impact, ensuring cities and communities have access to the technical, financial, and project preparation expertise required to move from concept to implementation. 3. Catalyst Labs to facilitate the next generation of solutions and create new communities of practice in the urban resilience field. Cities represent our greatest opportunity for impact, while also posing significant risks with exposure to future shocks and stresses. We hope through RCC we can work with many of you to help cities achieve the change they desperately need.

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