A version of this post also appeared on the 100 Resilient Cities blog.
As 100 Resilient Cities gears up to launch this year’s Challenge, we thought it would be a good time to look back on last year’s Challenge applicants, and examine some of the things we’ve learned about the process and those who applied.
1. Participation in the application process was diverse and global in reach.
We received 372 applications from cities all over the world, hailing from 78 different countries and every inhabited continent. Applicant cities represented a full 7 percent of the world’s population, including 72 official languages ranging from Haitian to Zulu.
2. Cities of all sizes applied, representing huge portions of their regions’ populations.
35 percent of applications came from cities with a population of one million people or more, 27 percent from cities with a population of 250,000 to one million, and 37 percent from smaller cities with a population of less than 250,000.
3. Flooding and aging infrastructure top the list of resilience challenges cities said they face.
The top five shocks mentioned by applicants were: coastal and rainfall flooding, earthquakes, tropical storms including hurricanes and typhoons, heat waves, and landslides. Applicants were most concerned with the threat of flooding, which accounted for over a third of all shocks mentioned.
From the stresses—such as endemic crime, chronic food shortages, and monolithic economies—that applicants listed, the top five mentioned were: aging infrastructure, drought and water shortage, environmental degradation, an overtaxed/underdeveloped/underfunded public transportation system, and sea level and coastal erosion.
4. Among these trends, the challenges that cities listed and omitted came as a surprise.
The most mentioned stress for applicant cities from Europe was drought and water shortage, appearing on 23 percent of applications from the region.
South America was the only region for which educational infrastructure was the top stated stress, listed by 11 percent of the region’s applicants.
5. 100 Resilient Cities is working with a significant portion of the world’s population.
The population of the 32 cities selected by our panel of expert judges from the first cohort of over 372 applicants constitutes approximately 1.3 percent of the world’s inhabitants.
The application period for the second round of the 100 Resilient Cities challenge will be open from July 23rd through September 10th, 2014, and we eagerly await new applicant cities. We are looking forward to using everything we’ve learned from the first round of applicants to ensure we have the best group of city partners available.