Last week I sat down with Alice Charles, a cities expert of the World Economic Forum (WEF). When talking to her, you can immediately feel that she is an expert, very energetic and driven with more than 18 years of experience behind her fingertips. Not an easy skillset to develop.

Alice explained all the basics one needs to know when it comes to smart cities:  it’s all about data, and the internet of things (IoT). Even today, the development of smart cities is highly complex and there are only a few handful of success stories out there.

Soon WEF will publish a report highlight 25 examples of where cities have successfully got their smart city projects to scale and with the right governance and policy. Hopefully, there will be many more to come.

Why is it so hard to model green and smart cities and why are so many businesses trying to be involved but simply fail?

The answer is: cities may have similar problems, but the context is different. A city needs to be approached uniquely. And this is not something that many companies are currently doing.

All complicated projects have multiple managers and when it comes to smart cities, sustainability is key. So where would we find the sustainability manager in all this?

The answer is straight forward: nowhere as the function simply does not exist. However, maybe it does but with a different name….

The Complexity of urban governance is growing, and we see an additional focus on projects that bridge new technologies and community voices.

And this is where the Resilience Officer comes in; supporting cities not only to become smarter but also to become more inclusive, more integrated, enhancing the quality of urban lifestyle and creating new economic opportunities for residents in selected cities.

A few months ago (July 8th, 2019), The Rockefeller Foundation committed to an additional $8 Million to further support the work of Chief Resilience Officers. They understood that, in order to create a successful urban community with happy and safe people, you simply must ensure the participation of local communities and their range of voices.

And that’s the job of a Resilience Manager.


They are quickly gaining importance as they both have a risk management focus and an innovation and sustainability focus.

Far-reaching deliverables but indeed key in the whole process.

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