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Urban Resilience: From Global Vision to Local Practice - Final Outcome Evaluation of the 100 Resilient Cities Program

September 15, 2022

Summer hailstorms in Mexico City, weeks-long heat waves in India, hurricane-force winds off the Great Lakes—extreme weather events are becoming commonplace, testing the resilience of local and regional governments across the world. But urban resilience extends beyond weathering climate shocks. It also entails maintaining and improving infrastructure, ecology, economy, and community at the city level.For six years, from 2013 to 2019, the 100 Resilient Cities program sought to boost the capacity of local governments across all facets of urban resilience. Although the program ended earlier than anticipated, its unprecedented breadth of participating cities and scope of intervention provided potential lessons for cities across the world as they prepare for and face an increasingly uncertain future.KEY TAKEAWAYSThe 100 Resilient Cities program included three cohorts of cities from across the globe, each of which experienced three interventions to improve city governance operational and planning capacity for resilience: the creation and selection of a Chief Resilience Officer, the development and publication of a resilience strategy, and the implementation of that strategy, with technical support provided by the program. The Urban Institute monitored and evaluated the core features of the 100 Resilient Cities program for almost seven years, with this final report focusing on the outcomes for city planning and operations attributable to interventions across a 21-city sample. From this program, we believe the following lessons learned can help cities improve their resilience moving forward.Cities must focus on chronic social vulnerability in addition to unexpected shocks. Although cities must be prepared for extreme weather events and civil unrest, both of which can cause extreme devastation, they must also address ongoing issues, such as failing infrastructure and health care accessibility.Chief Resilience Officers and robust networks can facilitate city-to-city learning. As with any program, collaboration and sharing of knowledge can benefit all parties involved. The network of Chief Resilience Officers could advocate for successful resilience strategies from other cities, which could lead to more collaboration in local governments and across regions.Resilient governance requires more voices to be involved in planning and development. Foregrounding inclusion and equity is crucial for building resilience, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to many underlying systemic inequities in countries across the world.Resilience building takes a long time. Despite the necessary urgency of building resilience, solutions take a long time to implement and need consistent funding and support to fulfill their potential. When the 100 Resilient Cities program ended early, many cities had developed plans and strategies but lost the support that would have helped them enact those solutions. Ongoing political and funder support is critical for long-term resilience.

Situating the Next Generation of Impact Measurement and Evaluation for Impact Investing

December 1, 2016

In taking stock of the landscape, this paper promotes a convergence of methods, building from both the impact investment and evaluation fields.The commitment of impact investors to strengthen the process of generating evidence for their social returns alongside the evidence for financial returns is a veritable game changer. But social change is a complex business and good intentions do not necessarily translate into verifiable impact.As the public sector, bilaterals, and multilaterals increasingly partner with impact investors in achieving collective impact goals, the need for strong evidence about impact becomes even more compelling. The time has come to develop new mindsets and approaches that can be widely shared and employed in ways that will advance the frontier for impact measurement and evaluation of impact investing. Each of the menu options presented in this paper can contribute to building evidence about impact. The next generation of measurement will be stronger if the full range of options comes into play and the more evaluative approaches become commonplace as means for developing evidence and testing assumptions about the processes of change from a stakeholder perspective– with a view toward context and systems.Creating and sharing evidence about impact is a key lever for contributing to greater impact, demonstrating additionality, and for building confidence among potential investors, partners and observers in this emergent industry on its path to maturation. Further, the range of measurement options offers opportunities to choose appropriate approaches that will allow data to contribute to impact management– to improve on the business model of ventures and to improve services and systems that improve conditions for people and households living in poverty. 

Evaluation in Foundations; Tools and Frameworks

5th Wave: Social Impact Evaluation

September 1, 2015

This paper is part of a series supported by The Rockefeller Foundation's Evaluation Office to explore the implications for evaluation of new development challenges in a rapidly changing world, new financing mechanisms beyond aid, new technologies and a host of new actors.

Guidelines and Best Practices

Double Bottom Line Project Report: Assessing Social Impact in Double Bottom Line Ventures: Methods Catalog

January 14, 2015

This best practice provides a framework for identifying relationships in order to evaluate initiatives' social impacts. It emphasizes the understanding by stakeholders of how exactly the enterprise will generate social impacts and highlights the causal relationships between actions, short term outcomes and long term outcomes.

Evaluation in Foundations

Catalog of Approaches to Impact Measurement: Assessing Social Impact in Private Ventures

May 1, 2008

To inform action impact investors could take to measure impact in a coordinated manner, The Rockefeller Foundation commissioned the study of impact assessment approaches presented here.It is natural to hope to find a single, turnkey solution that can address all measurement needs. In this study we conducted a survey of impact investors and complemented it with seven years of experience in the field of impact investing to discover what these investors want from impact measurement, and conducted in-depth interviews with over twenty entities that have developed and implemented approaches to measuring impact. Our survey of existing approaches was thorough but surely is not comprehensive; however the approaches are a good representation of the current state of play. What we found is that there is not one single measurement answer. Instead the answer depends on what solution is most appropriate for a particular investor's "impact profile" defined as the investor's level of risk tolerance and desired financial return, the particular sector in which the investor operates, geography, and credibility level of information about impact that the investor requires.

Guidelines and Best Practices

Double Bottom Line Project Report: Assessing Social Impact in Double Bottom Line Ventures

January 1, 2004

This tool expresses costs and social impacts of an investment in monetary terms. Quantification is achieved according to one or more of three measures: NPV (the aggregate value of all costs, revenues and social impacts discounted), benefit-cost ratio (the discounted value of revenues and positive impacts divided by discounted value of costs and negative impacts) and internal rate of return (the net value of revenues plus impacts expressed as an annual percentage return on the total costs of the investment).

Guidelines and Best Practices