Advocating for Santiago, GSD students and alum reach the 100 Resilient Cities list

The Rockefeller Foundation initiative 100 Resilient Cities announced yesterday that Santiago, Chile, has just made the cut. Out of 330 applications, Santiago—nominated and submitted by a team of Harvard University Graduate School of Design students and alumni—was selected as a site to “become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.”

Speaking about the GSD team—Maria Ignacia Arrasate (MDes Risk and Resilience ’15), Maria Catalina Picón (MLA ’15), Flavio Sciaraffia (MLA ’15), and Juan Pablo Ugarte (MArch II ’14)—and their efforts, Ignacia Arrasate noted: “The idea of applying the city of Santiago to the 100 Resilient Cities competition … was born from our common interest in building resilience in urban settlements. We wanted to approach to this problem utilizing the advantages of multidisciplinary perspective that our different backgrounds and GSD master programs provide us.”

After reaching out to Pablo Allard (MAUD ’99, DDeS ’03), the dean of Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile, the student group (collectively named Organización Resiliencia Sur), paired up with the metropolitan government of Santiago and Claudio Orrego (HKS MPP ’95), the main authority of Santiago’s metropolitan region, to prepare an application. 

The win is significant not just for the students. Advocating on behalf of the city of Santiago, the students have secured its place as a member of the 100 Resilient Cities network. And this is not simply a name. As a member, Santiago will receive funding to hire a Chief Resilience Officer, assistance in developing a resilience strategy, and access to a platform of innovative private and public sector tools to help design and implement that strategy.

As the team moves on from the GSD this coming year, they noted that “We hope that our group will keep collaborating with the metropolitan government to implement the resiliency strategy for Santiago.”