Mayor’s Office Press Release
Houston Integrates COVID-19 Response and Recovery into Resilient Houston Framework
May 18, 2020 — To effectively navigate through the global coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Sylvester Turner has updated the Resilient Houston plan to include a COVID-19 addendum to guide the city’s response to this public health crisis and associated economic impacts. Resilient Houston is the city’s strategy for responding and recovering from unexpected shocks and systemic stresses, such as a hurricane, flooding, cyberattacks, or terrorism.
“We did not develop a resilience plan to put it on a shelf and keep it there,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The City of Houston is using it in real time to provide relief during the COVID-19 public health crisis and the national economic downturn. It will guide us as we approach hurricane season, summer heatwaves, and other resilience challenges, that Houstonians know too well.”
Resilient Houston, first released in February 2020, is the city’s framework for addressing urban resilience challenges at multiple scales. It develops a vision for Houston as a healthy place to live; an equitable, inclusive and affordable city; a leader in climate adaptation; a city that grows up, not out; and a transformative economy that builds forward. With the COVID-19 global pandemic and associated economic challenges, this vision and associated goals, targets, and actions are more critical than ever. The COVID-19 addendum to Resilient Houston helps Houston to manage the crisis while building its future.
“The COVID-19 addendum details how Houston can apply our existing framework to the challenge at hand and how the City and our partners can prioritize the actions we take to maximize the benefits for Houstonians,” said Marissa Aho, Chief Resilience Officer.
The COVID-19 addendum identifies 42 of Resilient Houston’s 62 actions and how they apply to ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery phases, including emergency response, stabilization, adaptive recovery, and institutionalization. It provides short tangible examples of how the COVID-19 global pandemic has amplified our existing resilience challenges and created new challenges to address.
“The COVID-19 addendum to Resilient Houston will help to guide the approach we take to COVID-19 recovery, which will prioritize our most at-risk and vulnerable populations and include steps we can take to improve health, equity and access, and the economy,” said Marvin Odum, COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Czar.
Examples include how COVID-19 impacts employment and workforce development, supporting small businesses and products made locally, increasing equitable access to open recreational space for physical and mental health, equitable community engagement during recovery, and leveraging smart city infrastructure to better track public health data.
The COVID-19 addendum was developed by Houston’s Chief Resilience Officer with pro bono support from HR&A Advisors to analyze Resilient Houston’s goals and actions in the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic and develop a framework for phasing resilience actions.
About the City of Houston’s Resilience Office
Marissa Aho, AICP, the Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) for the City of Houston, leads the city’s resilience efforts, including the development and implementation of the Resilient Houston strategy, launched in February 2020. Resilient Houston is focused on building resilience at every scale and is organized into five chapters, 18 goals and targets, and 62 actions. Each chapter identifies actions for increasing the resilience of Houstonians, our neighborhoods, our bayous, our city, and our region.