An Interview With Jacksonville's New Chief Resiliency Officer

The city of Jacksonville's new resiliency department will evaluate the city's long-term needs and coordinate with various stakeholders to implement systems adaptable to extreme climate events.

October 15, 2021, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Jacksonville

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Brendan Rivers interviews Anne Coglianese, the first Chief Resiliency Officer for the city of Jacksonville. Coglianese, who "came to Jacksonville from New Orleans, where she served as Coastal Resilience Manager from 2017 to 2020," defines resiliency as "the ability of city systems to adapt and thrive in the face of acute shocks like a hurricane or chronic stresses like sea level rise or urban heat."

As climate change intensifies the effects of extreme weather, resiliency is more important than ever, particularly for coastal cities. Coglianese's job entails "breaking down silos within city government, working with outside stakeholders and the independent authorities in and around Jacksonville that make decisions, whether that’s JEA or JTA, and making sure that everyone’s pushing in the same direction and thinking long term." She sees the "luxury" to think long-term as one of the most important aspects of her work, which will let her department "really look at what’s the latest in science and data, where do we need to go and then what interventions need to be put in place to allow city departments to move in that direction together."

For Jacksonville, flooding and urban heat pose some of the biggest risks. To address those risks, Coglianese sees "gray infrastructure and green infrastructure as working in concert together. For a city to be resilient, you need some of those redundancies built in." Coglianese also addresses equity as a crucial part of building resiliency and believes her department's work "needs to be developed based on the best science and data and models."

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