In 2011, Bangkok suffered from its worst flooding in decades, while Jakarta's main thoroughfare was later inundated. By any standards, both cities coped poorly with the crises.
Crisis can come in different shapes, threatening the resilience of cities worldwide. But now, governments, the private sector and civil society have recognised that it is time for greater cooperation - and cities can now learn from others' experiences and lessons, under a Rockefeller Foundation initiative.
Earlier this month, the foundation announced the first 33 cities selected to join the "100 Resilient Cities" network. They were selected from nearly 400 applicants across six continents.
In applying for the "100 Resilient Cities Challenge", cities were required to submit their visions, needs and plans to build resilience in a way that connects government, the private sector and civil society, and specifically addresses the needs of their poor and vulnerable citizens.
The announcement of the selected cities was made during The Rockefeller Foundation's third annual Innovation Forum, titled "Building Resilient Cities".
The 100 Resilient Cities initiative is dedicated to supporting cities to adopt and incorporate a resilience mindset in their planning, development and community-building, so that they are better prepared for and can quickly rebound from 21st-century shocks and stresses.
"We first announced the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge on May 14, and since then we have seen amazing interest and momentum around urban resilience," said Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation.
"The 33 cities named today represent a diversity of urban resilience needs, and as the inaugural members of the 100 Resilient Cities Network they have much to share with and learn from each other. We are excited to get to work so that this dynamic group of cities are better prepared to withstand the shocks and stresses of our disruptive world," she said.
Building resilience is about making people, communities and systems better prepared to withstand catastrophic events - both natural and man-made - and more able to bounce back quickly and stronger.
Cities were selected upon the recommendation of a distinguished panel of judges from around the world, including former presidents Bill Clinton of the US and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria.
Among the 33 selected cities, there are several from the emerging world - Bangkok, Da Nang in Vietnam, Mandalay in Myanmar, Dakar in Senegal, Semarang in Indonesia and Surat in India.
Joining them are big cities in the developed world like Rotterdam in the Netherlands, New York City, Bristol in the UK and Melbourne in Australia.
The cities range from megacities to small regional hubs, coastal to land-locked, and ancient to modern, yet are grappling with so many of the same challenges, including climate-change adaptation, outdated infrastructure, and better meeting the needs of their most vulnerable citizens.
"Each of these cities knows that building resilience requires partners from every sector, and 100 Resilient Cities will catalyse new relationships to technologies and resources to help ensure that each city is a centre of growth and opportunity, no matter what stress comes its way," said Michael Berkowitz, CEO of 100 Resilient Cities and managing director for 100 Resilient Cities at the foundation.
As part its commitment to building urban resilience, and as an efficient means of offering cities an innovative and dynamic platform of tools and resources, the foundation is creating a new organisation, called 100 Resilient Cities.
This was first announced at the annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) forum in September. Joining the foundation in its CGI commitment are partners Palantir, Swiss Re, the World Bank, the American Institute of Architects, and Architecture for Humanity.
Through the network, member cities will win support, and share new knowledge and resilience best practices.
They will also win support to hire or fund a chief resilience officer (CRO), who will help ensure resilience-building and coordination is the specific responsibility of one person in a city government.
Each CRO will also oversee the development of a resilience plan for a city, and be part of a learning network of other CROs as representatives to the 100 Resilient Cities Network.
They will win support to create a resilience plan that reflects each city's distinct needs, as well as a platform to provide necessary tools and resources for implementation of the plan focused on four areas: innovative finance, innovative technology, infrastructure and land use, and community and social resilience.
The 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge will open for its next round of city applications in the middle of next year.
The 33 selected cities are:
In the US:
El Paso, Texas
Los Angeles, California
New Orleans, Louisiana
New York City
San Francisco, California
Christchurch, New Zealand
Da Nang, Vietnam
Durban, South Africa
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Source: The Rockefeller Foundation