Water Conservation



Design Challenge

Strengthen economic resilience among vulnerable groups of people so that they can recover quickly or withstand the negative impacts of disasters.  

GOAL: Create solutions that address economic vulnerability for specific groups of people, which can include tackling social issues that can be at the root of economic vulnerability.  


Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities defines resilience as "the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.”  Cities, such as Los Angeles, continue to face economic, social, and physical pain points in the 21st Century.  By addressing the chronic stresses that make us vulnerable, rather than responding only after disaster strikes, cities can become more adaptable and able to rebound from major disasters.[1] 

Building resilience can occur on both macro and micro levels, and is critical to protecting the poorest and most vulnerable people who typically live in areas most impacted by disaster, and who are least likely to have the economic means to shield themselves from the effects of crisis.

This design challenge is focused specifically on addressing economic vulnerability as a means to make our region more resilient.  What solutions will help reduce the stresses that weaken the fabric of a city on a day to day or cyclical basis, which in turn create economic vulnerabilities?  In some cases social challenges need to be addressed as the means to reduce economically vulnerable. 

Pain Points

  • Out of 25 major metropolitan areas, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area had the second highest rate of people living under the poverty line in 2013 at 17.6 percent. The area that had the highest rate was Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario at 18.2 percent.[2]
  •  Despite an overall decrease in unemployment in recent years, Los Angeles County’s real unemployment rate has surpassed the national average since mid-2008, with 7.1% of workers seeking employment compared to the national average of 5.7%.
  •  In 2011, 48.6% percent of households in LA County would not be able to exist at the poverty level for three months in the absence of income.[3] 
  •  As of 2012, Los Angeles had the highest renter population of any metro area at 52%, while the national average was 35%.[4]
  •  Median household income is $51,329, approximately 15% below the state median.[5] 
  •  On average households in LA County spend the majority of their annual budget, 32.4%, on housing costs, second highest annual expense on transportation.[6]

Key Statistics


LA County



Liquid Asset Poverty Rate:












Poverty Rate:




Rental Rates:




Real Unemployment Rate:



Liquid Asset Poverty Rate: Percentage of households without sufficient liquid assets to subsist at the poverty level for three months in the absence of income.[7]

Unbanked Rate: Percentage of households with neither a checking nor savings account.[8]

Underbanked Rate: Percentage of households that have a checking and/or a savings account and have used alternative financial services in the past 12 months.[9]

Real Unemployment Rate: U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.[10]

Key Resources

Los Angeles

Los Angeles’ Existing Resilience Challenge Grant (from Rockefeller Foundation) [http://www.100resilientcities.org/cities/entry/los-angeles-resilience-challenge]

LA2050 Report [http://www.la2050.org/site/assets/files/1454/la2050_report_022513.pdf]

US Census Bureau: Los Angeles Quick Facts [http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/06037.html]

LA Economic Development Council - Industry and Labor Market Report


General Resilience

100 Resilient Cities [http://www.100resilientcities.org/resilience]

NYS 2100: Building Resilience in New York Report (2010)

United Nations City Resilience Website [http://www.unisdr.org/campaign/resilientcities/]

UN How to Make Cities Resilient Handbook [http://www.unisdr.org/campaign/resilientcities/toolkit/handbook]

World Bank’s Climate Resilient Cities Report [http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTEAPREGTOPURBDEV/Resources/Primer_e_book.pd]

Key Data Sets

GIS Demographic

US Census Demographic Data for LA County

Economic Census

Registered Foreclosures in 2014 (Housing)

Listing of Active Businesses

Job Growth by Zipcode

California Unemployment Statistics

Principal Employers in LA County

CA EDD Employment - State & County - GOVSTAT

(unsure where to find these specifically)


unemployment by industry

employment by industry

Interested in finding out more about the Economic Resilience Challenge?