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In the inaugural Leading Cities Rating, the four highest-rated cities received a B+ and the lowest a C-. No single American city achieved the top A+ rating.

The initiative evaluated 24 US cities across 45 indicators. 

The highest-rated cities, achieving a B+ rating, were Seattle, Washington; Boulder, Colorado; and San Francisco and Berkeley, California. Seattle scored highest overall. The lowest rating among the cities was given to St Louis with a C-. D- is the lowest rating possible.

The first cohort of cities – Atlanta, Berkeley, Boston, Boulder, Chicago, Dallas, El Paso, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Norfolk, Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tulsa and Washington – was selected based on their participation in the 100 Resilient Cities programme, a recently scaled-back initiative of the Rockefeller Foundation. 


A statement from Leading Cities said: “With the focus and investment these cities received to advance their resiliency efforts, it was believed they would be among the most advanced US cities in terms of becoming smart cities.”


In April, the Rockefeller Foundation announced that it would end the $164 million grant that funded the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) programme, with some of the funding going to a new $30 million grant at the Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience at the Atlantic Council. In July, the Foundation committed an initial $8 million to continue supporting the work of chief resilience officers and member cities within the 100 Resilient Cities Network.

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