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PRESS RELEASE: City of Norfolk and RISE Co-Host MIT Solve Challenge Design Workshop on Coastal Resilience on January 24

Cindy Mackey, Lori Crouch, and Andrea Snyder

Cross-sector experts to shape Solve’s 2018 Sustainability Challenge and future prizes to most promising social impact ‘Solver teams’


Media Contacts:
Cindy Mackey, RISE, 757-754-4553,
Lori Crouch, City of Norfolk, 757-646-5381,
Andrea Snyder, MIT Solve, 646-675-4451,

NORFOLK, Va. — (January 17, 2018) — MIT Solve, along with the City of Norfolk and RISE, will host a half-day workshop on Wednesday, January 24 in Norfolk, Virginia—bringing together leaders from the Hampton Roads region, the United States and beyond to discuss and prioritize key resilience challenges for coastal communities.

The workshop has attracted more than 50 participants, including the Chief Resilience Officers from several of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative, international experts and regional representatives from local government, military, ports, non-profit and academic sectors. Attendees will identify problems particular to coastal cities that need innovation to traditional solutions.

Resilience is a key topic as communities adapt to rising sea levels, more frequent or stronger natural disasters and economic changes. This Challenge Design Workshop will be the first step in a broader year-long partnership between MIT and RISE. The next event in Hampton Roads is a Solve-a-thon in April where innovators will team up to design solutions to the problems defined in this month’s Challenge Design Workshop. The Solve 2018 Sustainability Challenge will solicit technology solutions from around the world and ultimately 10 ‘Solver teams’ will be selected in September during the UN’s General Assembly week in New York. Previous MIT Solve Challenges have awarded prizes up to $1 million. This year, RISE will offer winning teams the opportunity to access its $1 million Resilience Innovation Fund for solutions that can be piloted in Hampton Roads and implemented around the world.

“MIT Solve is pleased to collaborate with the City of Norfolk and RISE to identify and implement tangible, lasting solutions to complex challenges—including rising sea levels, natural disasters, and economic shifts,” said Alexander Dale, Senior Officer, Sustainability, Solve. “This type of cross-sector participation is critical to sourcing and scaling best-in-class solutions to the problems faced by Norfolk and cities across the globe.”

As one of the world’s first members of The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program and the third city in the world to develop a Resilience Strategy, Norfolk is helping to build a global practice to ensure cities can manage future shocks and stresses more effectively. The City’s leadership as a living laboratory for building resilience is the reason why MIT Solve chose Norfolk for the Challenge Design Workshop focused on challenges in coastal communities.

“Innovation begins when you reframe the problem,” said Christine Morris, Norfolk’s Chief Resilience Officer. “The City of Norfolk is leading a global movement reframing many of the difficult problems facing cities today. By partnering with the innovation sector, Norfolk is finding new ways to address sea level rise, develop economic diversity, ensure social equity, and build social cohesion. RISE and MIT Solve are great examples of this type of partnership. Over the next few months working with innovators from across the globe, Norfolk and RISE will help reframe the problems facing cities and as a result help drive city innovation.”

“Partnering with MIT Solve is very exciting for RISE,” said Dr. Paul Robinson, Executive Director of RISE. “It gives access to a global community of Solver teams developing creative solutions to problems facing coastal communities worldwide. RISE is offering Solver teams access to our $1 million Resilience Innovation Fund to support those teams committed to demonstrating their solutions in Hampton Roads with applications to the global market.” 

About RISE:
RISE is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping solve some of the most pressing resilience problems facing today's coastal communities. RISE's mission is to catalyze innovation and growth around creative solutions in the areas of sea-level rise, recurrent flooding and economic resilience. By engaging and connecting thought leaders, conducting Challenge prizes and investing in the most promising solutions, RISE seeks to position Hampton Roads as a global leader in the effort to build more resilient communities. For more information, visit

About Solve: 
Solve is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that identifies and supports lasting solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. Solve is a community that brings together technologists, social entrepreneurs, business leaders, policymakers, researchers, and other change agents to unearth and implement solutions to specific, actionable challenges facing the world. More than 950 solutions from all over the world were submitted to Solve’s 2017 Global Challenges: (1) Brain Health, (2) Sustainable Urban Communities, (3) Women and Technology, and (4) Youth, Skills, and the Workforce of the Future. Learn more at, and help design our next Global Challenges at


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