Community resilience

Community resilience is the sustained ability of a community to utilize available resources (energy, communication, transportation, food, etc.) to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations (e.g. economic collapse to global catastrophic risks).[1] This allows for the adaptation and growth of a community after disaster strikes.[2] Communities that are resilient are able to minimize any disaster, making the return to normal life as effortless as possible. By implementing a community resilience plan, a community can come together and overcome any disaster, while rebuilding physically and economically.[3][4]

Community resilience planning

A community resilience plan is an action plan that allows for a community to rebuild after disaster. The plan should entail specific guidelines that will aid the community to rebuild both the economy and the ecosystem that the community thrives on. This typically means there are measures in place that a community will follow, such as the distribution of volunteers, and the access to knowledge and resources necessary to rebuild. Adaptability is a key attribute which means prevention can occur in response or before disaster strikes. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has a Community Resilience department tasked with solving this problem.[5] This agency has created a Community Resilience Planning Guide, and its aim is to assist communities with anticipating challenges through a practical application that takes into account the social needs of the community as well as dependencies on the "built environment" - buildings and infrastructure systems.[6] The outline of the six step process is shown below:

  • Six-step process
    1. Form a collaborative planning team
    2. Understand the situation
    3. Determine the goals and objectives
    4. Plan development
    5. Plan preparation, review, and approval
    6. Plan implementation and maintenance

Classification of hazards

The scope of community resilience extends beyond natural disasters and include manmade events.[7] Below are an example of disasters communities face on a daily basis:

  1. Wind (hurricane, tornados)
  2. Earthquake (landslides, liquefaction)
  3. Inundation (flooding, coastal erosion)
  4. Fire (natural, manmade)
  5. Snow or rain (blizzards, tsunami)
  6. Technological or human-caused (cyberwarfare, nuclear weapons)
  • Routine
Hazard events that occur regularly and are typically less consequential events in terms of damage and recovery.
  • Design
Hazard events that structures must be designed to withstand and often includes many natural disasters.
  • Extreme
Hazard events may also found in building codes for some hazards; however, they are likely to cause significant and often irreparable damage.

Dependencies and cascading failures

Infrastructure systems such as buildings, water, electric power, transportation, and communication are all interconnected and interdependent networks or systems.[8] This means that a failure in one network can have catastrophic impact on another system. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, LA on August 23, 2005, it caused network outages in transportation and power networks which led to system failure and impedance in others such communication and emergency services.

See also


  1. Bosher, Lee; Chmutina, Ksenia (April 3, 2017). Disaster Risk Reduction for the Built Environment. 111 River Street. Hoboken, NJ 07030: John Wiley & Sons. p. 32. ISBN 9781118921500.
  2. Fran H., Norris; Susan P., Stevens (March 2008). "Community Resilience as a Metaphor, Theory, Set of Capacities, and Strategy for Disaster Readiness". American Journal of Community Psychology. 41: 127–150. doi:10.1007/s10464-007-9156-6.
  3. Sharifi, Ayyoob (October 2016). "A critical review of selected tools for assessing community resilience". Ecological Indicators. 69: 629–647. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.05.023.
  4. Sharifi, Ayyoob; Yamagata, Yoshiki (September 2016). "On the suitability of assessment tools for guiding communities towards disaster resilience" (PDF). International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 18: 115–124. doi:10.1016/j.ijdrr.2016.06.006.
  7. Patel, Sonny; Rogers, M. Brooke (February 2017). "What Do We Mean by 'Community Resilience'? A Systematic Literature Review of How It Is Defined in the Literature". PLOS Currents: Disasters. 1. doi:10.1371/currents.dis.db775aff25efc5ac4f0660ad9c9f7db2.
  8. Guidotti, Roberto; Chmielewski, Hana (September 2016). "Modeling the resilience of critical infrastructure: the role of network dependencies". Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure. 1: 153–159. doi:10.1080/23789689.2016.1254999. PMC 5557302.
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