I write often about community resilience here at UrbanWorkbench. Resilience is the ability of a system to absorb change and still function. In the sense of community, this is the survive and thrive through change mentality. Most people would agree that resilience is a great thing for a community, but I’m finding that people have different expectations with regard to what areas or themes are involved in measuring resilience.
How open a community is to examining the risks and threats that it faces with a critical lens is at the heart of how resilient that community will be in the future – you can’t predict everything, but you can prepare for anything.
In my mind, resilience rests on the principles of adequate health care, food and water security, gainful employment, local economy and cultural innovation. If these exist and thrive across the community spectrum, chances are that any other issues such as transportation or education will be resolved. Communities should start evaluating themselves for resilience, using indicators of health, food security, employment, local economy and culture.
Resilience is not the same as sustainability – these concepts dovetail, but are separated by the idea of change. Sustainability projects a continuum, almost a steady state. Resilience accepts and bounces back from change.