Building Resilient Communities: A Preliminary Framework for Assessment
Longstaff, Patricia H.
Armstrong, Nicholas J.
Parker, Whitney May
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This article moves beyond debating definitions of resilience, towards the development of a preliminary conceptual framework for assessing community resilience. We recognize that not all frameworks are created equal, nor do they satisfy all constituent audiences. The proposed framework presented herein is consistent with Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom's stated purpose of a framework: to 'identify the elements (and the relationships among these elements)...to consider for analysis...organize diagnostic and prescriptive inquiry...[and] provide the most general set of variables that should be used to analyze all types of settings relevant for the framework.' It does not outline a cookie-cutter solution for all communities to apply, but rather an approach that allows community leaders and policymakers to begin to think about resilience as it pertains to their own community's unique circumstances. While sacrificing operational specifics in the interim, it summarizes the core attributes of resilient systems (resource performance, resource diversity, resource redundancy, institutional memory, innovative learning, and connectedness) in the context of five key community subsystems (ecological, economic, physical infrastructure, civil society, and governance). Through the examination of each community subsystem, a preliminary, community-based, resilience assessment framework is proposed for continued development and refinement. In leading up to this conceptual framework, however, the article presents the definition of resilience used here, an argument for a community-based approach, and a description of what we believe the research shows are the core attributes of resilience within community systems.
This article appeared in Homeland Security Affairs (September 2010), v.6 no.3
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