Home > BLOG 5, Crisis Communication > Blog 5: Community resilience strategies

Blog 5: Community resilience strategies

Community resilience is a theory that seeks to understand stress, adaption, wellness and resource dynamics in the face of a crisis. Stable community organizations have linkages, they engage their community, are flexible and plan for “not having a plan.” A crisis in a community is never out of the question. However, there are several ways that Fran Norris argues that community resilience can be effective in a disaster phase. Resilience is successful adaptation in the face of disturbance, stress or adversity. It is not about outcome, but about a process. Here are some ways that community resilience is effective during a crisis:

  • Communities must develop and utilize their economic resources and attend to areas that face the greatest vulnerability. There should be a vigilant effort to the equity of resource distribution during a crisis.
  • Local people have to be engaged in every step. Members of a community should invest in their own networks of assistance and information. By doing this, individuals will help their community become more sufficient.
  • Utilize any pre-existing organizational networks so that they are ready in a time of need. Cooperative agreements and organizational networks are crucial in a proactive, ahead of time response.
  • Remember the 4 R’s of Community resilience: Be robust, redundant, act with rapidity and utilize resourcefulness. Be flexible, not always stable. Remember that resources that help in a time of crisis are not static. They evolve, strengthen, weaken and they rebound. 
  • Finally, remember that communities are unique. They are composed of built, natural, social and economical environments that influence one another in complex ways. Fran Norris points out that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” 

As members of a community, we have to anticipate risk and disaster at all times. We must also remember that we all have a vested interest in our community! We must foster a resilient response, which is not breakable but able to “bend.” Community resilience in a disaster phase is a process, not an outcome. Remember to to utilize your larger networks, not just your more intimate ones. Having strong social networks is crucial in a community because they build mutual support, which can be greatly needed in face of adversity. Communities must be able to acknowledge complexity and uncertainty and be able to respond, rapidly. Make sure there is proper support, both from resources but also from neighbors, friends and networks. Remember, as members of a community, we are all in this together.
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