See here for a copy of the article. The main points are described below:
Beyond personal and organisational resilience, yet short of national resilience, there is another crucial dimension. This is the world of community resilience. We cannot ‘survive and thrive’ (a useful definition of resilience) in silos, whether at home or in the office. We need to interact with others to provide a collective response when dealing with major challenges. The community can provide the bedrock to a cohesive, sustained response. Surprisingly, the topic is all too often neglected when resilience is discussed.
The Value of Social Capital
A community comes together for a variety of reasons – interest, recreation, speciality, culture, ethnicity, etc. There is the common, unstated aim of strengthening ‘social capital’. This is about the soft side of resilience, namely those people-oriented aspects that often get somewhat forgotten in the hard plans, policies, procedures and physical infrastructure normally associated with safety and security. Rather, the social element is based about trust, empowerment, leadership, networking, culture, civic engagement, neighbourliness, etc. These characteristics knit people together in adversity.
Searching for Improvements
The key lesson was that each community has its own unique challenges. Solutions to address perceived or real problems do not necessarily provide the hooks to engage on the wider topic of community resilience. However, if generic remedies can be offered then no matter what the threat or disrupter is then there is a common baseline from which to operate. By way of simple example, it doesn’t matter if the water is coming through the floorboards or the roof, the imperative is to stop and remove it!
Making a Difference
What can be done to impart both the essence of resilience – agility and adaptability – to communities to strengthen resilience?
Here are some useful pointers:
- Local Co-ordination Groups. Establish local co-ordination groups to promulgate the message of community resilience to neighbours and stakeholders in the area.
- Framework for Action. Advocate a practical framework for action, based on work begun in the first phase or work.
- Workshops. Organise a series of workshops which could help coalesce local businesses and facilitate networking.
- Business Links. Strengthen links between large and small businesses so that there is a greater sharing of best practice, lessons learnt and, where appropriate, mutually beneficial services to help the overall community.
- Communications. Improve communication between parties and stakeholders, both in person and electronically.