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Community Resilience - What is It?

"Resiliency is like a muscle … that must be developed in advance and consistently exercised to be both strong enough to withstand severe challenges and flexible enough to handle a wide range of unpredictable forces." - Global Resilience Network

“Next generation resilience relies on citizens and communities, not the institutions of state...” - DEMOS - RESILIENT NATION

“Resilience can be defined as the ability of people, communities, and systems to maintain their core purpose and integrity amid unforeseen shocks and surprises.” Andrew Zolli

We are truly living in interesting times. Our economic system is broken, jobs are being lost with many more threatened and levels of anxiety are high. No one can predict the future but what is certain is that we are in the middle of a storm that shows no sign of ending any time soon. To ensure a good quality of life in this context we will need to adopt new ways of living and working and build our ability to cope in these times of rapid change. With a little ingenuity and collaboration we could design community systems that will allow us to not only survive but thrive in this changing world.

The term ‘resilience’ is widely used by ecologists and is defined as the ability of ecosystems to maintain themselves in the face of disturbance. Resilience from a community point of view refers to the capacity of a community to cope with stress, overcome adversity and adapt to change positively.

Community resilience can be defined as … "the existence, development and engagement of community resources to thrive in a dynamic environment characterised by change, uncertainty, unpredictability and surprise. Resilient communities intentionally develop personal and collective capacity to respond to and influence change, to sustain and renew the community and to develop new trajectories for the community’s future." - Community Resilience: literature and practice review (Magis 2007)

Adaptability is at the core of resilience and emerges either in response to, or in anticipation of, a challenge. But where do we start? How do we take the first steps to ensure that we, and the places we are living, have the ability to get by in times of abrupt change?

The basis of a community’s resilience is the quality of the interactions between people in that locality. At the heart of the Transition movementis the building of relationships with our neighbours and working with them on projects of common interest. The Transition process is a way of thinking about community readiness for abrupt change.

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You are here: Home Community Resilience Community Resilience - What is It?