ing as “a process by which community groups are helped to identify common problems or goals, mobilize resources, and in other ways develop and implement strategies for reaching the goals they collectively have set.” Claudia Albano, a community advocate for the City of Oakland, California, defined community organizing as an approach that enables people, working together, to advance the cause of social justice.2 She noted four community-organizing goals that contribute to the enhancement of community resilience, especially in communities that have other pressing issues: win concrete improvements in people’s lives, empower people to speak and act effectively on their own behalf, effect institutional change, and develop an effective organization that wields the power of the community. Flexibility needed for sustainability can be partially achieved by allowing communities to determine their own priorities in addressing disaster and other community issues.


Previous sections of this chapter discussed the theoretical necessity of resilience-focused collaboration. This section begins the work of describing the theoretical basis for successful collaboration itself.

Identify and Create Incentives

Mandates and regulations are often seen by governments as the means to overcome barriers to collaboration and to provide incentives. For example, the 1986 Superfund Amendments3 required communities to establish local emergency-planning committees consisting of representatives of chemical companies, public-safety agencies, and other organizations to protect the communities from the consequences of hazardous and toxic chemical contamination. Such legal requirements run the risk of forcing mere compliance or engendering only token, as opposed to substantive, collaboration. That point was discussed by participants in the committee’s information-gathering workshop, especially in response to a presentation by Emily Walker regarding recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9-11 Commission)4 for national standards for emergency preparedness and the establishment of an accreditation and certification program for business disaster resilience (NRC, 2010). American communities are extremely diverse in many dimensions, including population, geography, economic drivers, social and cultural factors, political climate, and civic infrastructure. This


C. Albano, City of Oakland, Presentation to the committee, October 19, 2009.


See (accessed March 12, 2010).


See (accessed June 9, 2010).

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