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Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop (2017)

Chapter: 3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures

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Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
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3

Breakout Session: Community Environments and Measures

Following the panel discussion, workshop participants were divided into two breakout groups and guided through a process to identify ways to measure resilience in their communities. During the breakout sessions each group discussed the following set of questions for each of the six environments (i.e., social/wellness, human, financial/economic, physical/built, natural, governance/leadership):

  • How resilient do you think your community is in this environment?
  • What factors did you consider to determine your community’s level of resilience?
  • What are the key components, assets, or functions1 of this environment in your community?
  • How could you measure the resilience of each component, asset, or function?

The main points raised by participants in reference to each of these questions are summarized below by environment.

SOCIAL/WELLNESS ENVIRONMENT

The social/wellness environment is defined as “the capacity of people to interact with each other.”2 The breakout groups began by discussing this definition; some participants noted that there are communities that separate social and wellness into different environments. In terms of their levels of resilience, most participants indicated their communities have a high level of resilience in the social/wellness environment based on factors such as the strength of their faith-based communities, high rates of volunteerism, high levels of civic engagement, strong sense of place, strong ties to the community, active neighborhood groups, and strong levels of information-sharing among community organizations. Participants also recognized that certain neighborhoods or areas within their communities may be more resilient than others.

Major themes that emerged during this breakout discussion included the importance of public spaces in providing opportunities to connect, the role of shared ideology (e.g., religion, culture) in creating strong community ties, the ability to build trust between community leaders and community members, and the growing use of social

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1 For clarity, components, assets, and functions are referred to as “elements” in this workshop summary.

2 See Chapter 1, p. 2.

Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×

media and other types of communication. One participant suggested that communications may be important enough to exist as its own environment.

In general, breakout group participants indicated that their communities have several different types of neighborhoods: some neighborhoods are very interconnected and resilient in the social/wellness environment, whereas others lack strong social networks and are generally less resilient. In some communities, local governments work with neighborhood associations and other organizations to provide information and support to community groups in less resilient neighborhoods. Neighborhood Listservs serve as one way to build networks within and between neighborhoods.

Breakout group participants observed that long-term residents tend to be very connected to their communities. In some cases, people who have moved out of their neighborhoods continue to maintain connections to their original neighborhoods, for example, through places of worship. Neighborhoods that are developing quickly and experiencing an influx of new residents, or have transient populations (e.g., students, the homeless), tend to be less socially connected. On the other hand, some transient neighborhoods have developed effective methods to connect socially (e.g., Listservs, social clubs, etc.) that may create strong social relationships and networks. Recognizing that the capacity to connect is important for social resilience, and that community members come and go, participants raised a question: How can we support an individual’s rapid integration into a new community?

Religious communities often have a high degree of social connectedness. Likewise, neighborhoods with high immigrant populations tend to have very high social connectedness within their respective neighborhoods but are often not well connected to the community at large. Participants asked, “How can isolated but well-connected neighborhoods become connected with the broader community?”

Participants discussed the idea that neighborhoods lacking community gathering spaces (e.g., playgrounds or parks) may develop ties with others through larger public spaces—community “hubs”—such as waterfront parks, amphitheaters, or farmer’s markets. Thus the presence of larger public spaces could help build social relationships and networks within and between communities. Oftentimes a strong core community exists and is surrounded by many smaller neighborhoods. These smaller neighborhoods may have a strong connection with the core neighborhood but not with each other. By creating these core community hubs, people can gather and connect with one another.

One participant commented that in most communities there are individuals that distrust government and are wary of leadership. Trust is critical for effective communication and connectedness, and understanding the importance of building and maintaining trust may help a community figure out how to create stronger community connections. Participants raised additional questions regarding the issue of trust: What is the most important element of trust? Who trusts leadership, who does not, and why? What can be done to develop greater trust? How can trust be measured? How do communications and the media impact trust and resilience?

An important observation was that traditional approaches of connecting with others may not resonate with all demographic groups. Younger generations, for example, may rely more on social media and belong to virtual communities. Although social media outlets are effective for certain types of messages and audiences, they are not effective for all kinds of messages. Some messages are more effective if they are disseminated through informal networks; others are best relayed through more traditional methods.

Participants briefly discussed possible differences in social connectedness in larger cities compared to smaller ones. One participant pointed to a finding of the Blue Zone Initiative3—it can be difficult to create social connections writ large in large communities. Thus smaller cities often have a stronger level of social connectedness.

Measures for the Social/Wellness Environment

After considering the various elements of the social/wellness environment, breakout group participants brainstormed ways to measure its resilience (Table 3-1).

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3 The Blue Zone Initiative is “a systems approach in which citizens, schools, employers, restaurants, grocery stores and community leaders collaborate on policies and programs that move the community towards better health and well-being.” For more information visit about this initiative visit: https://www.bluezones.com/about-blue-zones/ [Last accessed December 31, 2016]

Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×

TABLE 3-1 Elements and Measures of the Social/Wellness Environment

Elements Measures
Organizations
  • Distribution of community groups across the region
  • Number of active interfaith organizations
  • Diversity and number of community organizations
Communications and social media
  • Speed with which messages travel through official and unofficial channels
  • Number of people who have or do not have access to social media
Connectedness
  • Number and type of organizations in which people are engaged
  • Number of people registered to vote
  • Knowledge of what resources are available during and after a disaster
  • Network analysis to map social connectedness
Trust
  • Amount of connection and communication between local officials
  • Public confidence in leadership
  • Public trust in leadership
Volunteerism
  • Number of people who participate on neighborhood teams (e.g., Community Emergency Response Teams)
  • Number of volunteer hours per capita
  • Number of active disaster response teams in a neighborhood/community
  • Number of people who attend neighborhood meetings
  • Number of people who attend community resilience training
Other
  • Number of people with access to transportation
  • Types of transportation available
  • Connection of residents who do not use social media with other community providers

SOURCE: Compiled by the Resilient America Roundtable Staff based on comments and feedback provided by breakout group participants at this workshop, Developing Community Resilience Measures.

Additional Thoughts

Generally, breakout group participants found it difficult to identify and utilize measures designed to assess the resilience of the social/wellness environment. There was an extensive discussion about how social connectedness could best be measured (e.g., surveys, network analyses, social media data). Additionally, there was great interest in exploring social network mapping, available tools, and useful data sources. Individuals who do not use social media may be a part of social networks that revolve around their places of employment, membership in community organizations or religious institutions, and/or membership in online alumni networks or Listservs. It is important to ensure that the information channels being used to measure social resilience are appropriate for the community groups or individuals being analyzed.

HUMAN ENVIRONMENT

During this breakout session, participants discussed the human environment, defined as “the sum of people’s skills, knowledge, labor, and good health.”4 One participant noted that it was difficult to clearly define the differences among the social/wellness environment and the human environment. There was also discussion about what resilience in the human environment would look like. One suggestion was that a resilient human environment is one in which people are able to meet their basic needs (e.g., safety, food, shelter, etc.). Many noted that data were more readily available to measure the resilience of the human environment compared to the social/wellness environment.

In general, participating communities rated their resilience in the human environment as medium to low based on a variety of factors, such as high school dropout rates, lack of hazard and risk awareness, homelessness,

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4 See Chapter 1, p. 2.

Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×

ineffective education systems, lack of access to health care, poor mental and/or physical health, underemployment or unemployment, and housing burden.

Discussions revolved around several themes: healthcare, education, accessibility to services and resources, and housing. One observation was that, even if a community had many highly resilient individuals, the overall community resilience may still be low because a community can only be as resilient as its least resilient individuals. Building any degree of resilience can be very difficult for those who are already dealing with day-to-day stressors (e.g., poverty, unemployment, poor health, homelessness).

Oftentimes “invisible” communities are made visible after a disaster. Members of invisible communities are not homeless, do not live on food stamps, have some level of social connectedness, and are able to meet their basic needs on a day-to-day basis, but have fewer resources overall making them less able to cope with disaster; they may never fully recover after disaster occurs. Recognizing that there will always be a percentage of individuals in a community who will never become resilient, participants pondered whether a threshold exists (e.g., percent of the population that is resilient) above which a community could be considered resilient.

Measures for the Human Environment

After considering the different elements of the human environment, the breakout group participants brainstormed different ways to measure its resilience (Table 3-2).

TABLE 3-2 Elements and Measures of the Human Environment

Elements Measures
Healthcare
  • Access to healthcare
  • Healthcare costs
  • Availability of healthcare facilities
Health
  • Body mass index taken from driver’s licenses
  • Lifespan
Accessibility
  • Access to resources, services, etc., for non-native or non-English speakers
  • Access to resources, services, etc., for people with disabilities
  • Knowledge of available resources or social services
Education
  • High school dropout rates
  • High school graduation rates
  • Percent of public sector funding of schools
  • Level of education
  • Access to early learning
Employment
  • Unemployment rate
  • Underemployment rate
  • Percentage of people making a living wage
  • Income distribution
  • Availability of workforce training
  • Availability of job placement programs
Housing
  • Housing burden (% of income spent on housing)
  • Rate of gentrification and displacement
  • Percentage of people in subsidized housing
  • Percent of homelessness
Transportation
  • Ratio of housing burden and transportation costs
Preparedness
  • Hazard risk awareness
  • Capacity to respond to health crises
Population distribution
  • Percent of people with limited English proficiency
  • Geographic distribution of people with limited English proficiency

SOURCE: Compiled by the Resilient America Roundtable Staff based on comments and feedback provided by breakout group participants at this workshop, Developing Community Resilience Measures.

Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×

FINANCIAL/ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT

The financial/economic environment is “the level, variability, and diversity of income sources, and access to financial resources that contribute to wealth and enable investment in the community.”5 Many of the topics mentioned by participants during the discussions of the financial/economic environment were similar to those discussed in the social/wellness and human environments such as social connectedness, housing affordability, employment, education, and ability to meet basic needs. Many changes in the economic environment (e.g., rising costs, declining industries, loss of jobs) could have an impact on social connectedness.

Several breakout group participants observed that some communities are experiencing rapid economic development and growth, which, along with population increase, often results in increased housing costs and contributes to neighborhood gentrification. People who can no longer afford to live where they work or who are pushed out of their neighborhoods because of gentrification may lose access to their social networks when they move to a new location. Conversely, the influx of newcomers into communities experiencing an economic boom can produce a population of people who are vulnerable to disasters due to lack of experience dealing with the hazards unique to that area and lack of awareness of the risks.

Measures for the Financial/Economic Environment

After considering the different elements of the financial/economic environment, the breakout group participants brainstormed different ways to measure its resilience (Table 3-3).

PHYSICAL/BUILT ENVIRONMENT

The physical/built environment includes built infrastructure (e.g., buildings, and “critical infrastructure such as roads, the power grid, and dams”).6 Some breakout group participants indicated that their communities were very resilient in the physical/built environment, for example, in terms of their ability to quickly restore critical functions in the case of an adverse event. Others placed their communities in the middle or lower ranges due to deteriorating infrastructure or the need for infrastructure upgrades. Participants based their resilience assessments on factors such as the types of hazards their communities faced and how their communities have responded to those hazards. Response to the hazard depends on factors such as whether it is persistent (e.g., flooding), low-probability/high-consequence (e.g., earthquake), or slow-onset but potentially crippling (e.g., climate change, or significant and high-frequency winter storms).

Several participants commented that community values can also determine priorities for infrastructure upgrades. For example, upgrading schools for earthquake hazards may take precedence over upgrading other types of infrastructure because of the concern for the safety of the community’s children. However, because schools can also be focal points for community activities, this kind of attention may have a broader benefit for the community as a whole.

Several themes emerged during the breakout discussions for the physical/built environment. First, resources for sustainable maintenance of the physical/built environment are not commonly available, particularly when tension exists between efforts to redevelop or begin new construction in a community, and the need to retrofit or preserve existing stock, such as in historical areas. Second, strengthening the human components of infrastructure (e.g., training, operations, capacity-building) is not always considered in conjunction with capital expenditures on infrastructure. Finally, longer term issues, such as the hardening of lifelines,7 do not always have the same sense of urgency as getting buildings up to code; buildings tend to evoke a more immediate response in the face of certain hazards, such as earthquakes.

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5 See chapter 1, p. 2.

6 See chapter 1, p. 2.

7 Lifelines are essential utility (e.g., domestic water/wastewater systems, industrial waste systems, power systems, fuel systems, telecommunication systems) and transportation systems (e.g., highways, bridges, railroads, transit systems, airports, seaports, waterways) (NRC, 2012).

Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×

TABLE 3-3 Elements and Measures of the Financial/Economic Environment

Elements Measures
Financial resources
  • Number of banks
  • Access to capital
Economic diversity
  • Diversity of industries
Population distribution
  • Living wage distribution by geography, ethnicity, etc.
  • Geographic distribution of under-resourced communities
Employment
  • Employment rate
  • Poverty rate
  • Workforce composition
Education
  • Levels of education
Housing
  • Affordability
Insurance
  • Access to insurance
  • Types of insurance owned
Preparedness
  • Percent of businesses with continuity of operations in place
  • Inclusion of resilience into economic development plans
Ability to meet basic needs
  • Income to debt ratio
  • Housing cost burden
  • Percent of people unable to meet basic needs
  • Combined cost of housing and transportation
  • Rate of income/assets to cost of home ownership
  • Number of households at 80%, 60%, 40% of median family income per number of local businesses
Quality of life
  • Commute time

SOURCE: Compiled by the Resilient America Roundtable Staff based on comments and feedback provided by breakout group participants at this workshop, Developing Community Resilience Measures.

Participants raised a key question: What is the minimal amount of resilience needed to bring infrastructure back online after a disaster or adverse event? They also discussed the need to consider interdependencies of various elements in the physical/built environment.

Measures for the Physical/Built Environment

After considering the various elements of the physical/built environment, the breakout group participants brainstormed different ways to measure its resilience (Table 3-4).

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

The natural environment is defined as “natural resources, non-engineered structures, and associated ecosystem services.”8 According to breakout group participants, there was a range of levels of resilience in the natural environment within each community. Some participants who found their communities to have medium or high levels of resilience in the natural environment cited the following factors as being important in their evaluation: development of regional growth strategies and agreed-upon growth targets for their communities relative to the natural environment; installation of green roofs and bioswales, as well as strong community support for natural infrastructure; and regulations and commitments to preserve coastlines. Those who gave mixed or low ratings to the resilience of their community’s natural environment cited factors such as the existence of beautiful beaches

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8 See chapter 1, p. 2.

Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×

TABLE 3-4 Elements and Measures of the Physical/Built Environment

Elements Measures
Utilities
  • The amount of time needed to get the grid back online
  • Number of power/electricity customers served (in terms of need to support recovery)
  • Mapping power grid, nodes, transfer stations
  • Percent of power lines underground
  • Size of sewer/storm capacity
Infrastructure
  • Number of bridges requiring inspection after a disaster, prior to being operational
  • Regular seismic assessments of built infrastructure
  • Percent of the community with impervious surface
Early warning systems
  • Existence of early warning systems
  • Adequacy of early warning systems
Housing, buildings as shelter
  • Number of people needing shelter
  • Proportion of buildings to code
  • Seismic performance of sheltering facilities
Green infrastructure
  • Number of green infrastructure projects

SOURCE: Compiled by the Resilient America Roundtable Staff based on comments and feedback provided by breakout group participants at this workshop, Developing Community Resilience Measures.

simultaneous with poor water quality issues; the lack of importance of the natural environment to the community as a whole; and the long-term challenges of climate change and lack of ability to adequately address those challenges.

Some communities are experiencing struggles with competing interests, such as keeping areas green enough for livability while at the same time trying to accommodate growth. Other challenges centered on the need to come to agreement about the treatment and importance of the natural environment at the interface of rural and urban areas. The value a community placed on the natural environment also differed. Some communities viewed the natural environment as an asset, which has an aesthetic or recreational value to be preserved. Others viewed it as a function, either as a natural buffer, part of green infrastructure, or for its absorptive capacity. Thus, the “natural environment” has different meanings, depending on the community, and may require different approaches to understanding its importance to the resilience of the community as a whole.

Measures for the Natural Environment

After considering the different elements of the natural environment, the breakout group participants brainstormed ways to measure its resilience (Table 3-5).

GOVERNANCE/LEADERSHIP ENVIRONMENT

The breakout group participants began their final session by discussing the meaning of “leadership, governance, and power.” One suggestion was to differentiate between “governance” (i.e., elected or appointed officials) and “leadership.” Some community participants noted that priorities, capabilities, and definitions of resilience often differ depending on level of government. Within a city, for example, people in government incorporate resilience into their work, but at a county level, officials may not be familiar with it. Furthermore, some government offices and neighborhoods may be working on resilience issues without the impetus coming from local leadership, such as the mayor’s office. One participant suggested that integrating the concept of resilience into different environments may be a way to help government officials better understand what resilience means. Relationship-building and communication are essential when trying to move multiple municipalities from focusing on ensuring a single structure is resilient to a specific hazard to infusing resilience into the entire governance system.

Time and space may be factors in evaluating resilience in the governance/leadership environment. For example, a number of participants noted, a city government office may address resilience to short-term, high-impact events

Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×

TABLE 3-5 Elements and Measures of the Natural Environment

Elements Measures
Native vs. invasive species
  • Number of invasive species
  • Number of non-native species
  • Land cover change
Green spaces
  • Number of trees planted
  • Proportion of green spaces to built spaces
  • Access to green spaces
Biodiversity
  • Biodiversity count (flora/fauna)
  • Species health (flora/fauna)
Water quality, quantity, supply, watersheds
  • Water quality (flow, temperature, chemicals)
  • Flood frequency
Wetlands
  • Proportion of wetlands
  • Acreage of natural buffers

SOURCE: Compiled by the Resilient America Roundtable Staff based on comments and feedback provided by breakout group participants at this workshop, Developing Community Resilience Measures.

that happen infrequently but pay less attention to building resilience to long-term stressors (e.g., chronic homelessness, poverty). In addition, the physical space that separates a city from its surrounding municipalities may pose challenges to resilience governance.

Measures for the Governance/Leadership Environment

After considering the different elements of the governance/leadership environment, the breakout group participants brainstormed ways to measure its resilience (Table 3-6).

SUMMARY OF THE BREAKOUT SESSIONS

Reflecting on feedback from the breakout sessions, Dr. Cutter led a follow-on discussion on the current research and literature about measures. There are many different types of measures; for example, there are quantitative (e.g., household income, average commute time to work) and qualitative (e.g., trust, social connectedness). Meanwhile, there are measures that assess the baseline characteristics of a community and measures that assess the capacity of a community to become resilient. As communities think about developing and implementing measures, it is important to first focus on what the community needs to know in order to become more resilient, Dr. Cutter said, and to then identify the measures and data sources. Without first understanding what the community needs, independent of the data, it is easy to develop measures that may not be relevant.

Dr. Cutter asked the participants to share what they needed to know in order for their communities to become more resilient (Table 3-7).

Several participants noted that, although there is a great need for building and measuring resilience at a regional level, there is a plethora of inherent challenges that must first be addressed. Participants observed that becoming resilient requires a cultural shift. In order for change to happen, a community and its leadership must have the ability and willingness to learn and think about the hard questions: How did we get here? What could we have done better? How do we move forward?

Several discussions focused on the challenges of dichotomies: short-term vs. long-term resilience goals, short-term vs. long-term risks, visible (e.g., flooding) vs. invisible (e.g., heat, sea level rise) hazards, and the differences between rural areas vs. metropolitan areas.

Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×

TABLE 3-6 Elements and Measures of the Governance/Leadership Environment

Elements Measures
Decision making
  • Ability to secure outside resources
  • Participation rate in town hall meetings
Equitable representation in leadership
  • Diversity of leadership structures
  • Demographics of community vs. councils/commissions
Local government commitment to resilience
  • Number of resilience initiatives
  • Number of trained resilience personnel
  • Funds invested in community resilience
  • Number of available inspectors/inspection programs
Plans
  • Number of risk reduction/adaptation plans
  • Regional planning participation rates
  • Number of approved/implemented mass transit plans
Communication
  • Constituent satisfaction/statistically valid social attitude survey

SOURCE: Compiled by the Resilient America Roundtable Staff based on comments and feedback provided by breakout group participants at this workshop, Developing Community Resilience Measures.

IMPLEMENTING COMMUNITY RESILIENCE MEASURES: CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS

Dr. Galloway turned the discussion to measurement challenges, asking the workshop participants to talk about the obstacles they currently face in obtaining data, barriers they have encountered, and how they overcame these barriers. Some participants noted that data sharing is a major challenge within and between government agencies, community organizations, and the private sector. A common observation was that the private sector often does not share data; sometimes laws (e.g., privacy act) or an organization’s policies may prevent data sharing.

Participants brainstormed ways to encourage and enable data sharing. One potential solution is to engage organizations, the public and private sectors, and other institutions in multi-stakeholder working groups and committees. Providing concrete information about how the private sector can meet the needs of the community, and including them in the solution, may encourage them to share data. In addition, businesses need to be convinced that they are part of the community, and that their daily operations depend upon the well-being of community members and on other businesses in the community.

Although many agencies and organizations gather data and make it available, participants identified several data challenges, including reliability of data and data fatigue, or existence of too much data. Data and data systems can be difficult to find or use. In addition, challenges exist when interfacing data among federal, state, and local systems. Some communities struggle to find and use different sources of existing data instead of first identifying what they want to measure and then identifying the data that are needed. Several participants suggested that it might be helpful to identify the key questions that need to be answered and the decisions that must be made during an event, and then organize the data to address the questions and decisions. Oftentimes communities measure similar things in different ways; in some cases, it would be helpful to have standardized data to allow a community to understand how resilient it is or how it compares to other communities.

Finally, two additional concerns were expressed: How can apathy be addressed, not only within government but also within the community? And, how can the problem of government turnover and short-term planning among government leaders be addressed?

Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×

TABLE 3-7 What Communities Need to Know to Become More Resilient

Elements Questions Communities Need to Ask to Become More Resilient
Public engagement
  • How do you measure change in civic engagement over time? How do you engage the apathetic?
  • How do you ensure the public remains engaged and interested through leadership changes?
  • How do people receive information?
Trust
  • How much do constituents trust their local leaders? How do you measure public trust and confidence in leadership?
  • Where do people get their information? Who do they consider the experts and leaders to turn to for information?
Leadership
  • How can we train and cultivate innovative and organic leadership? During non-disaster times, how can we identify individuals who will unexpectedly emerge as leaders during a disaster, and how can we create a climate that makes them feel comfortable during non-disaster times?
  • How often, if ever, do community leaders communicate with each other? How well do community leaders know each other?
Understanding of risks
  • How well do people understand their risk to hazards? How well do people understand what to do during a disaster? What is most important to an individual after a disaster?
  • Within diverse communities, what are people’s perceptions of risk to different hazards and what would they do about them?
  • How well do the government and the community understand climate risk and how well are we integrating this understanding into government programs?
  • What percentage of people believes that the sea level is rising?
  • What percentage of people understands earthquake hazards and their potential impacts?
Resilience capacity
  • How well does the community handle adverse conditions? What can we do to improve the community’s ability to handle adverse conditions and solve problems?
  • How could the government measure and identify its capacity to empower the community to be more resilient?
  • How willing are community members to become proactive in preparedness? What skills do community members possess that could be leveraged? What do community members value?
  • How do we best address diverse populations (e.g., non-English speakers, tourists, university students, hearing-impaired)?
  • How do we incorporate resilience into emergency operations? How does emergency management shift from response to resilience?
Cascading effects
  • What are the cascading effects of different system breakdowns? For example, if the power goes out for several days, how does this impact daily business operations and profits, working parents who have to remain home to care for young children because schools are closed, emergency response and recovery activities, or hospitals’ ability to care for their patients?

SOURCE: Compiled by the Resilient America Roundtable Staff based on comments and feedback provided by breakout group participants at this workshop, Developing Community Resilience Measures.

Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
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Page 19
Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×
Page 20
Suggested Citation:"3 Breakout Session:Community Environments and Measures." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Measures of Community Resilience for Local Decision Makers: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21911.
×
Page 21
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The 2012 National Research Council report, Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative, identified the development and use of resilience measures as critical to building resilient communities. Although many kinds of resilience measures and measuring tools have and continue to be developed, very few communities consistently use them as part of their planning or resilience building efforts. Since federal or top-down programs to build resilience often yield mixed results, bottom-up approaches are needed, but are often difficult for communities to implement alone. A major challenge for many communities in developing their own approaches to resilience measures is identifying a starting point and defining the process. Other challenges include lack of political will due to competing priorities and limited resources, finite time and staff to devote to developing resilience measures, lack of data availability and/or inadequate data sharing among community stakeholders, and a limited understanding of hazards and/or risks.

Building on existing work, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine organized a workshop in July 2015 to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and information about ways to advance the development and implementation of resilience measures by and within diverse communities. Participants worked to gain a better understanding of the challenges these communities face in the pursuit of resilience and determine whether the approach used during this workshop can help guide communities in their efforts to build their own measures of resilience. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

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