Strengthening Neighbourhood Resilience

In another component to the Resilient Communities theme I’ve had going for the past few weeks, this component is arguably the most important – the resilience of the social community.

This report from Canada, entitled ‘Strengthening Neighbourhood Resilience – Opportunities for Communities & Local Government’, is largely about some approaches we can take to stimulate a healthy local community of residents. It covers topics such as local economy, leadership and planning and is a comfortable read with great clarity around the softer aspects of building resilient communities… so it dovetails well with the Building Resiliency Task Force NYC that I posted last week.

snr report

“Resilience is our ability to respond and adapt to change in ways that are pro-active, that build local capacity, and that ensure essential needs are met.”

Some key out-takes;

  • resilient communities have a high level of social capital [mutual trust, social norms, participation];
  • a focus on resilience emphasise the dynamic nature of communities and the fact that they are always changing (p5);
  • resilience prioritises tasks by focussing on what strengthens long-term adaptive capacity;
  • resilience planning sees the community as one interconnected system, rather than component parts. This is at the same time more complex but also more responsive to the community as a living thing.

This report is really worth the read if you’re trying to gain some understanding or appreciation of the softer side of resilience and how to design for it. The language is clear and leads you through the argument, and much of the report is laid out as a workbook to focus on practical actions.

This is a great one for local Councils and design teams alike to pick up.


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