This research stems from the understanding that resilient communities are those best equipped to reduce vulnerabilities and recover swiftly after disasters and that there is no simple “blueprint” for constructing resilient communities. Rather, community resilience is a function of both the physical resilience capabilities and the social resilience capabilities present in a given community. Physical resilience follows from the community’s actions to create, protect, and /or restore high-quality built and natural environments, including infrastructure and resources (water, land, etc.) that are critical to the population’s health, safety and quality of life, whereas social resilience follows from the community’s actions to create, protect, and/or restore high-quality social and economic environments that promote the well-being of community members. To date, however, resilience research efforts have focused on one or the other of these related components of resilience. This project will remedy this gap in the science by developing an integrated model of community resilience that explicitly addresses both physical and social resilience. The model will be developed and tested using multiple data sources, including surveys of key community leaders as well as archival data related to components of both physical and social resilience.
The project, funded through a Multi-Disciplinary, Multi-Institutional Research award from by DHS's Office of University Programs, involves researchers from START -- including Fran Norris (Dartmouth), Betty Pfefferbaum (Oklahoma), and Kathleen Sherrieb (Dartmouth) -- and a research team led by David Salvesen (University of North Carolina) from the DHS Center of Excellence on Natural Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure and Emergency Management.