Social Resilience, Community Connectedness, and Adaptive Capacity
While working with
partners to develop the 2017
Oregon Climate and Health Resilience Plan, there were many discussions about the social
factors that influence a community’s resilience. Several partners highlighted
‘social networks’ and ‘community connectedness’ as key contributors to a
community’s capacity to prepare and respond to disaster, navigate change, and
adapt to new normals.
This conversation expanded our thinking about resilience and led to a lot more questions...
- How do you measure a community’s social resilience?
- What are effective strategies for building social resilience?
- And what is the public health system’s role and capacity to build social resilience within the communities we serve?
It turns out we weren’t the only ones asking these kinds of questions. A growing body of research indicates that social resilience (such as a community’s level of social cohesion or social capital) are key protective factors, enabling a community to effectively prepare, respond and adapt to climate stressors (as well as non-climate stressors) in healthy and innovative ways.
When it comes to building resilience and adapting to climate change, there is no doubt that certain hard infrastructure improvements will need to be made (e.g. higher bridges, deeper wells, etc.), but what about the “soft” stuff? How do we invest in our social infrastructure? That’s what we set out to better understand through two research projects.
Below is a summary of our findings from two projects completed in 2018.