BUILDING AND MEASURING
Actions for Communities and the
Gulf Research Program
Committee on Measuring Community Resilience
Office of Special Projects
Policy and Global Affairs
A Consensus Study Report of
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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This activity was supported by a contract between the National Academy of Sciences and the Gulf Research Program (Award No. 1-Aug2016-02). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the view of the organization that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-48972-0
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-48972-5
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25383
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Building and Measuring Community Resilience: Actions for Communities and the Gulf Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/25383.
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Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task.
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This report is dedicated to the memory of Chris Elfring, inaugural executive director of the Gulf Research Program.
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COMMITTEE ON MEASURING COMMUNITY RESILIENCE
THAD ALLEN (Co-Chair), Senior Executive Advisor, Booz Allen Hamilton
GERALD E. GALLOWAY, JR. (Co-Chair), Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park
MICHAEL BECK, Lead Marine Scientist, The Nature Conservancy
ANITA CHANDRA, Vice President and Director, Social and Economic Well-Being, RAND Corporation
ERIN CORYELL, Program Officer, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies
SUSAN L. CUTTER, Carolina Distinguished Professor of Geography, University of South Carolina
ANN-MARGARET ESNARD, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Public Management and Policy, Georgia State University
HOWARD FRUMKIN, Head of Our Planet, Our Health, Wellcome Trust
MELANIE GALL, Research Professor, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program, Arizona State University
MAUREEN LICHTVELD, Professor and Chair, Freeport McMoRan Chair of Environmental Policy; Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
CARLOS MARTÍN, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute
CHRIS POLAND, Consulting Engineer, Chris D. Poland Consulting Engineer
LIESEL RITCHIE, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Oklahoma State University
KATHRYN SULLIVAN, Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
CHARLENE MILLIKEN, Study Director
MAGGIE ESCH, Research Associate
JAMIE BIGLOW, Research Associate (until December 2017)
LAUREN ALEXANDER AUGUSTINE, Director of Office of Special Projects, Director of Resilient America Program
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Over the last two decades, the nation has witnessed the devastation brought by major natural and human-caused disasters on our communities. Government leaders at all levels have begun to embrace the concept of resilience as a means to enhance their communities’ ability to withstand and recover from such shocks. Site-specific conditions and attributes—referred to in this report as chronic stressors or pre-existing conditions—shape the intensity of the impact of an event and drive local decisions around building community resilience.
The committee’s study process included visits to several places known to have made investments in resilience. These on-the-ground conversations uncovered a wide range of interpretation of resilience and revealed a set of steps that local decision makers take to identify their risks, establish achievable risk mitigation goals, and measure progress against goals that are most important to their communities. These conversations also showed that resilience takes on highly localized dimensions, and as such, community resilience must be addressed in the context of local and pre-existing conditions and circumstances. At the same time, these community discussions revealed common, uniting themes.
Given local variability in community priorities, needs, and approaches for resilience, this report recognizes that every community faces unique challenges and must tailor relevant and achievable resilience goals and means to measure progress toward those goals. Several scorecards and how-to manuals exist that purport to measure issues of resilience for all communities. They address a wide variety of resilience activities and offer insights into carrying out the activities and measuring progress, although their efficacy is unknown.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Gulf Research Program (GRP) has a unique opportunity to facilitate the maturation
of resilience programs in the Gulf region through education, facilitation, and continuing research. With its sizable endowment and its 25-year timeline, the GRP is resourced to develop, implement, and measure resilience in its purview. This report lays out a framework for any community to take on its community resilience and monitor its progress; it also offers a specific approach for the GRP to do the same.
Throughout the study process, the committee received invaluable guidance and support from the GRP. This guidance and support began at our first meeting when the GRP’s executive director, Ms. Chris Elfring, shared her goals and objectives for this unique, long-term program. The untimely death of Ms. Elfring in 2018 was not only a blow to the program itself, but also a significant loss to all those who knew her and profited by her wisdom. The committee has dedicated this report to her memory.
Finally, the committee owes much to the untiring efforts of Dr. Lauren Alexander Augustine, director of the Office of Special Projects and the Resilient America Program; Dr. Charlene Milliken, the study director; and Dr. Maggie Esch, research associate. Their collective intellectual acumen, organizational skills, writing abilities, collaborative temperament, and willingness to put in exceptionally long hours brought the report together and kept us focused on our mission.
Adm. Thad W. Allen, co-chair
Dr. Gerald E. Galloway, Jr., co-chair
For the past 10 years, community resilience has been a growing theme in the national dialogue. Resilience-related research, programs, and other efforts have explored resilience across a range of scales (from the individual through global levels) and topics (from infrastructure to ecosystems to human health). Yet, communities continue to grapple with ways to measure how resilient they are now and how to track progress toward their resilience goals. To better understand the current state of resilience measurement science and practice, the committee assessed 33 resilience measurement efforts. In addition to drawing from its own expertise, the committee conferred with community stakeholders and experts, who provided invaluable information to help the committee better understand how measurement work is advancing across the United States and provided insights into how communities at the local, state, and regional levels are taking action toward resilience.
The Committee on Measuring Community Resilience gratefully acknowledges all of the local stakeholders who met with the committee to discuss resilience in their communities. The committee warmly thanks everyone who contributed their expertise, insights, and wisdom to this study, with a special thanks to:
David Abramson, Emily Accamando, Lisa Adler, Brent Anderson, Laura Armstrong, Sarah Babcock, Chuck Barney, Tom Barry, Jainey Bavishki, Nancy Beers, Sanjaya Bhatia, Nathan Bird, Garcia Bodley, Andrew Brenner, Michell Brown, Kelly Butler, Charmaine Caccioppi, Jeffrey Carney, Laurence Carter, Samuel Carter, Tommy Carver, Andrew Castaldi, Stephen Cauffman, Maretta Champagne, Brandy Christian, Craig Colten, Austin Coomer, Mac Cowand, Robert Davis, Joshua DeFlorio, Bailey DeRouen, Frank Duke, Michael Dunaway, Projjal Dutta, Jeffrey Elder, Norm Eng, Lynn Englum, Ron Erickson Sr., Sandy
Eslinger, Thomas H. Falgout, Matt Fannin, Andrée L. Fant, Pat Forbes, Mark Ford, Robin Forman, Andrea Galinski, Rowdy Gaudet, Brian Geller, Jarred Genova, Monika Gerhart, Sam Gibson, William Gilchrist, Paul Goodian, Katherine Grieg, Jimmy Guidry, John Guidry, Randy Hartmann, John Headland, Jeff Hebert, Scott Hemmerling, Latoya Holston, Rodney Jackson, Dev Jani, Mark Jernigan, Calvin Johnson, Tonya Jones, Kalyan Keo, John Kiefer, Mary Kimball, Adam Knapp, Chris Knotts, Constantine E. Kontokosta, Steven Koonin, Aubry Kyle, Richard Larrabee, Daniel Le, Danita Leblanc, Erin Lee, Zachery LeMel, David Lessinger, Everett Lewis, Terry Lightheart, Mark Lowery, Amber Madden, Tony Mallini, Michael Manning, Camille Manning-Broome, Ryan Mast, Thomas McCorkle, James McGowan, Laura Mellem, Aaron Miller, Corey Miller, David Morris, Josh Moskowitz, Stephen Murphy, Matt Nault, Tuan Nguyen, Ritchie Nordstrom, Cindy O’Neal, Kari O’Neill, Michael Olivier, David Perkes, Allytra Perryman, Mutarika Pruksapong, William Raisch, Kali Rapp Roy, Denise Reed, Chele Rider, Robert Rivers, Otis Rolley, Cynthia Rosenzweig, Andrew Salkin, Mathew Sanders, Susan Sanders, Vinita Saxena, Jo Scheuer, Jeffrey Schlegelmilch, Ya-Sin Shabazz, Peggy Shepard, Ameneé Siahpush, Pat Skinner, Mike Smith, Lois Smyth, William Solecki, Joe Spraggins, Charles Sutcliffe, LaDon Swann, Phyllis Swift Hawk, Raphael Tapia, Ginni Tran, Robert Twilley, Tosa Two Heart, Donald Veals, Frances Ventress, Wendell R. Verret, Latonia Viverette-Batiste, Robin Wagner, Cynthia Walker, James Waskom, Sarah White, H. Rodger Wilder, Elaine Wilkinson, Lauren Williams, Liz Williams, Steve Wilson, Patrick Witty, Joshua Woodbury, Adonis Woods, Beverly Wright, and John Zakian.
The committee also thanks the study sponsor, the Gulf Research Program, for its support and patience as the committee tackled the charges set out in the Statement of Task.
Acknowledgment of Reviewers
This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Tabia Henry Akintobi, Morehouse School of Medicine; Bilal Ayyub, University of Maryland; Philip Berke, Texas A&M University; Scott Hemmerling, The Water Institute of the Gulf; Ronald Kessler, Harvard Medical School; Marty Matlock, University of Arkansas; Michelle Meyer, Louisiana State University; Deb Niemeier, University of California, Davis; Susan Scrimshaw, Tufts University; and William Solecki, University of New York.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Robin McGuire, Lettis Consultants International, Inc. He was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.
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The Current Community Resilience Landscape
Dimensions of Community Resilience
Why Measure Community Resilience?
Community Resilience in the Gulf Region
Organization and Intent of This Report
2. Evaluation of Existing Resilience Measurement Efforts
Assessment of Current Resilience Measurement Efforts
Examples of Community Resilience Measurement
Remaining Gaps, Challenges, and Opportunities to Improve Measurement
3. Ground Truthing How Communities Measure Resilience
Community Discussions About Measuring Resilience: Findings and Observations
Resilience Themes Across Communities
4. For Communities: Actions for Building and Measuring Community Resilience
Build Community Engagement and Buy-In
Account for Communities’ Multiple Dimensions
Link Community Resilience Measures to Decision Making
Create Incentives for Measuring Resilience Through Multiple Benefits
Recommendations for Communities
5. For the Gulf Research Program: Ways Forward for Building and Measuring Community Resilience in the Gulf Region
Major, Coordinated Initiative to Build Resilience Across the Gulf Region
A Framework for Community Resilience
Learning Collaborative for Resilience
Appendix A: Committee Member Biographies
Appendix B: Public Session Agendas
Appendix C: Measurement Tools Reviewed
Appendix D: Communities the Committee Visited
Boxes, Figures, and Tables
1-1 Definition of Key Terms Used in this Report
2-2 Steps in Composite Index Construction
2-3 Implementing the Zurich Flood Resilience Measurement Framework in Cedar Rapids and Charleston
2-4 Implementation of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Community Resilience Planning Guide in Boulder County
4-1 Chapter 4 Findings and Recommendations
4-2 What Is a 100 Resilient Cities Chief Resilience Officer?
4-3 National Institute of Standards and Technology: Defining the Resilience Dividend
4-4 The Resilience Dividend Valuation Model Approach
4-5 The Nature Conservancy: Coastal Zone Management Trust
2-1 The multidimensional nature and inter-connectedness of community resilience capitals are the foundation for measurement efforts from local to global scales
3-1 Map of the United States marking the location of each community with whom the committee met
5-1 A Gulf Research Program resilience initiative should include multiple communities across the Gulf region’s five states and take a nested approach, operating at three levels: within a community, across communities, and over multiple years
1-1 Examples of Types of Shocks and Stressors
2-1 The Resilience Measurement Efforts Reviewed by the Committee
2-2 Characteristics Used to Assess the Content of Current Resilience Measurement Efforts
2-3 Characteristics Used to Assess the Use of Current Resilience Measurement Efforts
2-4 Characteristics Used to Compare the Status of Current Resilience Measurement Efforts
3-1 Recent Disasters in the Communities With Whom the Committee Met