The Resilience Indicators Project

A Local Community Resilience Assessment Process

How resilient are we as a community? How well are we equipped to navigate disruptions in the systems upon which we currently rely to carry out our day-to-day lives? How might climate change, economic uncertainty, political volatility and social fracturing affect our resilience at personal, household and community levels? How do we know if we are making progress and increasing resilience?

image credit: fieryspirits.com (extant)

This project will develop a set of Resilience Indicators for greater Portland, Maine that tells a story of how resilient we are and how resilient we feel relative to topics such as our economy, health, food security, water resources, housing, governance and community well-being. Annual updates will help us as a community understand our trending resilience levels that can, in turn, inform public discourse and decision-making.

The Project for 2017

The Resilience Hub, with research interns or students, will:

  • Develop a working definition of community “resilience” and assess which factors contribute to real and perceived resilience.
  • Identify which factors affect resilience at what “scales” (i.e. personal, household, community).
  • Select 20-30 measurable indicators that could be considered illustrative of real and/or perceived resilience, spread over several categories.
  • Design a methodology for creating an annual set of indicators based on a combination of research into existing data sets as well as the creation of original data sets (i.e. surveys and community feedback).
  • Conduct research and create the first set of indicators for 2017.
  • Publish an inaugural set of Resilience Indicators, documenting our method so that it can be repeated annually.

Examples from Other Regions
There are many treatments of “resilience” indicators and metrics from around the world, some focusing purely on climate change or emergency response readiness, while other projects cast a broader social/economic/political net around measuring resilience. This document gives a sense of recent approaches to measuring “community resilience.”

Contact: Lisa Fernandes, Director of The Resilience Hub, if you know of anyone who would like to get involved with this project!