Community Resilience

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Other International Definitions


The ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions. [1]

Resilience means the ability to “resile from” or “spring back from” a shock. The resilience of a community in respect to potential hazard events is determined by the degree to which the community has the necessary resources and is capable of organizing itself both prior to and during times of need.

National Definitions


New South Wales
Community resilience (CR) focuses on the role the community plays in building and maintaining its own resilience while contributing to critical infrastructure resilience. [2]

(States of) Jersey

Community Resilience: Harnessing, by communities and individuals, of local resources and expertise to help themselves in an emergency, in a way that complements the response of the emergency services. [3]

United Kingdom

Community Resilience: Communities and individuals harnessing local resources and expertise to help themselves in an emergency, in a way that complements the response of the emergency services. [4]

United States


In the "Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems"[5], the general definition of resilience is also adopted for Community Resilience:

The ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions; includes the ability to withstand and recover from deliberate attacks, accidents, or naturally occurring threats or incidents. [6]

Other Definitions

Resilience refers to the existence, development, and engagement of community resources by community members to thrive in an environment characterized by change, uncertainty, unpredictability, and surprise.[7]

Resilience as the ability of social system to respond and recover from disasters and include those inherent conditions that allow the system to absorb impacts and cope with an event, as well as post-event, adaptive process that facilitates the ability of the social system to re-organize, change and learn in response to threat. [8]

Note: Six dimensions of community resilience are identified: ecological, social, economic, institutional, infrastructure, and community competence.

Resilience is the collective ability of neighbourhood or geographically defined area to deal with stressors and efficiently resume the rhythms of daily life through cooperation following shocks. [9]

Resilience is the community's or region's capability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from significant multi-hazard threats with minimum danger to public safety and health, the economy and national security.[10]

Community seismic resilience as the ability of social units to mitigate hazards, contain the effects of disasters when they occur, and carry out recovery activities in ways that minimize social disruption and mitigate effects of future earthquakes.[11]

See also



  1. 2009 UNISDR Terminology on Disaster Risk Reduction, United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), Geneva, Switzerland, May 2009.
  2. NSW Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy Partner, Prepare, Provide (2018)
  3. States of Jersey Emergency Measures Plan (2014)
  4. Cabinet Office, Glossary - Revision to Emergency Preparedness 2011
  5. NIST Special Publication 1190, Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems, Volume I, U.S. Department of Commerce, October 2015.
  6. Presidential Policy Directive -- Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, PPD-21, 2013.
  7. Magis, K. (2010). Community Resilience: An Indicator of Social Sustainability. Society & Natural Resources: An International Journal, 23(5), 401–416.
  8. Cutter, S. L., Barnes, L., Berry, M., Burton, C., Evans, E., Tate, E., & Webb, J. (2008). A place-based model for understanding community resilience to natural disasters. Global Environmental Change, 18(4), 598-606.
  9. Alderich, P. D., & Meyer, A. (2015). Social Capital and Community Resilience. American Behavioral Scientist, 59(2), 254-269.
  10. C. E. Colten, R. W. Kates, and S. B. Laska, “Three Years after Katrina: Lessons for Community Resilience,” Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development 50, no. 5(2008): 36–47.
  11. Bruneau, M., Chang, S. E., Eguchi, R. T., Lee, G. C., O’Rourke, T. D., Reinhorn, A. M., … Von Winterfeldt, D. (2003). A Framework to Quantitatively Assess and Enhance the Seismic Resilience of Communities. Earthquake Spectra, 19(4), 733–752.