Resilient Communities

One of the most interesting aspects of resilience is how frequently people think and describe resilience as a critical factor. Of course, I talk about resilience as a way to handle stress and pressures. Others discuss resilience in terms of crises management, metallurgy, and even how your favorite baseball team recovers from a 3 game losing streak.

Kathryn Foster, a professor at SUNY Buffalo and her colleagues in the Building Resilient Regions academic consortium just released a new report identifying the most resilient communities in the country. Rochester, MN (home of the Mayo clinic)


being named the most resilient community in the country with my town, Pittsburgh being ranked 35th. For a complete list you can go to here.

Like anything that we try to measure, the BRR group identified 12 criteria to measure resilience looking at regional economic capacity (for example such as how much it costs to live, what the business environment is) , socio-demographic capacity (such as educational levels and  number of people that have health insurance)  and community connectivity (such as how many people own home and how many vote). By the way, we have nine criteria in our Building Resilient Organizations model

In this recently released report, she also goes on to point out that political will is not a measured criteria so the fact that Minnesota State government is closed for business due to a financial crisis does not show up as a measure. However with resilience all around those good people in MN, they’ll need it once the politicians get their act together.

I’m never sure what to make of these reports, but I have met Kathryn Foster and know that her research helps communities see the importance of resilience and that helps  them to address critical community issues. Resilience, more and more is being seen as a vital tool in meeting the increasing challenges we face as individuals and communities. My take away from this report is that we can think of resilience not just on a personal level but also from a big picture perspective. While your catching up on your own resilience through rest and fun, or navigating a tricky project at work, keep the big perspective in mind so that you can help yourself and company to be resilient.

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