What is ‘social resilience’? Perspectives of disaster researchers, emergency management practitioners, and policymakers in New Zealand

Alan H. Kwok, Emma E.H. Doyle, Julia Becker, David Johnston, Douglas Paton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

There is an increasing need to evaluate the underlying drivers of community resilience. Much of the existing research on resilience measurements assesses factors pertaining to a spectrum of societal domains that includes social, economic, institutional, infrastructural, and natural environments. Research has focused on the importance of social resilience – the capacity of people and communities to deal with external stresses and shocks – and how it contributes to community preparedness, disaster response, and post-disaster recovery. As a component of community resilience, social resilience has been examined by researchers across a multitude of academic disciplines. As a result, there are tremendous variations in how this concept is assessed. To better understand what social resilience means at the community level, this research examined the perspectives of hazards researchers, emergency management practitioners, and policymakers from New Zealand's Wellington region. The results of their responses revealed similarities in how social resilience is perceived across these three sectors. Overall, the most frequently mentioned social resilience attributes are community gathering place, followed by social support, knowledge of risks and consequences, collective efficacy, and sense of community. Through synthesising their responses and the literature, a core set of social resilience indicators is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-211
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Volume19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

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