Pursuing Community Resilience Over Time

Sally McConkey

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


There have been numerous studies to identify the characteristics that help a community withstand a natural disaster and then bounce back. The term “community resilience” is used to describe collectively these characteristics, which can be categorized as social, economic, institutional and infrastructure resilience, and community capital. These characteristics have been described in qualitative terms, but assigning a numeric value that can be readily measured and tracked over time is very difficult. The Disaster Resilience of Place (DROP) (Cutter et al., 2008, 2010) model was developed specifically as a tool to provide a numeric measure of community characteristics that support resilience. The model uses measurable variables as proxies for resilience that are readily available from public sources. These measures are combined to form a composite index of resilience or Baseline Resilience Indicator for Communities (BRIC) (Cutter et al., 2014, 2016).

This model was adopted for use in a pilot study of two Midwestern counties. The resilience index was computed for each county for three points in time: 1990, 2000, and 2010. Case studies of the counties were prepared by documenting the natural disasters that occurred and the community actions that were taken during this time period. The efficacy of the variables used to compute the resilience index were reviewed in the context of the case studies. The resilience index over time was consistent with the communities’ disaster experience and actions to reduce risk. This project will demonstrate how the resilience index and changes in the index over time can be a starting point for assessments. The variables that compose the index serve as a list of talking points for a community to examine their resilience profile and direct resources to improve resilience. The resilience index could ultimately be an addition to hazard mitigation planning.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherIllinois State Water Survey
Commissioning bodyCritical Infrastructure Resilience Institute, Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence, University of Illinois
Number of pages85
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Publication series

NameISWS Contract Report


  • ISWS


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